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I didn't negotiate but I made sure to ask for something I wanted before this discussion started.

There would be a couple schools of thought here:

  • Don't say a number until they do. This lets you act with more info about where their head is and don't undersell yourself.
  • Say a number early on and anchor the conversation.

My number was super sensible and probably even low—but it also wasn't WAY low or anything. I came up with a number I wanted and came out with it.

 

I always go for option #2. It’s done great things for my salary over time. You never know, they just might bite.

Oh and you should ask the interviewer “How many candidates have you looked at? How long has this position been vacant? Why is there a vacancy?” The answers to these questions can have a dramatic effect on what they are willing to pay.

Anchor the conversation with the value you add to the job. Minimize the conversation about the pay.

 

Curious to know how asking those questions to the interviewer helps you? For e.g if they say we interviewed 5 candidates before? What is the takeaway?

Also, personally I feel I wouldn't ask how many you have interviewed before? If you were the employer, would you be willing to answer those all 3 questions? :)

 

Don't say a number until they do. This lets you act with more info about where their head is and don't undersell yourself.

I've always been told to go for this but in reality I've never been able to push the conversation in that direction. It's always the same conversation. "What is your expected salary?"

Now, HR reps and Hiring Managers are going to be much more experienced at negotiating a salary than myself so instead of giving them the chance to find a low-ball figure or maybe a decent number but still on the lower end, I prefer to just give a range starting from my absolute lowest, add $10k to that number, then the "highest" in the range is usually another $20k. For example, in Central Florida the average salary for a Junior is about $62k so my walk-away number is $62k but I tell them somewhere between $72k - $92k.

 

I like that strategy. The one thing I would change is to focus on being an above average developer (which you probably are :)). Then, logically, your walk away price should be some number well above the average.

One thing I like about this approach is I notice the caliber of companies increases. The low-ballers and companies that hire based on the average salary are probably companies that you would not enjoy working at. However, the companies you would enjoy also tend to be the ones who don't use years of experience and salary.com as a crutch. They identify good potential and pay above average to hire and nurture those with potential.

NOTE: On the topic of politely not answering the salary question, google Chris Voss + Salary Negotiation.

Here's a great video interview with Chris Voss where he addresses the topic of the salary question:
youtu.be/7CP5T3v6ojA?t=429

"To answer that question blindly is a little bit like...asking a tailor, 'How much for a suit?'
You don't get mad at the tailor for asking you questions to try to clarify. If you are in an interview where you are not allowed to clarify, you are in the wrong job interview!"

 

The range strategy never worked for me: the interviewer always told me "Well, of course we are going to choose the lowest pay :)".

I'm a big fan of Patrick McKenzie, and he has great posts on this (the popular choice and my favorite) and he always suggests not proposing a value first. I should do that someday but still need more cold blood for that.

 

In general, no.

If it is your first job, go for one with good potential (commute/team/mgt/tech etc), put a few bucks away safely for a rainy day (this = choice) & look for better (if required). Losing that first one, being knocked back, losing your confidence, wasting time & energy is not worth it for a smallish amount. If you neg & they turn you down + you don't get the job you will always wonder.

Once there, sure, do something to stand out, renegotiate your terms, ask for equity, find alternative companies, try to get your name on patents, products etc. Take control/power to have control/power. Bad companies slow you, good ones push you.

You will feel like your boss is your friend & the company is family but this is rarely reality. Friends & family will be there when it all goes wrong, your closest colleague probably won't if it is actually damaging to the company. Those are the almost universal rules at crunch time.

en.wikipedia.org/wiki/High-Tech_Em...
fortune.com/2015/09/03/koh-anti-po...

Build side projects, grow your profile (almost everyone buys into followers count in career terms, follower engagement, independent thought are valued higher by the right people) to increase your earning. Build it independent of your company, make them dependent on it.

Leave at {approaching} the top. Burn bridges (feels good). Learn compounding interest, spend money on income generating appreciating assets. Diversify. Don't get fooled by trends (fiscal/biz or tech). Have rainy day fund (emergency fund) so you can risk more.

Work mostly on your own site/stuff if free not billionaire social media sites.

Rich people don't give you money easily, they take it. Be cold/firm when appropriate.
youtube.com/watch?v=mj5IV23g-fE

Look for the tech trends that are sensibly going mainstream, not the sheep-bleet hype monkeys to get in early on for the big winners. Watch out for lawfare trickery to get your $ (share class/captable stuff).

Most money issues are not actually on the "I need to earn more" side which I think matters a lot (power dynamic matters in all deals).

 

I disagree with the notion that you will get turned down if you negotiate. Maybe you didn't exactly mean it that way, but that's exactly what a lot of people think already.

Negotiation is just about finding out what works best for both parties. You can negotiate without being a jerk. Also, hiring managers should really be expecting it. You really don't need to be afraid of negotiating at least a little bit. Even a little negotiation can make a huge difference.

I like to keep in mind that this company generally wants to keep me for at least a few years. So I try to not think about what value I bring today, but what value will I bring in 3 years, and set us up so that I don't have to worry about being tempted to leave.

Something else: Let's say you find yourself in the unfortunate situation of being the first one to quote a number. In my experience, one of three things will happen. This has been true well after my first job.

  1. If they are interested in hiring you, they will come back with a counter offer. This will most likely be lower than what you asked for, but maybe exactly what you asked for. It will most likely not be more than what you asked for. :)

  2. They are not interested in hiring you, so they turn you down. It wouldn't be because of what you asked for.

If they want to hire you, they will make an offer. They are not going to just say, "Sorry, wrong number!"

Also, they know it's your first job. They don't really expect you to have an accurate understanding of what the market will pay you.

It's not about finding out some arbitrary number that you are worth based on experience and such. It's about finding out what works for the company, based on how much value they expect you to bring, PLUS what works for you. It's perfectly reasonable to negotiate. Just have a reason for why you are negotiating.

"Never Split the Difference" by Chris Voss is a great read on negotiating. Do yourself a favor and check it out:
amazon.com/Never-Split-Difference-...

 

This is a perfectly valid perspective & pretty much how you should negioiate almost all the time. If you can pull this off, do it. In fact, get Taylor right here to coach you.

I think in general you have so much going on as your first job that focus is on getting there, not sweating, making mistakes, tripping up, getting to the finish line. More factors just add pressure.

"Name three weaknesses"
"Err Err Err. Sorry, Ummm.. I am a bad negotiator"

"Name three strengths"
"Err Err Err. Sorry, Ummm.. I am good at deal making"

"What do you think you should get paid?"
"Ummm I think price-on-asking looks good".

It's basically that I am trying to say, more than "don't". If you can handle it, do it but if you are already overloaded take the L.

I agree with you on that. If it's your first job, and you're sure that thinking about negotiating is actually going to make you bad at the rest of the interview, then don't. :D

If that's the case, well in advance of the interview, I would just put some thought into what would make you happy to work there based on what you know about them already.

Also, it's all about your situation. Maybe you don't have a ton of options, and you are not likely to get another interview soon. To me, that means maybe I'd be happy to work there for peanuts.

To your point, I think, just like your first job is going to be a learning experience, so is are those first interviews. You are not going to do everything right. You likely have very little context to even understand what you are negotiating for.

I'd just encourage anybody to put some research into it beforehand. And then try to put it in the back of your mind until the time comes. At that time, if you are up to it, bring your mind back to your research and what you learned in the interview.

This is a better explanation than mine and is a good approach to follow. 👍 I would add, make sure you have multiple interviews lined up as it makes you more confident.

 

Yes, I did.

Negotiating was a part of the process I was not looking forward to. I'm not a negotiator by nature and probably would have gone along with any reasonable offer I got just so I wouldn't have to stir up any controversy.

The company made it "easy" for me though, they came with an offer that was so far below industry standard (and not much more than what I was making at my pre-developer job), that I really had no choice, it was either negotiate or reject the offer.

I countered with some figures I found for junior developer roles in our area and eventually they settled at the lower end of the range I gave them.

Half a year later I left for a company that offered me what was effectively an 80% raise.

 

I'm interested to know when you left for the company that offered you higher half a year later, did you tell them/were you asked about just "half a year experience" at your old company? And if you did/were, what did you tell them about why you made the decision?

 

I don't think this particular company asked me, but there were definitely others I interviewed with that asked.

