Put a salary on this job

Please pretend you are answering this ad and tell me what you would ask in terms of salary. Also tell me what else you’d want to know about the position.

So basically you’re looking for a vice president, in which case I would want three-fourths of your salary plus bonuses.

I am DYING to know how much the writer of this advertisement expects to have to pay…


Starting salary of 75 to 100K.


This candidate is going to be tightly integrated into the business; he or she will need to have a real interest in it, which in my mind means profit-sharing. If you really expect his or her performance to be crucial to getting the businesses up to speed, they’ll need to be compensated if and when the businesses take off. Stock options and/or profit-sharing on top of a low six figure salary (I’d ask for $150k and two weeks’ paid leave) would be reasonable.

It is going to be REALLY difficult to find someone even with just your primary qualifications. Most people don’t even know how to use a Mac for instance because they only have about 5% market share. I wouldn’t even list that as a primary qualification. Anyone with great general PC skills should be able to learn it in a day or two (they are built to be easy to learn).

If you manage to find someone, I think that somewhere in the 75 - 80K range might be suitable for the right person.

For me, there’s not enough money in the world. I don’t know if there is even enough information in the ad to size the job. What is the scope of “PR campaigns”? What is “running the pet food store”? This person is so scattered, she doesn’t have a concept of how to parcel things out to people with the relevant expertise. I think the job title is probably Scapegoat.

If you’re really interested in this, I would ask about 10% above what you’re making now/ most you’ve ever earned in a year, and focus on the job scope: what would you actually be willing and able to do for her? This would be the first of many times you would tell her what she needs to hear, not what she asked you.

A key question is why the last person who tried to do this for her left/ was fired. Or maybe the last several persons. If she wants detailed references, you should get the same. In the (IMHO unlikely) event this would be her first attempt at hiring an assistant, talk to people who do business with her, employees of her businesses, former employees of her businesses…

Also, I’d try to negotiate some severance so there is some skin in the game for her if she fires you. I’m not sure how you would contract for this, but seems like a good idea. Negotiating severance on the way in is common for executive positions.

ETA: If you’re placing the ad, sorry I harshed on you. But now you know how I’d advise an applicant.

It’s going to be my ad, this is just a rough first draft and the job isn’t going to be happening for a couple of months.

I’ve only had one other person in the position, my sister. She has a debilitating chronic illness which has made it impossible for her to do the job, and made it kinda impossible while she was in it.

I’m hoping I can get someone to start out for $1000 - 1200 a week. If this person is any good at all, it won’t be long before there will be a lot of downtime, and plenty of telecommuting, which has a great deal of value: it certainly would for me, I cannot abide having to put in X hours a day whether there’s anything that needs doing or not, I think that’s ridiculous and I never expect of someone working for me. Also the medical.

I WANT someone who wants to have a piece of it, because that really is the only guaranteed way for someone to really care, and I am not at all greedy. I love to share, I especially love to share when I know that I’m sharing what I wouldn’t have in the first place if not for the efforts of the person I’m sharing it with.

But in order to get the money flowing, I need help. I’m not going to be able to pay serious bucks if I can’t MAKE serious bucks, ya kow?

By the way, it’s “running TO the pet food store”.

You need an asst. to check shit like that.

And, BTW, I didn’t realize this would be in LA – add $20K to my original figures.

At least $150,000, with bonuses pegged to financial performance.

To be honest - this reads to me as almost the job like Elaine Bennis had on Seinfeld - great in theory, with promises of really cool and interesting work, but in reality she gets to run all over the city trying to find the exact pair of socks he needed or whatever.

The job could be really cool, but you’ve got to sell it to them - especially if you are wanting someone from a PR/Sales/Marketing background - as much as they have to sell themselves to you.

And to that end, it leaves a big ? over what the position is worth.

To be honest, reading between the lines, the job sounds horrible. Not knowing you, I might read this ad and think my boss will be erratic with unclear parameters for the job (I’m not saying that is true, just that is the impression I got).

You might consider shortening it and taking out some of the personal information about yourself. I would focus on finding people with the skill sets you need and then talking about the other points in the interviews.

Also, I think this job, in LA is at least $100k.

I don’t think I’d take that job for less than $85,000 and a written guarantee of profit-sharing for anything I had a part in.

Frankly, I would take out “no strong accents of any kind”, which seems like code for “foreigners need not apply”. It would make me very nervous. Replace with “clear speaking voice” or something like that.

I am somewhat your target employee (I’ve worked in a wide spectrum of office jobs for 11 years now - I am extremely competent at all of it, with most of the qualifications you’ve specified in both hard and soft skills), and I wouldn’t touch your job for all the money in the world. What a massive pain in the ass a job like that would be. Babysitting an adult with ADD for an unspecified amount of hours, with no set duties except doing everything you can think of for me to do (and let’s face it, all the unpleasant stuff YOU don’t want to do), for a set amount of pay? No way, josee.

And to be completely frank, you sound like a terrible boss, too. You’ll have to get someone who is a perfect fit with your personality, because otherwise, you’re gonna end up stabbed.

But keep your ad exactly the way it is, so your employees know what kind of hell they are in for.

Oh, you are the one hiring…as I remove my mouth from my foot.

My advice to you would be to find a qualified therapist to help you manage your ADD, even if this means multiple appointments per week. Also, ask this therapist to help you be a good manager to a more standard assistant. Sane, competent, decent people do not want a job where, if you realize you need something from the pet food store at 11pm some random night, they need to go get it for you (insert crisis du jour here).

People who think they can con you might be willing to give it a try. Maybe you’ll see through their lies in time and maybe you won’t. The ad screams “boundary issues” to me, and you will attract people who don’t understand boundaries. This can easily extend to not understanding the boundary between your money/stuff/credit and theirs.

I think you need to be more explicit [no pun intended] about the more-sensitive aspects of this position. Try to see it from a [typically female] administrative assistant’s P.O.V. – you’re going to some guy [right?]'s home, where the business involves at least some X-rated material… it just sounds like a recipie for trouble. Are there any other employees around? Have you been in this business for long?

Another pitfall is running personal errands. How large a part of the job is this, honestly? Can you eliminate this from the job entirely? (See above for why mixing of the personal with the strictly-business is even more important for this job than for most others.) If errands and company driving is a significant aspect of the job, then consider leasing a vehicle for business, or at minimum being very generous with mileage allowances – either way, detail that in the ad, provided you can’t strike the errands entirely.

Lastly, you need to clarify what exactly constitutes the realistic commitment level you require – an average of 40-50 hours/wk.? 60+? Over only five days, or often six, or seven? Would the employee be expected to be “on call” at short notice for one or both days of her weekends, and be expected to scotch her social plans accordingly? How elastic or inelastic are you WRT the maximum length of any given working day? Many employees would be willing to put in long hours for you, but nevertheless must draw a line at a certain hour because of family commitments. Given your level of natural disorganization, can the employee be expected to have very long days (or weekend hours) sprung on her without advance notice?

Stoid is a girl.