it is necessary to take some steps when preparing forsalary negotiation in order to get the possible best deal when Negotiating a Job Offer with a Company below is an articule by mike
In my most recent piece I covered the entire application process. What I want to touch on today is the part of the process where you, the applicant, have the most power: The job offer.
Negotiating a job offer is not as difficult as people think and companies generally tend to be a lot more flexible than commonly assumed. One simple fact that most people forget is that the negotiation process begins from the minute you apply for the job in the first place.
To put yourself in the strongest position possible to face a negotiation battle, you first need to lay some solid foundations and that all starts the first time you are asked to specify what salary you are looking for. If you are applying through a recruiter then chances are you will be asked that question within 5 seconds of expressing interest in any given job.
Before disclosing what salary you are looking for, do your research. Take a look at similar roles on various tech job boards and see what salaries are being offered, but keep in mind they can vary depending on geographic region so ensure the roles you are using for comparison are in the same general area that you want to work in. More and more recruitment agencies are compiling salary surveys free of charge for their clients. It never hurts to contact a tech recruitment agency and simply ask them if you can have a copy.
So now you have an idea of the market value for the position you are applying for, you now need to assess where you feel you sit in terms of the competition applying for this role. If you sincerely believe that you are above average then take a good look at your resume. If that fact isn’t instantly obvious by reading your resume alone then the employer won’t buy it. You either need to reign in your ego or more likely, you may need to adjust your resume. You can refer to my blog for more advice in this regard.
There is a growing trend, particularly amongst the tech community, to refuse to disclose your salary, so I better address that now to clear any confusion. First and foremost, I don’t agree with this approach in principal. I am in complete agreement with the ideology of not disclosing your salary to a recruiter until they have either disclosed the company name, or at the very least the companies budget for this particular role, but there is a common misconception that if you disclose your salary to an employer, it will limit the potential salary offered. It’s your experience that is indicative of your ability, not your current salary: Any decent employer worth their salt will judge your worth based on your potential and its value to their business.
If you follow the advice contained within this post, you will not be at a disadvantage by disclosing your salary when an employer asks.
If there are other factors at play aside from money,(for example, medical insurance is a significant issue in the US in particular) then ensure that you have full transparency on the benefits structure BEFORE applying for the job.
Stick to your Guns
Having done your research and gained a clear and accurate perspective of your market value, stick to your guns and don’t back down.
A clever employer will ask for clarification on your salary expectations during the interview and if they have already sold you the dream, at this point most people undersell themselves and suggest a salary range slightly lower than their initial expectations. If you mention a salary range during the interview, that is the one they will base your offer on.
There are ways of getting an insight into how an employer truly values your experience during an interview. The following questions will help you discern how your experience stacks up against others they may have seen.
What areas of expertise do you feel I may need to work on?
This is a tough and direct question but it will give you a brilliant insight into any potential weaknesses the employer may have identified. If they cite a specific language or framework that is integral to the role then you have identified a key issue that will affect their decision making process.
How does my salary expectation stack up against those currently working for the company with a similar level of experience?
This is a killer question and it’s more than reasonable to ask. You aren’t asking how much people are being paid, you are simply asking if the salary you requested correlates with what they are already paying their staff. The response here can be extremely revealing so make sure you pay attention!
If the interviewer confirms that it’s in the right ballpark then you have significantly strengthened your negotiating position. If they state it’s a bit higher than the average then the next question is crucial.
How does my experience in *insert relevant technology stack* compare to other people you have seen?
If they have interviewed a few people and you have stronger experience or simply more experience than the others they have seen then you are in the best possible position to negotiate a better package during the offer stage.
Negotiation != Compromise
Hopefully at this point you have set yourself up so that you are in the best possible negotiating position. The best case scenario is that the employer simply offers you the exact salary package you have asked for. This doesn’t necessarily mean you should have asked for more in the first place. One of the biggest issues in Software Development at the moment is keeping your best staff happy and away from the prying hands of the competition. If an employer truly values your skills and abilities then they will offer you a package that they feel will keep you happy as it’s counter-productive,(not to mention expensive) to bring an employee on board, only to lose them to the competition a year later because they offered 10% more than what you are currently getting paid. The employers who have a legitimate understanding of the market will offer you a salary they feel will keep you happy and away from the competition.
