How not to bomb your offer negotiation

Haseeb Qureshi
Sep 2, 2016 · 27 min read
Holy backfire, Batman! This could be you if you don’t read this article. No pressure.

What Good Negotiators Sound Like

Slicing up the cake

Phone VS Email

“Hi recruiter, I hope your day is treating you well!

Re: your previous e-mail, I’d prefer to discuss the details of the offer over e-mail. I sometimes get nervous during important phone calls, so discussing the offer over e-mail helps me to keep a clear head and communicate more clearly. I hope this is okay with you. :)”

Having Alternatives

“I’ve received another offer from [OTHER CORP] that’s very compelling on salary, but I really love the mission of [YOUR COMPANY] and think that it would overall be a better fit for me.”

“I’m also considering going back to grad school and getting a Master’s degree in Postmodern Haberdashery. I’m excited about [YOUR COMPANY] though and would love to join the team, but the package has to make sense if I’m going to forego a life of ironic hatmaking.”

What a Job Negotiation Means to an Employer

How to Give the First Number

“I don’t have any particular numbers in mind. I’m more interested in learning whether this will be a good mutual fit. If it is, I’m open to exploring any offer so long as it’s competitive.”

“I completely hear you, and I agree it’s important that we’re on the same page. I really have no particular numbers in my head. It all depends on the fit and the composition of the offer. Once we decide we want to work together, I think that’s the best time to figure out a compensation package that makes sense.”

“Well, okay. I know that the average software engineer in Silicon Valley makes roughly 120K a year in salary. So I think that’s a good place to start.”

How to Ask for More

“The offer you guys extended was strong. Right now my decision is basically between you and [XYZ CORP]. It’s a genuinely difficult decision for me, but there are a couple of dimensions where if this offer improved, it would be much more compelling.”

Assert your Value

“Blah blah blah, I want X, Y, and Z.

I know that you guys are looking for someone to build out your Android team. I believe I bring a lot of experience leading a team of Android developers and I’m confident that I’ll be able to bring your mobile offerings up to parity with your competitors.

Let me know your thoughts.”

What to Ask For

A Brief Primer on Equity

Equity Shenanigans

Other things you can ask for

Negotiating Jiu Jitsu

The Path to Signing

Making the Final Decision

“If you can do X, I will sign.”

“Hi Joel, I’ve been thinking it over and it’s genuinely a really tough decision for me. I loved everyone at [COMPANY] but the one thing that makes it hard for me is the salary. As you know I’m trying to pay off my student loans so salary is really important to me right now. If you can improve the salary by 10K a year, then I’ll be totally ready to sign.”

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Haseeb Qureshi

Written by

Investor. Formerly Metastable, @Airbnb, @earndotcom. Instructor @BradfieldCS. Writer. Effective Altruist. Former poker pro. One always finds one's burden again.

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