Conquent: Without Limits
Conquent: Without Limits
Kristen Fife's Blog

Salary Negotiations

2016-07-19 18:15:06

I gave a presentation recently about salary negotiations for offers. I've expanded my slide deck to a blog posting.

What IS/not negotiable in a job offer?

Usually money and titles.
–It is a fallacy that “everything is negotiable”.
–The smaller the company the more items may be negotiable.
–Money isn’t just about your base salary –think in terms of total compensation: relocation, equity (stock/ESPP/401k match), sign-on, benefits, bonus potential, perks (flex time, WFH options, subsidized/employer paid lunch).

EVERY Job Has A Range
•Every position has a pre-set range for the base salary.
•Recruiters and hiring managers generally are required to stick to that range.
*You may be up-leveled based on your experience.
•Most companies prefer to mitigate a gap in compensation with either stock/equity or sign-on bonus.
•A recruiter will ask you what you are looking for/what you are currently making; this is to make sure that the company can “afford” you.
•You want to get as much money as you can in your base salary; bonuses are usually a percentage of your base.

Do your research
–Understand what your market value is in your field/job.
–Use tools such as
Payscale,, and
to build an idea of your market worth
–Develop a RANGE for your base salary ask
•Ask near the top of the range
•Be willing to negotiate down a bit
•Have a firm “bottom line” number
•REMEMBER TOTAL COMPENSATION IN YOUR STRATEGY. If you get an offer making $10K less than your current job but you get 4 weeks of paid time off (vs. 2 weeks), that is a significant and valuable trade off.

Generally less/not negotiable:
Vacation/time off
•If the company closes for a week towards the end of the year, make sure to ask if that is paid time off or requires you to use vacation/PTO.
The larger/more established the company, the more stringent their guidelines for time off will generally be.

*Unless there is a policy in place across the organization, remote working options are generally the purview of the hiring manager, not the recruiter

Building Relationships
•Almost any recruiter will ask you your salary requirements
•This is the time to set transparency in the relationship.
•It is OK to ask what the general range is for the role-make sure you listen and hear the ENTIRE range not just the top end.
•SHARE your expectations now. Trying to hold off until you are expecting an offer could cost you the opportunity to advance to the next stage of the process.

•Ask the fiscal year dates of an employer or check out their financials.
•Starting in the first 3-6 months may mean you are eligible for a bonus and raise. If you are starting in the latter half of the year, you will probably see a sign-on in lieu of a raise/bonus.

FT placement vs. contracting
•For a full time placement the agency is going to try and get you the MOST money (they are paid a commission based on your annual base salary)
•For a contract they are going to try and get the LEAST amount of money (the difference between what they bill the client and pay you on an hourly basis is their profit margin.)
•Contractors generally make more money, but with less stability

•If you decide to do independent consulting as a 1099 contractor, you need to understand the formula for charging for your work, covering expenses, and saving for taxes.
•Dan Flak has an
excellent grid
that shows you the basics of figuring out what you need to make as a 1099 consultant.

Brand Name Companies: The Myth of the "Hidden Job Market"

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