Why You Should Customize Your Job Offer

We currently live in the era of personalized everything: Personalized medicine, personalized shopping, personalized playlists, the list goes on. People have a seemingly infinite amount of choices on how to customize and personalize their experiences in the world, whether it’s tailoring certain features in apps or using recommendation engines that serve up just the right content at just the right time. So, why haven’t companies started customizing employment offers to prospective hires?

In my work, helping senior-level technology talent negotiate their full-time employment packages, it is rare that the company offering employment asks for anything beyond their salary requirement. This question is laughable, in the absence of other information.

Someone’s salary requirement is going to fluctuate based on other aspects of the offer. For instance, if you’re going to let me work from home on Fridays, you can pay me less because that’s a really important aspect in my lifestyle. If you’re giving me a huge amount of equity, that may also impact my salary requirements as would the title or any number of other factors that go into a compensation package. If the job is going to require me to travel 10 days of month, then that will impact my ideal salary as well. Of course there are many factors that would influence this which I have not named but can be seen in our Lifestyle Calculator.

There is an overwhelming body of evidence showing that people who are happy and fulfilled make better employees. A recent study from the University Of Warwick concluded that individuals who are happy show approximately 12% greater productivity. If companies would start trying to understand what is important to a potential hire, they could easily make an offer that is much more enticing to that individual and reap the benefits. Not only would this allow them to save money in some instances, it would also give them an opportunity to see if there’s a culture mismatch. There are lots of ways to assess compatibility of cultures beyond this, but if you can get a sense early on that a candidates’ preferred lifestyle doesn’t fit with the company’s culture by asking the right questions, you can save a lot of time, money, and trouble.

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Other studies suggest happiness doesn’t always translate into greater productivity. See Why Happiness Doesn’t Matter.

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As seasoned negotiators on behalf of employees at 10x Agent On Demand, we begin our process by asking our clients (the would-be employee) to envision what they want their life to look like in their new job. Then we have them weight which factors of an employment package are most important to them. This gives us a very complete, personalized picture of what our client would ideally like to have. More importantly, it forces them to think about the aspects of employment from a different approach and allows many of them, often for the first time, to think about what really matters to their lifestyle beyond the topline numbers.

Once we have our client’s priorities, it’s much easier to shape an offer that meets their goals. I’m astounded that HR departments that are constantly talking about the challenges of hiring great tech talent have not come to this conclusion and have not instituted these practices on their own. It is really in the interest of both sides of the table.

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I did see, however, in one instance where a company made an offer to a candidate that had three different versions of the basic offer, depending on how much equity the candidate wanted. It is really quite rare and unusual to come across something like this. Why would a company think that the same offer would make sense for a single 27-year-old as it would for a 36-year-old who is married and has three children? Assuming they are going for the same job, most companies would make them identical offers despite the fact that their needs and values are very likely quite different. This could cost the company their perfect candidate!

In this world of ultra-customization, instead of placing one blanket offer in front of each potential hire that walks through the door, companies need to start thinking about catering the offer to the individual. Different candidates have different needs, wants, and motivators, and both sides will benefit from beginning this process more aligned than they currently do.

Michael Solomon

Michael Solomon is an established entrepreneur with a strong desire to help people, a sharp eye for business, and a commitment to making a difference. The four organizations he’s helped found — for-profit and nonprofit alike — all aim to improve lives.

From working with Bruce Springsteen to founding Brick Wall Management and 10x Management with his close childhood friend, Rishon Blumberg, Michael has turned his passions into reality.

Brick Wall started as a music management company that managed, marketed, and shaped the careers of musicians like John Mayer, Citizen Cope, and Vanessa Carlton. It racked up multiple Grammy Awards and nominations and more than 10 million albums sold.

It now includes a consulting business that touches nearly every angle of the arts — from Emmy-award-winning and chart-topping songwriters, producers, and directors like Marshall Altman and Jarett Bellucci to entertainment consulting clients like Young & Rubicam and Miramax.

With 10x, Michael took his decades of experience managing creatives to a whole new space. The company, which was founded with a third partner who left in 2016, has revolutionized the technology sphere, carving out its place as a trusted, exclusive resource for companies seeking coveted freelance tech experts. Michael remains a sought-after voice in the tech-talent conversation, frequently appearing on TV (MSNBC, Bloomberg, BBC) and in print (The New York Times, The New Yorker, Forbes, and The Economist).

His extensive non profit work includes serving as the pro-bono administrator for a cause close to his heart — The Kristen Ann Carr Fund (KACF) for sarcoma treatment and research.

And KACF inspired Michael to co-found Musicians On Call, a nonprofit that brings live music to hospital patients at their bedsides, playing for more than 500,000 people since 1999. MOC currently runs in 18 cities nationally — and counting. Michael received the 2014 President’s Volunteer Service Award from President Obama for his work with MOC and he remains an active member of its Board of Directors.

From creating an essential educational video for children to incubating a web platform, Michael has a passion for personal and professional growth and makes it his mission to optimize himself and all of his diverse endeavors.

A born and bred Manhattanite, Michael moved to Montclair, NJ in 2014 with his awesome wife, Jenny, and two fantastic kids, Lucy and Rainen.