It was a challenging question for me. There were plenty of valid reasons why I wanted to leave the first one (beyond just salary), the culture was pretty toxic, it involved a long commute, and we had to deal with unsupportive management that viewed the developer team as an expense rather than an asset.

On the other hand I didn't want to sound like I was a negative person who just complains all day, so answering why I was switching so soon was balancing act between sounding positive and giving enough context to let the interviewer know that when I found a company that supported me I would be more than happy to stay with them for the long-run.

Most of the time I tried to make the answer about the company I was interviewing with, what it was about them that attracted me to them, why I was excited to work there. In other words, to make it sound, not like I was running away from the old company, rather that I was running to join the new company.

 

I had the fortune of getting two offers around the same time. That made me a little more comfortable, and I negotiated a little. I wound up taking the one that paid more. But I definitely would have learned more at the other one (and the pay difference was not huge).

However, I don't regret it. I learned valuable lessons about what I do and do not want.

My advice: do negotiate. Have a picture in your head of what would have to be true about that company to make you happy to work there. Go into the interview and adjust that picture accordingly.

Don't worry yourself to death about whether you negotiated "enough" or "too much" (you didn't). Just try not to accept something that won't make you happy. Of course, some people may have to do that. But keep moving!

 

I didn't and I regret it.

I started with my current company about five years ago in a non-tech role, and I was mostly just so happy to get out of a bad job, work remotely, and be part of a company I really believed in. When I was promoted, I didn't negotiate either, which I also regret. Moving into my new position, I still retained some of my old duties that the previous person in my position wasn't responsible for, and I do wish I'd have demonstrated some of the added value I bring either in asking for a higher salary or more benefits, like an increased education budget.

 

Always negotiate. This is a business transaction. They want you as cheap as possible. If you are confident in your skills, show them that by doing research into what your job typically pays in your area and asking for a fair wage. If you allow them to get you cheap, you're showing them you don't have confidence or value your skills.

At the same time, don't be too pushy. Accept a compromise and make it clear you're willing to prove you're worth what you originally asked for and you're confident when they see that they will compensate you accordingly. Just make sure you back that up with your work.

 

Always negotiate. This is a business transaction. They want you as cheap as possible. If you are confident in your skills, show them that by doing research into what your job typically pays in your area and asking for a fair wage. If you allow them to get you cheap, you're showing them you don't have confidence or value your skills.

This is a healthy way of looking at it. Good point.

 

First things first, if anyone has not already read Patrick McKenzie's salary negotiation blog post (kalzumeus.com/2012/01/23/salary-ne...) I cannot recommend it enough. It's long but very, very worth the read.

I negotiated a signing bonus (none was offered initially), but ended up not trying to negotiate salary/equity. In hindsight really I could have tried to negotiate on one of those two fronts and I'm sure I could have gotten some movement, but I was generally happy with the offer.

My approach at the time was something like:

  • I had one verbal offer (no numbers) and one formal offer (with numbers) received.
  • I looked up average salary/comp for the rough level I'm at, both at FAANG and also within the company itself.
  • Based on the one offer I received and the research I conducted, I developed a higher number I would be happy to sign immediately for, spread roughly amongst comp types based on my preferences:
    • $1.0X salary
    • $0.6X equity (startup options w/ growth potential)
    • $0.25X signing bonus.
  • I made the company aware of my other offer and declined to state specific numbers (told them I had received an initially somewhat low offer and was in active discussions, so the number was fluid/not fixed, which was accurate. I think in hindsight I would avoid mentioning the other offer was on the low end and just say it was fluid)
  • The offer they made was:
    • $0.9X salary + $0.1X annual bonus
    • $1.25X equity
  • From there I negotiated a $0.15X signing bonus, so at the end of the day the total package was about 10% higher than my desired number, so I accepted. I do feel I should have at least asked about movement on salary/equity to see if there was more on the table, but overall I'm happy with it.
 

My first 'professional' development job was in mid-2009. The american great recession was in full swing. Coupled with a) I hated the job I was at, b) it was 'jr' level, and c) it had taken nearly 6 months of job searching to get the offer; no, I did not negotiate my first technical job salary.

 

I did. Or at least I think I did. First declined offer was from a company that offered me less than half of my proposed expectation.

Second and current company I work for won the negotiations before they even started talking. I still made the same demand for my salary but agreed on a mutual fee not far from it. For a first job, I had a challenge of not sounding ridiculous but also nmaking sure that I ask for what I believe I'm worth and sticking to it.

 

I didn’t, they offered a full time contract for 2 years which is good for a guy just out of school. Pay wasn’t really great but I got to be an employee and not a contractor and that helped me a lot to get my mortgage so I didn’t mind

 

My first job out of college asked me what I was looking for in regards to compensation, and I said a number lower than what a lot of other similar entry-level jobs were paying. Why? I don't know, I wasn't having a lot of luck at other companies, and just wanted a job. But boy, I look back, and that was a mistake.

 

I did not. Being shy and an introvert, I was happy with whatever I got paid. Since it was an increase from making nothing.

Also, I would say that with the first job,

  • Its difficult to level set one's self as it's tough to get a frame of reference.
  • We are not taught about money/negotiation in school or college.

Have now worked for a few years now, I recommend first-time job applicants to always negotiate. There is no harm in trying.

 

Not for internships but for my first full time job I did, but only because I was fortunate to be managing multiple offers at once. The first was higher than I was expecting so I didn't negotiate, the second was was much lower and I wasn't as interested so I didn't negotiate, and then the third I was most interested in so I negotiated to match the first offer. The third company didn't quite match the first but they did go half way so I accepted. Don't think this is too typical, mostly because the timing of offers rarely lines up.

 

Had one interview where the manager straight up asked what's the lowest salary I'd work for. I tried to avoid answering but he kept insisting so I said a number which I think is reasonable (amounts to $1,500/m).

I chose that number because it's a little bit more than what one course at my university cost, and I decided that's a good benchmark to measure first salaries by. The manager didn't see it that way and said that's the salary of someone who has 5 years of experience.

He also openly boasted about underpaying his best employees, because if they don't ask for a raise, why offer? 🤷🏽‍♀️

 

I did negotiate for my first developer role at a startup. I felt really nervous about it. They said they couldn’t budge on salary (in retrospect that wasn’t true) so I asked for more stock options, which they were happy to adjust. I ended up losing money on those stocks after the company was bought by Google, who paid out the stocks at a price less than I paid for them. So ultimately I guess I negotiated myself out of money, but it was a great learning experience.

I do think it’s smart to have a rule of always making a counter-offer even if you feel like it doesn’t make sense to. I suggest developers choose their first job optimizing for learning opportunities if possible, but then still negotiate when you get an offer.

Here’s a little mind trick I play on myself to get me to remember to negotiate.

Me to myself: It’s an unwritten rule that the employer expects you to negotiate. They have a little bit more budget they’ve left out of your offer because they expect you to ask for it. If you don’t make a counter-offer, you’re not fulfilling their expectations and they will think you don’t value yourself enough.

It’s kind of twisted, but I’m a people-pleaser, so I have to convince myself that I need to make a counter-offer in order to fulfill their expectations. Otherwise I would never negotiate.

Also I try to be creative with what is open to negotiation. If they can’t offer a higher salary, maybe more stock options, vacation days, remote work flexibility, or a signing bonus? Often salary is less flexible, but accounting is complicated, and not everything that matters to you shows up on a company’s bottom line. Employers that are inflexible with salary can still be open to non-salary benefits.

 

Just graduated; Onto my first job; no. I had interned with my company last summer and had a blast, but I just felt like I was too new and not experienced enough to negotiate anything. I'm sure that will change down the line, but I also very happy with how much I'm making considering it is my first job

 

I was too nervous. Definitely hurt me as I later found out when I took my second job how badly underpaid I was.

 

I did not and I regretted it for a couple of years. It took me three years to catch up to where I should be.

 

No, I didn't have the opportunity. I got my first work in my friend's startup and my salary was around 150-250$/month because we not had enough money to increased our salary at that time.

 

No. My first position was with a public school district. You got what the job paid or you didn't get the job, there was not negotiating.

 
 

For my first technical job, it was surprisingly good pay especially as I was a junior dev at the time. A little around the 27 ph mark, which would be going up as I progressed through the company.

 

Yes, I negotiated jQuery for my first technical job.

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