Designation or Salary?- Human Resource Management

Digitally mighty words

Choosing between Salary and Designation

I am an HR and I have been working in Human Resource Management, especially in the field of recruitment for close to 3 years now! I have myself been to my fair share of interviews in search of my dream job. The first job I took up, I joined as a trainee for a comparatively low salary because, at that point, my priority was to have some practical exposure to Human Resource Management. Simultaneously, I signed up for my Post Graduation in International Business Management with a focus on HRM.

After completing my studies, I shifted to India and started to search for a suitable job again. The Bangalore job market was very ruthless and unforgiving. On my worst days, I would have attended close to 3 interviews and none of it would have worked out. One day, I came across an advertisement stating that Google was looking for HR executives! It was like a ray of hope falling through all the darkness around me. I walked in for the interview, confident and bold. I cleared the first round and then the second and when I cleared the third round, my hopes were rocketing to the sky! After about 30 minutes of wait, I was called in for the fourth and final round of interview!

There was a lot of question and answer, some to test my theoretical knowledge and a few personal ones to test my confidence and instinct. I did well, I could say by the look on the Interviewers face. Just then, her eyes fell on something on my resume and her face dimmed down.

“Your work experience is in Dubai, not in India?” She asked.

“Yes, mam. I was working and side by side I also completed my post-graduation in Dubai.” I said.

“Oh. This puts me in a fix Kani. We are looking for candidates with a minimum of 6 months experience in the Indian market! It would be easier for us to fix a salary that way.” She says.

When converted from Dirhams to Rupees, my last drawn salary would be close to Rs. 30,000/- per month!

“Mam, I do understand your concern. However, I don’t mind if you went ahead with your industry standard package if that is your only concern. I did not attend this interview with a salary in mind. I want to work for Google, It’s my dream!” I said.

“I understand Kani. Let me have a word with the higher officials regarding this and get back to you?” She said.

I walked out of that room with a very heavy heart and a sense of failure, I never received that call!

After a few more weeks, I received a call regarding a job requirement in another leading MNC. For the first time ever, I was facing a situation where I had to make quick decisions. What is more important? A dream job or a good salary? Half a day is all it took for me to make that decision. This time, I did not add my work experience on my resume. I removed the experience certificate from my file and simply chose to present myself as a fresher.

I was offered a basic package according to the industry standard for a Post Graduate with no work experience. I accepted the offer with much relief and I worked there for close to a year.

This was followed by a series of life-changing moments for me. Fast forward about 3 years of career-break and now I am in a new city, and I am back to square one. I am looking to re-start my career but am very apprehensive about attending an interview because of such a long break. I have no idea about the market and hence my confidence is at all time low!

At such a point, I am faced with this situation again where I have to make quick decisions.

A company is ready to match my last drawn salary and offers me an executive level position. At the same time, another company offers me a supervisor level position but for a salary that is lower than my last drawn. It took me exactly 5 minutes to make my decision. I chose designation over salary!

Why did I choose Designation over Salary?

I always believe that Human Resource Management has a lot to do with instinct rather than education or experience!

A candidate always keeps his/her future in mind while making such decisions. The first time I chose to ignore concerns over salary, I knew that I was going to work for an amazing MNC where there will be a lot of scope for growth and recognition. Just as I predicted, I put in my hard work and it was recognized in more than one situations. If I had stayed with the organization for a little longer, I would have gotten everything that I ever wanted. A good position with an equally good pay!

The second time around it’s the same thing. I predict that, just like how after a few years of experience your educational certificates become unimportant, similarly in future, I will be hired for my position rather than for the salary I draw here!

Is it right, what I did?

I do not know. For me, it is working out perfectly till date.

If you ask me for a suggestion, the first thing I will ask you is, “How many years of work experience do you have?”

If your experience is lower than 5 years, I will very confidently suggest you choose a good designation over a good salary, any day! Because the beginning of your career is the window where you get to learn a lot and grow. A good designation means you will be given a lot of responsibilities and will be faced with a lot of challenges. This will widen your knowledge, sharpen your instincts, improve your decision-making skills and prepare you perfectly to win over any situation in your field of experience!

After 5 years of such valuable experience, you can very well start to give more importance to the Salary. This doesn’t mean you can give up on your designation. You should keep your positional status as well. For example, if a company X offers you a higher designation but can only match your last drawn salary but a company Y offers you the same designation with a standard 30-35% hike over your current salary, I would suggest you go for the later!

Closing my case…

Is Designation more important or Salary? This is a debate faced by every job-seeker from the start of time, be it a fresher or an experienced candidate. They have all been coming to their own conclusions, making their own decisions and facing the outcomes accordingly. There is no one right answer for such questions because each person’s situations vary.

At the end of the day, life is all about trusting your instinct and taking quick decisions.

Do your best and give your 100%, the rest is always left to chances and circumstances.


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