How Much am I Worth as a Candidate?

Let’s face it—understanding your worth as a candidate is a challenge, and talking about it is even more difficult. Talance Group is passionate about helping candidates cross that hurdle, which is why this blog is dedicated to helping you make sense of your worth as a candidate. We’ll take some of the mystery out of the salary conversation by looking at the factors (like education, experience, and skills) that determine your value and worth as a candidate.

The Difference Between Worth & Value

Can your value as a human being on Planet Earth be reduced to a dollar amount like any other commodity? Of course not! This conversation deals more specifically with the level of compensation you might expect when you’re ready to explore the job market. First, it’s important to understand the difference between worth and value. Your value as a candidate is what you could potentially contribute to a company and position given your unique skills and talents. Your worth as a candidate is job-specific: what is the market willing to pay you for this particular role. In other words, the value you bring may not line up with the compensation you can expect due to many factors. The following discussion should help clarify how to determine your worth for a particular role.

1. Do Your Research

To get a ballpark estimate for what you can expect to make, do some internet research to find average pay rates for a particular position on sites such as, Indeed, and Glassdoor. These tools are regularly updated and fueled by data from a variety of salaries and current job openings. They’re great places for beginning the process of figuring out what a potential future employer is willing to pay you. You can also look at individual job postings that line up with your background as they sometimes provide salary ranges. Lastly, utilize your professional network and reach out to people who either have direct knowledge of hiring people like you or have a background very similar to yours. Remember this is just a first step and take any data you’ve gathered with a grain of salt as there are many other factors to consider.

2. Understand the Position and Market

Next, compare yourself to the job description and ask these questions: what is the job market like in your region? Are you missing any requirements? Are you overqualified? How long has the position been vacant? These can cause huge variations in what you might expect in an offer. In a depressed job market (a “Buyer’s Market), salaries can be lower than usual and many managers won’t even consider someone who does not “check all the boxes”. If you have the right education, the right industry, and the right years of experience, you’re more likely to command a higher salary than someone who is missing one or more of those. If you are overqualified, don’t assume you’ll get paid more because you bring more value than what they are asking for. They have their own reasons for hiring at this certain level and are often restricted on salary ranges due to budgetary and internal equity concerns. Lastly, if the job has been open a long time, it’s possible the company is more willing to flex on compensation.

3. Determine Your Acceptable Range

After you’ve done your research and analysis described above, start to apply your own wants and needs to figure out what you might accept for a certain position. Everyone has a list of items that are important in their next role, and compensation is just one of them. These can be growth, challenge, work/life balance, culture, management style, location, duties, or stability to name a few. One thing we’ve learned over the years is money can’t buy happiness, and we’ve seen people ignore these other areas to take a higher offer only to find out later that they regret sacrificing their other needs for more money. We suggest you list out your own qualifiers in order of importance and see how each role provides what is most important to you. If a role fills most or all of your needs, you should seriously consider accepting a little less if they are not able to offer the compensation package you’ve targeted.

Present Your Value

As you prepare for an interview, be ready to discuss your strengths and the value you’ve brought to past companies performing similar duties. Ask intelligent questions to understand what’s most important to this particular interviewer as well as what problems they are hoping to solve in making this hire. The more you line up with their needs and the more they feel you can help solve their most challenging problems, the more “yes” votes you’ll receive. Being perceived as the obvious front runner is the final key to maximizing a potential offer amount.

Work With Talance Group

At Talance Group, we’re passionate about helping candidates understand and communicate their value in the position they’re pursuing. If you have any questions about anything in this article or would like to talk to a professional, local recruiter about your value and worth as a candidate, contact Talance Group at (713)-357-9565 or visit our website: