No BS quick guide to salary negotiation

As you might know, all of my interview coaching packages include free consultation on salary negotiation. Here is the top 5 salary negotiation tips:

(1) For most people, you should have at least one round of negotiation. HR will expect you to negotiate so your downside risk is very low if you do one quick round of negotiation. For experienced negotiators, you can target 2-3 rounds of negotiation. 

(2) Negotiate on multiple fronts simultaneously: sign-in bonus, base, equities, relocation package, vacation (yes, you can negotiate number of vacation days with smaller companies). If you are VP level or above, you should also include a severance package, a change of control provision, accelerate stock vesting in your negotiation.

(3) Most companies will ask you what your compensation expectation is. Please note they ask you what you expect, not what you are currently making. You should not tell them how much you are making. In fact many states have legislation that prohibits employers from asking about your current compensation. You should conduct your due diligence on your market rate. Most people should target 10% to 25% increase. If you are significantly under compensated, you can try to target 40% or higher. 

(4) You will be in a better negotiation position if you have multiple job offers. This is why I always encourage my clients to try to get  multiple offers. When you have back up options, your confidence level is much higher. Your risk tolerance is also higher. It will allow you to be much more aggressive and confident in negotiation.

(5) Be aware of timing. How is the economy doing? Will the employer be likely to have a hiring freeze soon? Does the employer have a strong backup candidate that can take your spot if you continue to negotiate? When will be the employer’s next earning call? In most cases, you have imperfect information about timing factors but you need to make your best possible judgment about timing factors. This is also an area a career/interview coach can be very valuable as they might have visibility into the employer.

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