A few years ago I was a contractor at a tech company, and after 10 months I decided it wasn’t for me so I started mass applying everywhere.
After a couple weeks of interviewing, I finally got a job offer at a small marketing company.
Dan (future boss): The team really enjoyed meeting you and everyone had good things to say about you Phil. We are happy to offer you a full time position with a base salary of $XXX with full benefits and potential for an end of year bonus.
The team seemed great, there was opportunity for growth, and I really wanted to get the fuck out of my tech company.
But I wasn’t gonna be no punk bitch and take the first number they gave me.
I told Dan I needed a day to think about it and that he’ll hear from me soon.
I’ve never negotiated a job offer, so it was about to go down!!!
I turned to my circle of friends for advice and asked if they’ve ever negotiated a job offer before. Here are the results:
“No. I’ve always been offered more than I thought I’d get lol.”
“No. Never had to.”
Then one friend came thru: Hannalee.
Hannalee is a fucking boss. She successfully negotiated 3 job offers with a 23% average raise from each one. I was lucky to have her as my personal coach.
I also found this guy on YouTube, Remit Sethi. He’s a boss too. He has all these videos on personal development and unleashing your potential. http://bit.ly/1XfhFD1
One video in particular, How to Negotiate Your Salary, really helped me with this negotiation. http://bit.ly/1gKR7EQ
Here, I learned that negotiating is conversational, not adversarial. Remit also says to not put too much emphasis on the $ amount. I’ll explain in a bit.
Okay, so back to the offer. Let’s say the offer was $60,000 base salary with benefits.
Hannalee said to ask for $5,000 more commensurate with my experience.
I searched datasets from Payscale, Salary.com, and Glassdoor and factored in:
My location = SF Bay Area
The industry = Online Marketing
Years of experience = 3
I concluded with my analysis that asking for $5,000 more was reasonable given the above factors plus what value I’d add to the company.
The next day I was ready to make the call. I sat in an empty office at work, closed my eyes and meditated.
Phil, you are a fucking boss! You are worth $65,000 so make it happen. Don’t be a bitch.
I made the call. Here’s where Remit’s video helped a lot.
Me: Hi Dan. I first wanted to say thank you for the offer. I’m really excited to work with you and the team.
After learning more about the role, I definitely bring a lot of value to the table given my experience using Tableau. I’m already thinking of ideas on how to help you guys achieve your annual goals.
I did some research last night, and I believe I’m valued at a $65,000 base salary. Again, I’m really excited for this opportunity and I want to take on this role.
Dan: I’m glad to hear you’re excited about this role Phil. Can you tell me how you did your research to come up with $65?
Me: Sure thing Dan. Well, I used 3 different datasets from Payscale, Salary.com, and Glassdoor. I factored in industry, location, and years of experience. I also factored in the value I bring to the table given my experience with Tableau, and my experience here at Tech Company. I then aggregated all that data and believe my value to be at $65.
Dan: I see. Well Phil, we factored in your experience at Tech Company and you’re already at the higher end of the pay scale for your role here.
Me: I understand Dan. I still believe I’m valued at $65k. What I don’t want is to come in at $60, and six months down the line not be happy with my pay. I’d rather get this done now, so this won’t be an issue down the road and I can focus on helping you and the team hit your goals. Again, I really want to this job and to work at your company.
Dan: Alright Phil. Well, I need to talk to my manager about this. You’ll hear from me soon so hang tight.
Me: Okay. Thank you Dan.
Dan: Thanks Phil.
Whoo!!! My heart was beating so fast. My palms were sweaty. I did all this in a tiny, empty office at work. I was proud of myself.
In that moment, my balls were huge as fuck. I fought for myself in not settling for the first number.
I assigned a value to myself and over the course of the conversation, I didn’t let myself budge.
Then I remembered I didn’t have any other offers on the table.
Fuck Phil. You should’ve taken the $60k. You’re a fucking idiot. Fuck. I don’t want to come in to this hell hole another day. Fuck fuck fuck.
I called Hannalee and told her what happened. I was panicking.
Hannalee: He said you’re on the higher end of the pay scale? They always say that shit or our budget doesn’t allow that. Just wait until he calls you back. If it doesn’t work out, then there will be other offers Phil.
I continue working in misery and about an hour and a half later I get a call from Dan.
Dan: Hi Phil. Sorry about the long wait. I had to get a couple approvals for this. We are pleased to offer you a base salary of $62,000. I know it’s not the $65 you asked for, so I added 700 RSUs in your offer letter.
(The RSUs were valued at about $4,600 at the time.)
Me: Thank you Dan. I appreciate you taking the time to work with me on closing the gap. I know it wasn’t exactly easy for you to do that.
Since we’re not at the number I wanted to be at, if I were to excel in my performance, is there a time we can review what I’ve accomplished and discuss a salary increase?
Dan: Certainly Phil. Here, we have annual reviews every October, so that’d be the time to do that.
Me: Thank you. Well Dan, I’m happy to accept! I can’t wait to work with you guys.
Dan: Awesome Phil! We’re happy to have you on board. Awesome.
After I hung up, my muscles tensed and I looked up with my mouth open as if I were doing an animalistic roar in that tiny office. AHHHHHHHHHH!!!!
I didn’t hit the $65 target, but Dan closed the gap and the RSUs helped out further. It showed he was willing to work with me and how much they wanted me. This is why you don’t put too much emphasis on just the $ amount.
I was also really proud of myself. It was my first time negotiating a job offer and with no other offer on the table.
- Negotiating is meant to be conversational, not adversarial. Approach this way.
- Don’t be a bitch
- Say thank you and and let them know you really want the position.
- Research – Take a couple hours to find comparable rates in your location/industry. This way you have real data to back your claims of higher value.
- Reiterate you really want the position.
- Thank them again
- Pat yourself on the back for not being a bitch
*Sometimes they really can’t budge on the budget. You have to figure out for yourself if the offer is worth leaving on the table.