When it comes to negotiating offers, you have more power than you may realize. These are some tips to help you best yield that power in a way that is informed, credible and respectful

 

THE PREP

  • Know the details of your current or last package
    • Base pay + bonus and other incentives (ex. equity)
    • Your actual earnings in the prior calendar year or rolling 12 months
    • The value of all your benefits (ex. cost of health coverage, copays, etc.)
  • It’s important for you to decide
    • What your ‘walk away’ number is (what salary would be too low for you to accept, knowing without regret that you made the right decision)
    • What non-monetary values you care most about
    • When during the process you want to discuss compensation
      TIP: If the subject is brought up and you aren’t ready, you can say something like: “I’d like to learn more about the role before talking specific numbers”. Make it clear what else you’re interested in evaluating, such as the role specifics, overall package, benefits, continued learning, company culture, long-term career potential, etc


DID YOU KNOW?
In California, AB168 prohibits companies from asking about an applicant’s past salary. Furthermore, if you ask for the pay range, the employer is required to give you one. Similar laws are being implemented in 12 other states – see here.


HOW TO EXPRESS EXPECTATIONS ON PAY

  • Know how to articulate your compensation expectations
    Clearly present expectations with logic and commercially viable reasons on how you believe your value and/or market rate is compared to the pay range (if disclosed) or the offer being presented.

    • Sample1: I’m exploring roles between the ranges of $60,000  to $80,000, depending on base, bonus. I’m also evaluating opportunities based on the company’s health benefits, culture and growth opportunity
    • Sample2: My base salary needs to be at least $60,000. I like to evaluate packages as a whole – so I’d like to weigh other things like bonus, benefits, equity, etc.


Scenario (A look at this in action)
You really want this job, but you learned the salary range or offer is $10K lower than what you need.

    • Avoid: Tying compensation to your personal financial situation
      “I need $10K more because I just bought a new house and need the extra capital to make this worthwhile,” … is not a good approach! As true and important as that one factor may be, that new house purchase has nothing to do with the business, your value, or what the market warrants.
    • Try: Tying compensation to the expectations of the role and your skills
      “In full candor, the other roles I am exploring are $10K higher in base.” OR “I am really interested in exploring this further but to set clear expectations, you should know that I’d need to make at least $____ for this to be financially feasible.”

      TIP: Don’t forget to remind them how interested you are in the opportunity, pay aside!
      “I am really interested in joining CompanyX – the potential value I can bring is exciting. I really align with this team and the company – specifically around ______. I’d like to sync on compensation and see if we can make this feasible for both of us.


NAVIGATING THE FINAL OFFER

Best Practice: Have proactive discussions with the company recruiter or Hiring Manager throughout the offer process, so there are no surprises from you when it gets to the final offer point.

You’re at the end of the offer and negotiation process and have received what you believe is the FINAL offer. Here’s what you should make sure you do next.

  • Always set expectations on the timing of your response
    • Be clear with your point of contact on when you’ll respond. Better yet, set up a next step. “Thank You, I am really excited to review this offer. I’d like to dig into the details this evening, can we reconnect tomorrow at X time to discuss live?” 
    • Push back if you need more time to review the offer and be clear why.
      “I see the offer expires tomorrow. I have some remaining questions and want to review this carefully. Can we push that expiration date out to X and schedule a call for tomorrow to discuss my questions?”

      TIP: Consider this: Asking for a few days more is reasonable; a week may suggest you are waiting on another offer or using theirs to counter elsewhere. Also, while they are waiting for you to decide, they may have back-up candidates in limbo.

 

  • Know what you are evaluating
    Take ownership of understanding every detail of your offer. If you have questions that your point of contact at the company can’t answer, they will surely know who can. Sample checklist of what to make sure you know:
    • Base Salary
    • Bonus Details
    • Equity
    • Benefits
    • Paid Leave & Policies
    • 401K Matching
    • Your Manager’s Name/Title
    • Start Date
    • Offer Expiration Date