Salary: OTE vs Basic

Salary: OTE vs Basic

2 October 2017

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When looking for a sales-related role, it’s not uncommon to find potential earnings advertised as ‘salary plus OTE’. For many candidates, the actual starting salary is irrelevant, they are keen to earn more through achieving targets and bonuses. They enjoy the motivation of a target in order to increase their earnings. However, for other candidates, having a decent starting salary is a key factor as to whether or not they will consider a job.

On occasion, I even get sales candidates who are willing to take a small drop in earnings in order to pursue a career in a better environment or be able to pursue a better work/life balance. For many candidates, the overall benefits package that a company has to offer can impact their final decision when it comes to choosing a place of work.

As a recruiter, it’s important for me to get to know my candidates and what it is exactly that they are looking for. So, particularly within sales-related roles, I will always endeavour to find out what is more important to a candidate – a higher basic salary or a better commission structure; a strong company culture or a flexible benefits package?

The reasons for choosing one option over another can be manifold. For instance, candidates looking to secure a mortgage often opt for a higher basic salary because it will ultimately allow them to buy a bigger house. Those who aren’t quite at that stage in life tend to disregard the basic salary in favour of a lucrative, uncapped bonus structure. Especially when, in some cases, there is potential to nearly double your base rate of pay.

In some cases, candidates have had a particularly negative sales experience therefore, going forward, the salary isn’t as important as a welcoming and friendly working environment. For some candidates, it wouldn’t matter how much the salary was, if the benefits and flexible working options weren’t there, they wouldn’t be interested. This is particularly important if candidates have experienced anti-social shift patterns are looking to progress to a role with more traditional hours.

So, as a candidate in the sales market, it’s important to know what you are looking for before you embark on a job search. A key factor in your decision process will be deciding how you feel about salary, bonus structures, benefits and ethos. Although, some businesses may be open to negotiating your salary for the sake of securing an excellent employee.

Letting your recruiter know which carries more weight will ultimately allow us to place you in a business that meets your needs. Ideally, we want to find you a sales role that ‘ticks every box’ as much as you do with respect to the job advert.

If you are looking to be considered for a sales-related role, I would be delighted to help you in your job search. Click here to see my details and we can have a confidential chat about your career plans.   


Written By Chris Milne


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