Talk Is Cheap, Show Me The Money In The Compensation Package

How do you come up with a realistic compensation package that benefits you and your hiring firm? Here's what you should know.

The phrase “show me the money” should be familiar to most movie watchers. It comes directly out of a quote when Rod Tidwell (the unappreciated football player) states to Jerry Maguire (his sports agent), in essence, enough talk and to show him the money. We are going to address that exact issue today. As we get ready to wrap up the year, most of my writings have dealt with theory and experiences that I have been fortunate enough to have. However, today I want to look at the cold hard facts of the offer and your compensation package.

Your Value In A Compensation Package

Most candidates have in their mind what they think they are worth. Whether that is right or wrong, it doesn’t really matter if it is something that is totally ingrained with themselves.  A candidate that is only thinking about a certain dollar amount in my mind is being myopic. They need to look at the entire compensation package, not just the base salary, a guarantee (if any), or the benefits. They need to look at all of it. If a candidate has a set figure in their mind and is not open to suggestions by a recruiter, this can be a major obstacle in being hired.  Most candidates are not aware of this, but the good recruiters out there already know what your value is/should be in their area of expertise. If they are not willing to share that with you and the hiring manager, then that is not a recruiter that you should be working with.

A Realistic Compensation Model

I had been fortunate over this last month to be able to present 3 solid applicants to 3 different companies. For each one of these applicants, I was able to ascertain what I thought was a realistic compensation model they were expecting. In one circumstance, I believed that my candidate was actually asking too much; while in another circumstance, I believe my candidate was undervaluing their worth. As the laws have changed over the last couple years, firms are no longer able to ask what you are currently making. This can work either in favor of a candidate or against the candidate.  How could those scenarios play out? The way it can work in favor is when the company that the candidate worked for has totally underestimated their value over the years, then a new firm will pay them a compensation package of what they are really worth. On the converse, there are firms that have overpaid employees based on their production; therefore, if they go into the marketplace, they will be truly valued correctly.  Even though the last sentence may sound negative, it truly is not. It should motivate an employee to increase their revenue to be able to justify their current financial situation.

A Win-Win Compensation Package With A Recruiter On Your Side

The candidates that I represented were all very open minded to my suggestions during the compensation discussions. It’s because of this open mindedness that we were able to get them all hired. They truly valued the knowledge I was able to present to both them and the hiring manager to justify my suggested compensation recommendation.  By working with your trusted advisor (and by trusted, I mean by you as well as the hiring firm) a very win-win compensation model can be drafted and approved by both parties. If your recruiter has your respect as well as the hiring firms, then a thorough compensation package discussion should yield well for both parties.  

Each side wants to make this a successful transition. Both parties must value that it is not today’s revenue that they are looking at when discussing a compensation package, but the revenue that is going to be generated over the years from a successful hire. With that outlook, many of the firms that we work with are able to look through the first-year potential negative revenue loss as it comes to their Excel models, and instead look forward to two to three years out. If a firm is not willing to commit 18 to 24 months for you to build out your business, then that is probably not a firm that you want to seriously engage. On the other hand, if they see the value, then this could be a great place for you to build out your business over the next 10 to 15 years (or even longer depending on your age).  


If you would like to discuss your options, please reach out to me for a confidential conversation at 760-477-1284 or email me at [email protected]. He can also be reached on LinkedIn

About Harlan Friedman, JD & Founding Member, H. Friedman Search LLC. Harlan is a thirty-year veteran Public Finance Banker turned recruiter who specializes in the placement of all level Public Finance Bankers, Health Care Bankers, Municipal Financial Advisors, Compliance Officers, Issuers, and Bond Counsels.