DEV Community

loading...
Cover image for Salary Negotiation for People That Hate To Negotiate with Josh Puetz

Salary Negotiation for People That Hate To Negotiate with Josh Puetz

Josh Puetz on July 23, 2020

Josh Puetz is an engineer with over 20 years of experience making mistakes and telling stories about them. A veteran of several startups, heโ€™s ...
Collapse
digitaldimarie profile image
๐Ÿ’ŽDi Marie๐Ÿ’Ž

Yes-stock options are not salary, potential bonuses are not salary, a personal budget for career education or conferences is not salary and use of the office keg and bougie coffee is not salary. Get that money!

Collapse
stereoplegic profile image
Mike Bybee • Edited

Keg and coffee are just ways to keep you in the office longer, as are stocked breakrooms, catered lunches, pinball/pool/foosball tables and arcade games, etc. Always greet such "perks" with skepticism, especially if you see few people leaving for lunch (I've seen way too many instances where it was creepily noted and held against people who were subsequently deemed "not a team player").

Collapse
digitaldimarie profile image
๐Ÿ’ŽDi Marie๐Ÿ’Ž

100%! Mike, thanks for noting the โ€œnot a team playerโ€ part.

Thread Thread
stereoplegic profile image
Mike Bybee

FWIW any company that overly emphasizes that "team player" component is probably both dangerously overreaching into your personal life AND fostering a culture that encourages homogeny of thought (which is anathema to innovation).

Collapse
daveford profile image
Dave Ford

What are some good strategies to avoid giving the first number? Is there a good strategy to submit an online form where it will not accept a blank value for desired salary?

Collapse
joshpuetz profile image
Josh Puetz Author

Some great replies here, I also love the technique of entering $0 or $1 in the form. Another trick I've used is to try to edit the form by editing it in Chrome so I CAN submit it without giving a number ๐Ÿ˜ˆ

Collapse
rakaloo profile image
Rachael (she/her)

For a form, enter $0. It's usually a valid answer and no one will think that's what you actually make.

Collapse
rakaloo profile image
Rachael (she/her)

For responding to direct questions, I've had a fair amount of success turning the question back on the asker, e.g. "I'm negotiable as long as the salary is in line with my skills and experience, but do you have a range that you are working with?"

Collapse
hugoliconv profile image
Hugo • Edited

I have a strategy to avoid giving an expected salary but I don't know how to avoid the question of "How much do you currently make?" Does anyone has a strategy for this?

Collapse
fossheim profile image
Sarah

I'm in the same boat, especially since here anyone can look up anyone else's salary online. So it feels like it's also a bit pointless to give a vague number, avoid the question or lie. What I've previously done is saying something along the lines of "I make , but given my skills and the kind of work I'll be doing here I am expecting more." and also vaguely mention there's the chance I'll get a counter offer that's higher. Has worked for me so far.

Collapse
rakaloo profile image
Rachael (she/her)

I've had success by just being direct and saying "I don't see how my current salary is relevant to the job I am interviewing for" or "I don't feel comfortable answering that question".

Collapse
rakaloo profile image
Rachael (she/her)

That said, personally, I've gotten better offers when I have said the first number. However, it is more risky. You need to be sure of what comparable salaries are and shoot for the high end of what your skills and experience can get on the market. Your personal mileage may vary, but it's something to consider if you feel like you are being lowballed in general in your job search

Collapse
cnickels21 profile image
Chase Nickels

Great question, what are some strategies to respond to this question? And how to avoid online form application responses?

Collapse
edhenderson_22 profile image
Ed Henderson

"I'm sorry, my current contract with my employer prohibits me from disclosing that information."

Collapse
kelseyhuse30 profile image
Kelsey Huse

Excited for this talk! I really want a Beignet now after seeing the 1st slide.

Collapse
cnickels21 profile image
Chase Nickels

My classmate would make them all the time for us! I want!

Collapse
kbatuigas profile image
kbatuigas

Ok you got me looking up beignet recipes. ๐Ÿ™๐Ÿพ

Collapse
joshpuetz profile image
Josh Puetz Author

Right? Someday I'll go back!

Collapse
mumbledenoise profile image
mumbledenoise

When recruiters get pushy, I say, "If knowing my current salary is a requirement for this position, I'm no longer interested."

They always back down.

Collapse
digitaldimarie profile image
๐Ÿ’ŽDi Marie๐Ÿ’Ž

Thanks, good tip!

Collapse
bdunn313 profile image
Brad Dunn

If your counter offer is your minimum acceptable salary number, you could expect the company will come in lower than that as a final offer. I know you need to be ready to say 'No', but it seems like there might be other strategies that are helpful in this situation.

Any suggestions on this specific scenario?

Collapse
joshpuetz profile image
Josh Puetz Author

That's a really good point, thanks for the question!

So it's tough...in the scenario where you're countering your minimum acceptable salary, you're playing hardball: I need to get this number, or I won't come work for you. I didn't really explain this well in my talk, but you should communicate that in your counter. There's a different between telling the person you're negotiating with "I'd be more comfortable with " versus "I really can't accept any less than ".

The idea is that if a company isn't up to your minimum acceptable salary at first, you're already in a danger area.

Collapse
bdunn313 profile image
Brad Dunn

Thank you for the follow-up! This is kind of what I expected, but I appreciate you taking the time to answer my question and reinforcing this.

If i didn't say it already, FANTASTIC talk!

Collapse
rakaloo profile image
Rachael (she/her) • Edited

Always counter higher than your minimum by a healthly margin.

Collapse
bdunn313 profile image
Brad Dunn

I feel like this is good advice, but the speaker specifically said that if the calculation comes out smaller than your minimum acceptable salary, then you counter offer with the minimum acceptable salary.

I guess I wanted to understand that aspect of the talk

Thread Thread
rakaloo profile image
Rachael (she/her)

That's fair, and hopefully the speaker can weigh in with their perspective.

Personally, if their offer is that far below your minimum acceptable salary, either your expected salary numbers are not in line with the market or they are undervaluing your skills (probably the latter). If you really want that job, you can emphasize that your counter offer is a hard offer that you aren't willing to go below. You'd be surprised how many times they come up with more money. Another option, like Josh mentioned, is see if they can make up the salary deficit in other ways, like more vacation time or a higher education budget.

Thread Thread
bdunn313 profile image
Brad Dunn

I think that's fair insight, and I appreciate you weighing in as well! Great discussion!

Collapse
vaidehijoshi profile image
Vaidehi Joshi • Edited

Josh, this talk was great! If you're comfortable sharing, I'd love to know what your worst negotiation horror story is! Did you ever experience a negotiation with a company where you did something you regret or would have done something differently? I think these things are so rarely talked about, and I really like the idea of normalizing these conversations; thanks for doing this with your talk! :)

Collapse
joshpuetz profile image
Josh Puetz Author

Great question! I think my "horror" story (and it's really not all that bad) was once I was made an offer right at the end of an interview in person! I was so surprised and excited I said yes...without even confirming what the salary was ๐Ÿคฆ๐Ÿปโ€โ™‚๏ธ

Collapse
vaidehijoshi profile image
Vaidehi Joshi

๐Ÿ˜‚๐Ÿ˜‚๐Ÿ˜‚

Collapse
builtbybea profile image
Beatrice • Edited

should jr devs who are looking for their first job negotiate their salary?

Collapse
rakaloo profile image
Rachael (she/her)

100% yes

Collapse
joshpuetz profile image
Josh Puetz Author

Absolutely @bea !

Collapse
builtbybea profile image
Beatrice

thank you for replying. i have transferrable skills from non-technical roles and i also have a masters but no prior experience in the technology industry. would you advice leaning upon my past non-technical skills to negotiate?

Thread Thread
joshpuetz profile image
Josh Puetz Author

Absolutely! You have skills that will be useful to your employer now, and everything you'll do in the future will also benefit them. Think of your negotiating base as all the future benefits you'll bring your employer!

Collapse
mumbledenoise profile image
mumbledenoise

Question: Hey Josh when applying for a job is it important for to keep on a new employer when there hasn't been any response for awhile.

Should I reach out to the employer to see if I am a candidate for the job or wait for them to reach out to me?

Collapse
joshpuetz profile image
Josh Puetz Author

I'm a big fan of following up with a company/recruiter if you haven't hear from them in a while after applying: "Hey, just checking in to see where you are in your hiring process.."

Collapse
anabella profile image
anabella

Hey @joshpuetz ! Amazing talk, loved the examples and the different forking alternatives of what could happen :D

I wanted know if you have any advice for negotiating salary raises within the same companie. That's often a tough one, and usually it seems not the best, but the only way to get a real raise is joining a new company.

Thanks again!

Collapse
joshpuetz profile image
Josh Puetz Author

Great question @anabella : it's really tough negotiating a raise because unlike negotiating a new job offer, I'm going to assume you don't want to walk away from the job!

I don't honestly have a lot of experience with this, so I'll point you to Josh Doody's excellent resources: fearlesssalarynegotiation.com/book...

Collapse
thecodepixi profile image
Emily A. Pixi

How would you suggest determining how much they need you, when you're really not sure?

Collapse
rakaloo profile image
Rachael (she/her)

If they're offering you a job, they're pretty interested. It's expensive to hire people, once they're making an offer, you have a good amount of leverage. I've gotten progressively more aggressive with negotiating over the years and, as long as you aren't a jerk, the worst that's going to happen is they'll say no to your counter offer. Try it out and just push yourself past your comfort level a little bit each time you have those conversations.