If you have followed all of the steps above and you are offered a package lower than your initial request, you simply need to ask why. Say that you’ve been offered $40k when you initially stated you wanted a minimum of $45k, remind them of your initial request, and politely ask why they aren’t matching that request. If they state the issue is because of budgets then refer to the second & third question listed in the previous section. If they had previously confirmed that your expectation was of a similar level to the team then you are being low-balled. Push back and stipulate that you would appreciate it if they could reconsider their offer and come back to you. If they state that they won’t budge, request 24 hours to consider your options and the next day call them back and politely decline the offer but ensure you stipulate that the reason you are turning it down is due to the salary package failing to meet your minimum expectations. More often than not, if they genuinely want you to work for their company they will offer more at this stage. If they don’t, move on.
Accepting an Offer
So you’ve nailed the interview and the company want to make you an offer you can’t refuse.
Never accept an offer on the spot. It’s really that simple. I don’t care if they have offered you a salary and package that far exceeds your expectations. Thank them and politely inform them that you would like to consider the offer before making a decision. Ideally, I recommend taking a maximum of 24 hours to thoroughly consider your options but it’s essential to set their expectations before doing so. When you state you would like some time to consider the offer, specify an exact time that you will come back to them with a definitive response.
If an employer puts you on the spot and insists on a decision there and then, I would sincerely question their motives. Never, ever accept an offer on the spot! At the very least, inform them you will call back within the hour with a response.
The reason I suggest you take time to consider your options is to enable you to put some of the benefits in perspective. Generally speaking, the person making you the offer has plenty of experience in negotiation and more often than not, benefits such as stock options and gym memberships can be oversold and made to sound significantly more attractive than necessary.
In reality, the only things you need to focus on away from the actual salary are specific details surrounding Intellectual Property Agreements and Non-Disclosure Agreements. More and more companies are stifling their developers creativity by restricting them from contributing to open source projects outside of their day job and the last thing any developer wants is to create an immensely brilliant project or tool in your own time only to learn that their employer owns your baby as you signed an IPA when you accepted the role without giving it a second glance.
What if things went a little too well and you have more than one offer of employment? Obviously this is the best case scenario but the point to remember here is to not get arrogant. First of all, weigh up your options. If one offer is significantly more attractive than the others, make sure it isn’t purely because they are paying more and that the company itself is one you genuinely want to work for. Honesty is key here. Before accepting the offer, phone the other companies that have made you an offer and let them know the situation. Give them a chance to respond before accepting anything.
This particular approach is completely normal and despite appearing like a difficult conversation, almost all employers appreciate open and honest feedback on your situation. If that means you have been offered more money elsewhere, then so be it. They would rather know in the beginning so that they have a chance to react than find out when it’s too late to change your mind.
On a final note, if you are currently employed and you’ve been offered a job elsewhere, most employers will try and convince you to stay. After all, if you are good enough for the competition then maybe they aren’t truly appreciating your value right? Correct. Well, at least it’s correct for the first few weeks. The majority of people who decide to stick with their current company after being counter-offered leave within a year. The reason for this is simple: the motivation for you to want to look elsewhere eventually rears its ugly head after you have settled back in. If your motivation is money and you receive a raise, generally that raise will have been ahead of schedule and it will make it harder for you to negotiate a future raise. If the motivation is less tangible, for example, work/life balance or the general office culture, an increased salary very rarely, if ever, mitigates that problem.
The rules surrounding counter-offers are the same as the rules above. Sleep on it, and re-evaluate exactly why you are choosing to leave in the first place.
Receiving an offer of employment is an ego-boosting compliment. It’s also a crucial and strategic business decision. Be clear on your expectations and don’t settle for less than what you feel you are truly worth as you will end up resenting your job and be back to square one before you know it.