Compensation negotiation FAQs

Learn about some of the key challenges you face while negotiating, and how to deal with them.

What is the best response to the hard-deadline for a response to an offer?

This is a tactic companies use to limit your ability to explore the market.  Think about it - very few companies have work so urgent it absolutely requires an employee start on a certain date. So, that means you should negotiate for an extension using data for your rationale, if possible, but also know if you'd be willing to walk away from the offer if they won't budge.  Most companies are reasonable if it's a relatively short extension.

So many people are worried that asking for more (whether it’s more time to think about an offer or more money) will result in an offer being pulled. It’s important to understand that the recruiter’s job is to hire you. If you’re confident, clear, and polite in the negotiation process, you’re helping them make a great argument to their team that you’re the right person for the job.

What are common questions that recruiters ask that may be at your disadvantage?  How do I counter that?

A very common question candidates get is "what's your number?"  Many recruiters aren't trying to limit your negotiating ability - they just don't want to spend time and effort with someone who expects their compensation to be 50% higher than what the role budget will allow. The best way to respond to this is to use market data for similar roles.  You can reply with something like "It looks like similar roles have a total comp range of X-Y - is the role we're discussing in that range?" That way you're sharing the current market situation, not your personal preferences, with the recruiter.

Obviously, there are fewer job openings out there due to COVID. Are companies paying less for the roles that they still have open?

While there has certainly been a drop in open positions, we haven’t seen a drop in what employers are offering. Most companies have a set budget for these positions, and reducing the number of new hires is part of an effort to maintain the same salary that they were offering before.

There are two factors contributing to this trend. Mainly, tech companies want to continue attracting talent. Competition between companies extends far beyond product offerings. Organizations are always competing for the absolute best talent and competitive compensation is the best way to do this. Another contributing factor has to do with equality within roles. Regardless of the circumstances, most companies try to avoid offering two employees with the same job significantly different compensation packages.