Collapse
thecodepixi profile image
Emily A. Pixi

That's a really good point, Rachel!

Collapse
bryantit profile image
Bryant Richards

For someone who is used to making $10 an hour, these numbers blow my mind.

Collapse
foureyedraven profile image
Theresa

I need this! I always believed in not giving the first number, but I was scared that would be rude. Glad to hear this!

Collapse
ben profile image
Ben Halpern

Gotta play the game

Collapse
mumbledenoise profile image
mumbledenoise

I once had a company give such a low offer, it'd have taken a 50% raise to meet my minimum number. They justified it with free lunch/dinner, free train tickets to work, and stock options.

Don't fall for this!

Collapse
joshpuetz profile image
Josh Puetz Author

For those that noted the slides to my talk were missing examples: thank you! Corrected link is in the post above, and here: drive.google.com/file/d/1k_rV-eDjw...

Collapse
esmeesamarripa profile image
Esmeralda Samarripa

This is great information! I have learned to speak up about salary in my current industry. I have not really changed companies for about 8 years but I have changed roles and have been able to receive a raise with proper negotiation each time. Great points!

Collapse
ben profile image
Ben Halpern

Josh dishing the goods

Collapse
andrewbrown profile image
Andrew Brown ๐Ÿ‡จ๐Ÿ‡ฆ

Never give the first number is the same kind of dogmatic business advice you hear to never apologize. I'm in Canada so its a very different business culture from the US. Negotiation in the form would be seen as haggling and there is a different way to go about up here.

Collapse
joshpuetz profile image
Josh Puetz Author

I'm really interested the @andrew : can you elaborate more? Is negotiating a starting salary not common in Canada?

Collapse
andrewbrown profile image
Andrew Brown ๐Ÿ‡จ๐Ÿ‡ฆ

I don't wish to offend you, so we'll leave it at that. ๐Ÿ™

Collapse
memitaru profile image
Ami Scott (they/them)

I'm looking for my first dev job and have never worked a job with salary or where negotiation is an option. Any advice for getting over the anxiety of attempting to negotiate for the first time?

Collapse
kelseyhuse30 profile image
Kelsey Huse

This is tough! Practicing with someone else has personally helped me.

Collapse
thecodepixi profile image
Emily A. Pixi

Love love love this talk and topic. Salary negotiation is one of the things I dread about the job search process, and that first "what's your desired salary" question makes me CRINGE

Collapse
elkhatibomar profile image
Omar

Very good topic indeed also due current corona virus.
A short story from some one based in same country as me posted in LinkedIn , He got contacted by an reputable in Lebanon (where I am from) it need to pay 200$ for entry level position , due Lebanon collapsing 1$ was 1500 now 10 000 . But the company has many branches across the world , so they are not affected due to this collapsing. So take care!

Collapse
katedam profile image
Kate Dameron

I'm curious about negotiating an offer for a promotion within the same company :-D

Collapse
vaidehijoshi profile image
Vaidehi Joshi

Oooooh, this is a great question ๐Ÿ˜‰ +1, would love to know if you have thoughts on this @joshpuetz !

Collapse
joshpuetz profile image
Josh Puetz Author

I don't have very much experience with this, so I'd defer to Josh Doody's excellent advice on the subject: fearlesssalarynegotiation.com/book...

Collapse
jwp profile image
John Peters • Edited

The best way to negotiate is when we don't need a job but are willing to take higher offers. It works like this, a recruiter contacts us with a job where our skills match (but we did not solicit the call). The first questions we ask are: 1) Is this remote? and 2) What is the salary? They'll tell you right away if its remote, but if you get into the Salary game simply ask for 2.5K-5K more and don't back off.

What does this do? It weeds out all non-serious offers.

There's only one way where it's better. A major Fortune 100 company recruiter calls because our resume has exactly what they want. In that case the salary dance starts because you really like that company (FANG)

If you don't have a job but are in the market follow this advice. The key point here is to interview as often as we can, work 8 to 9 hours a day in the search, and study, study, study! Don't ever give up!

Collapse
clmccork profile image
Crystal

These are wonderful strategies for something I know I struggle with. Thank you!!

Collapse
elleon003 profile image
elleon003

This was the best talk I've ever heard on this topic!

Collapse
joshpuetz profile image
Josh Puetz Author

Oh my gosh, thanks you so much @elleon003 !

Collapse
ereynolds123 profile image
ereynolds123

Can you send us these slides?

Collapse
peter profile image
Peter Kim Frank

You can find them here :)

drive.google.com/file/d/1zSMvjt3x3...

