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Know Your Company - Will It Work For You?

Updated: Dec 29, 2019

That Purple Book negotiation know your company

You're willing to work for a company but will it work for you?! Research your prospective company prior to applying for a position to better understand whether it's a good fit for you. By learning all you can about the company and its policies, you will also be in a much better position for negotiating the best compensation package when the time comes. Below are some general questions to answer regarding your prospective company:

What type of company is this?

* Startup

* Government

* Higher education

* Non-Profit

* Privately held business

* Public business (you can buy stock in the company)

* Other

The type of company can make a big difference in the type of benefits offered to employees. This is an important first step to understanding whether the company is a good fit for you. Government-based agencies will include pretty standard compensation options while startups and others may offer more flexibility. A couple of great resources to use for researching your are and Each of these sites provides general information about 1000s of companies and even information about salaries and interview questions.

What is the compensation type?

* Salary

* Hourly

* Commission (commission-only or commission plus base salary?)

* Ad hoc/By project

* Other

Do not overlook this step! It is very important to know ahead of time how you are being compensated for your work time. Salary is commonly measured on an annual basis but then it also means you may be working more than a 40hour work week. Does the annual salary amount equal an hourly rate that you are comfortable with? If the company is going to pay you by the hour, do the math to make sure the monthly or annual amount works for what you're looking for. (A 40hr work week equals 2,080 total hours in one year: 40X52weeks) If a position is compensated with commission, pay attention to the base salary and don't get distracted by the total 'possible' salary amount including the commission! Yes, making more money with commission is a great option and encouragement for working more BUT make sure that the base salary meets your needs from the beginning.

What position type would I be applying for?

* Union

* Non-union

* Full time

* Part time

* Seasonal

* Freelance

* Other

This information should be listed right in the posted job description. The difference in position type can affect your overall benefits and negotiation strategy. For example, a union position typically must follow a salary and benefit structure according to the union's contract with your company. There is usually fewer options for negotiating because of this. A benefit of being in a union position is the extra protection from being fired or let go without cause. If the position is seasonal, is it full-time hours during that period or part-time? If the position is freelance, how and when would you be paid? Partial payment upfront and the remaining after the project is completed? Only paid in full after completion of the project? Ask additional questions to better understand how you will be paid so that you can plan accordingly.

What is the company's location and where would the position be placed?

* Large metropolis versus small community

* Commute time

* Option to work from home

* Other

If you take a position with this company, where would your office be located? What would your commute options be like? This is another important aspect to consider both prior to applying for a job and also prior to negotiating a compensation package. With this job, would you be commuting on foot, bike, train, or car? Would you incur additional expenses due to your new commute? Any additional expenses should be considered when you discuss the salary compensation with your prospective employer.

Learning more about your prospective company will help you learn whether this is a good fit for you. Yes, you can work for a company but will the company work for YOU?! The benefits they do/do not offer should guide your strategy for career negotiation.

Next Steps:

* On a sheet of paper, write down the answers to the above questions for your prospective company.

* Research any questions for which you do not have answers.

* Review the information on your sheet and use it to craft your application and negotiation strategy!

Additional tips and advice are available in other blog posts. Connect with us across social media at @ThatPurpleBook.

#KnowYourCompany #Benefits #FirstRealJob #Career

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