How to negotiate

02/01/20

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repost from tweet thread here

You’ve done well in the interview. Now you have the recruiter calling you and reading out some numbers for you. What do you do? Here are some tips I give people.

  1. Always negotiate! The system expects you to. You’ll never be dinged for it as long as you do it right. Also - negotiating when you get hired is 10x easier than negotiating after you start as an employee.
  2. Always negotiate in good faith. Never be deceptive. Never be rude or ghost. It’s just good karma and how you negotiate is a proxy for how you handle yourself at work (goes both ways - a company that is a deceptive negotiator might be deceptive in other ways)
  3. Take your time. Recruiters might say “You need to accept this in 24 hours”. In my experience, if a company thinks you’re a valuable hire, they’ll still think that in a few days. Don’t get pressured into a response
  4. Do your homework. Know your market price. Do your research on similar titles/roles and also what other peers at the company are paid. You need a sense of what the company typically offers for these roles and what their framework is (RSUs vs cash, titles, etc).
  5. This is key - don’t make a negotiation about “I want X, you’re offering less X” Negotiations are easier when you make it a package. Any offer has components - title, sign-on, base pay, RSUs. Offer them options on each. Gives each side leeway to get creative. Communicate what is important to you. Some folks want cash. Some folks want the title bump. Whatever it is, give the recruiter your framework (see #2 about not being deceptive). Give them multiple options.
  6. Know your BATNA. Do you have alternate offers on hand? What does your current company pay you? Arm the recruiter with all the info so they know what your options are. Again, dont be deceptive. If you lie, you’ll instantly get caught out as a person of low integrity.
  7. nother key: All through the process, reinforce how much you care about this role (and hopefully you genuinely do). It’s easiest when the recruiter hears “I can’t wait to kill it at this role, i just need this offer to work”. Enthusiasm and passion solves many a negotiation. Your (genuine) passion also helps them sell it to other internal stake holders - comp committees, your hiring manager. People will rally for you if they feel you want to work with them.
  8. I advise people to negotiate with the recruiter and not their future manager. Sometimes these get tricky and it can taint a key relationship before it gets started. Recruiters do this 10x a day and know how the game works, managers often don’t.
  9. Gently push back if the recruiter says “Titles don’t matter here” or “Reporting structure doesn’t work”. If that were really true, they wouldn’t care about making your offer work. On the other hand, in my experience, they rarely matter over long run.
  10. Finally, give yourself and the recruiter a timeline. A week is about the maximum this should go on for. Any longer and I find the process grows cold.

That’s it. Always negotiate, always act with high integrity, give them options and always show your passion. And you’ll surprise yourself with what can happen!