Collapse
patrickweaver profile image
Patrick Weaver

The example math from the talk is blank on these slides.

Thread Thread
peter profile image
Peter Kim Frank

We'll get these slides updated, and the entire talk will be added to this post soon.

Thanks for the heads up!

Collapse
coffeecraftcode profile image
Christina Gorton

I'm awful with negotiating so this is really helpful. Thanks for the great talk.

Collapse
tracycss profile image
Jane Tracy ๐Ÿ‘ฉ๐Ÿฝโ€๐Ÿ’ป

This is very helpful especially when i am getting ready to look for a job.

Collapse
molly profile image
Molly Struve (she/her)

Salary negotiating is important when getting a job AND when being offered a raise. Don't forget to negotiate when an employer gives you a raise as well.

Collapse
wiredferret profile image
Heidi Waterhouse

The more money they pay you, the more they respect your opinions. Negotiating for money is also negotiating for credibility.

Collapse
joshpuetz profile image
Josh Puetz Author

Preach on!

Collapse
mchadley_io profile image
Michael Hadley

Any tips/suggestions on negotiating when moving from hourly contract to full-time salary at a company? Can you even do this? I'm a technical support engineer at a distributed start-up

Collapse
nadawoud profile image
Nada

So how can we answer these questions without giving a number?

Collapse
wiredferret profile image
Heidi Waterhouse

Industry surveys for your role are a good place to start.

Collapse
kfairris profile image
Kenny Fairris

GREAT info Josh!

Collapse
mumbledenoise profile image
mumbledenoise

I once asked for $30k more than they offered. I didn't get it, but they didn't pull the offer.

I then took that offer to my current company, and got them to match!

Collapse
csims profile image
Courtney Sims

This was such useful information! As someone who's terrible at negotiation, thank you so much!

Collapse
hugoliconv profile image
Hugo

What if they are offering the same salary I current have but with better benefits?

Collapse
scooterphoenix profile image
Scooter Phoenix

This was a great talk. So many takeaways!

Collapse
ckn00b profile image
Christian

๐Ÿคฏ this is great help

Collapse
ranaemad profile image
Rana Emad

These are some golden strategies! Loving the detailed steps, they will definitely ease my suffering in future positions.

Collapse
lindakatcodes profile image
Linda Thompson

Also - great job!! Very personable, and easy to follow with great points and ideas! Will definitely be keeping this in mind when I get my next few interviews. :)

Collapse
aminarria profile image
Amin Arria

If pressured about giving the first number, how about giving an absurd high number?

Collapse
wiredferret profile image
Heidi Waterhouse

You might get rejected out of hand for being unreasonable, sadly.

Collapse
madza profile image
Madza

If they ask for a number first, just say: "How about small loan of 1M"?

Collapse
daniel13rady profile image
Daniel Brady

This talk is amazing. Thank you @joshpuetz

Collapse
yechielk profile image
Yechiel Kalmenson

This is amazing! I'm going to have to come back and rewatch this!

It's a must watch for anyone in the job hunt!

Collapse
ch3rr17 profile image
Cherr Batac

Thank you for the great points, Josh. What if they force you to decide about the offer during the call?

Collapse
figspville profile image
Salli Figler

What a great talk! You gave such great concrete ways to do salary negotiations. This will impress any HR recruiter!

Collapse
enigmaticsoulrg profile image
Virgo Clarity

Excellent, Excellent. I needed all this information. Thank you.

Collapse
wiredferret profile image
Heidi Waterhouse

Don't let them change your salary based on where you live! Your value you to the business is not based on your zip code.

Collapse
castelo_tweets profile image
Vitor Castelo

Great presentation Josh! Very useful. :D

Collapse
wiredferret profile image
Heidi Waterhouse

I start counteroffers like this "hmm. Is there any room for movement on that number?"

Collapse
teapuddles profile image
teapuddles

This was a super simple way to look at something that seemed so stressful. I'll def be looking back here as the offers come in! :D Thanks so much!

Collapse
lindakatcodes profile image
Linda Thompson

When calculating our multiplier, what do you do if the value is negative? If you want the job more than they want to hire you? Is it absolute value based, or does the order matter as much?

Collapse
anabella profile image
anabella

How do you calculate your years in the industry if you, like me, have many relevant years in it (as QA engineer for example) but right now you're doing a different kind of job (FE dev)?

Collapse
wiredferret profile image
Heidi Waterhouse

Talk about industry experience in total.

Collapse
edhenderson_22 profile image
Ed Henderson

Great slides Josh. How can I apply this to negotiating with my current employer? After say a year.

Collapse
copecoding profile image
N.Cope

This was a FANTASTIC talk! Thank you, Josh!

Collapse
ereynolds123 profile image
ereynolds123