Beyond B-School
If I Work Here…What’s My Paycheck?
with Scott Swigart
with Scott Swigart

Overview/What You Will Learn

How do you decide which jobs offer competitive salaries and which companies reward their employees in ways that make sense for you to target a job there?  Scott Swigart, co-author of Going Beyond Google: Gathering Internet Intelligence, demonstrates the use of several online tools that will help you evaluate compensation levels and packages, while giving you an understanding of how different companies structure compensation and what you can expect or should seek in salary and benefits.  

Key Points

  • is probably the best resource as it aggregates job postings across different sources across the web.
    • If you are targeting a particular salary range in your job search, look at comparable titles, accompanying responsibilities, the qualifications the company seeks and whether or not you match up. 
  • Glassdoor offers an even clearer picture of specific salary ranges.  For example, if you search for “product manager” jobs in Microsoft, you can pull up a very specific breakdown of salary, bonus, stock bonus, and other types of compensation.
    • To assess whether or not a particular offer is good, compare it to competitor offerings.
  • Look at reviews of people who hold certain job titles.  This way, you see the pros and cons of working for a specific company according to an employee who holds the job you might want.
  • For deeper analysis, go to Google and type in the company you may want to target and key search words that include Glassdoor (e.g., “oracle compensation”).  Search results will include feedback on satisfaction related to compensation and where the company may be particularly generous or lagging.  Substitute “benefits” as a search word and you will get insight into that aspect, helping you understand further how a company weights compensation – whether towards salary or benefits.
  • is a helpful tool when you’re at the point of evaluating a specific offer.
    • Payscale asks you questions about the offer and analyzes your answers factoring in comparable jobs at competitor companies, job location and relative cost of living, opportunities for advancement and likely career path with its corresponding pay scale. See exactly where the offer sits along a continuum.

Your Next Steps / Tips for Success

  • Search specific job postings, companies, and job titles of interest to explore general salary ranges.
  • Access the various online search tools, such as Indeed, Glassdoor, Google, and Payscale to get a sense of companies’ reputations related to compensation and how they typically structure compensation packages.  Factor in job location, cost of living and the likely career path associated with particular positions.  Explore potential target companies’ competitors.  
  • In Glassdoor, search reviews of people with job titles of interest. Type in job title. Hit Control F to apply filter, and type in compensation.
  • Decide where you are in your life and career and which aspects of compensation are more important to you – whether it’s the quality of benefits, salary number, cash bonus, stock bonus or stock options, etc.  Consider how long you may work in a particular position.

Scott Swigart informs his competitive intelligence projects with insights gained from a career that began decades ago with coding low-level UNIX hardware diagnostics and continues today with programmatic social media mining and cloud-based projects. Scott is well recognized for his contributions to the competitive intelligence community and regularly speaks at national conferences for marketing research and competitive intelligence associations. He co-chaired the Oregon Chapter of the Strategic and Competitive Intelligence Professionals society (SCIP) and co-wrote Going Beyond Google: Gathering Internet Intelligence, listed as a must-read for 2009–2010 by SCIP.  Learn about Cascade Insights at