In this article, we go through the do’s and don’t’s of negotiating your salary.
While we’re in the tech world, this can be beneficial for practically any profession.
Beforehand, this might include researching what similar positions are paying, coming prepared with evidence of your past successes and achievements (most important part of an interview), being confident in your value as an employee, and leveraging any connections you may have within the company.
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“What are your salary expectations?”
This is a classic question where recruiters want to get a feel for what kind of salary you expect.
However, it’s generally not a good idea to give out your salary expectations.
Instead, it’s a good idea to flip it back on the recruiter and ask what the compensation band is for that position.
Also, if you’re in the states of California or Washington, they have to share a compensation band with you.
It’s also okay to say that you don’t have a specific number in mind, especially if the role is a bigger jump.
If they do share a range, don’t say it’s too high or too low, but say that it’s a great start so the door is open to negotiate later.
Being neutral is key to not overshare or undershare at the same time.
Don’t give them your number
When they’re ready to make you an offer, it’s still at this point you don’t want to throw in a number.
Basically ask for what the compensation structure entails and the perks and benefits. Then you can go from there.
When to start talking numbers
Once you know the role, the company culture, the compensation band, then you might now feel comfortable throwing out a number.
Do your research
Once you have all the information and data, when they do give out a number you can determine whether that’s a good number or whether to up it instead.
Some jobs, of course, have performance incentives. You can ask how the payout structure on things like bonuses work (e.g., once per year, twice per year).
If they don’t offer a bonus, you can use that as a leverage point against them and request a higher number for your base salary.
What’s the best format for this conversation?
Usually, the best format to have these conversations is through email.
Over email you can be careful with your word choice and frame everything exactly as you want.
Having everything in writing can also be helpful for reference.
It also limits miscommunication.
For example, if you said $150 on the phone the recruiter may mishear and believe you said $115 and that way you can avoid any snafus.
You can also relay your information to the compensation team or other managers on the email.
It can also be easy for some to ease up on the phone and discount themselves.
Email can also help prime a recruiter for a call if that’s eventually what happens.
Other helpful hints
When you provide a range…
When you give a range, they will almost always offer you exactly the bottom of the range.
So try giving a range where the lowest number is a number that you would be really happy with.
That way they think they make a bargain for signing you at the bottom of the range, but in reality that is already your dream salary (for now).
Negotiate every offer
Negotiate on every single job offer.
The game is that whoever says the number first loses.
This means never give an exact number for your salary, always provide a range.
If you are comfortable with $80K then tell them my range is $80K – $100K. The $80K number is just an example.
Apart from salary there are several other things you can negotiate depending on which level of job you are applying for.
- Salary (Common)
- PTO (Paid Time Off) (Common)
- Remote Work (Common)
- Signing Bonus
- Education Stipend
- Flex Days
- Transportation Stipend
- Stocks as Bonus
Things you cannot negotiate:
- Medical Coverage
- Any other kind of coverage like Dental, Vision
- Retirement Plans
Stick with 2-3 things. This means you are going to negotiate Salary and PTO, for example, and stick with those things. This means more base pay and more PTO.
* Keep in mind that the above list of things is not a complete list and it really depends on the city and company you are applying for.
Directly from the mind of a hiring director
“Being a hiring director and knowing lots of hiring managers and directors in FANG and big corporate here are my 5 cents: we are not looking to pay you less than people who already work for us with similar skillset (that’s unethical and borderline illegal), we are not going to pay you more (or less) than our band for the role you are applying.
What this means is:
(1) our recruiters will be happy to give you a band for the role or ask for your expectations
(2) based on the interview you might get offer for more or less money depending on what sub-band we think you land on. It doesn’t really matter that much what you initially asked for.
Note: that this applies to giant companies who care about their reputation.”
When it comes to salary expectations during the interview don’t give things away right away.
Be sure to understand the role, company culture, and compensation structure before negotiating.
If you are negotiating your salary, keep in mind that the best format is email. Try to be as specific and clear as possible in your wording, and be sure to negotiate every offer you get.
Additionally, consider all of the factors that can impact your salary negotiation, such as bonuses and perks like transportation stipends or stocks.
And above all else, try to stay confident and professional throughout the process. With these tips in mind, you’re sure to secure a fair compensation package that reflects your skills and experience.