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Tech company job offer

MeerkatMeerkat Registered User regular
Hey guys,

So this isn't set in stone yet, but I got an interview with a dream company and things seem to be really promising, the thing is this would be the first actual tech company I would be working at and up until now I've only worked either gigs/odd jobs/freelance. They also sent me an email asking me a few things, and I want to make sure I don't do anything wrong. One thing they are asking for is what my preferred salary would be, and honestly for that I looked into glassdoor and have a good idea of what the salary is, it's a lot more than I make now so I was going to just give them the number I saw there.

One thing they are asking about also is bonus and equity, which I have zero clue about, can I just say whatever is standard? Does that come off wrong or is there a way I can look into that.

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  • [Michael][Michael] Registered User regular
    There was a little discussion in the programming thread a while back with some links with resources for this situation: https://forums.penny-arcade.com/discussion/comment/37301979/#Comment_37301979

    First job is tough to decide on how to negotiate, since you may feel like you're just lucky to find a job. I didn't negotiate at all my first job, but in retrospect, I probably should have at least a little.

    The TLDR version is don't give them a preferred salary.

    Heir
  • MeerkatMeerkat Registered User regular
    When you say don’t give them a preferred salary, does that mean don’t give them a low number they would be happy with? I’m totally in the boat of feeling lucky I even got the offer.

    I just prefer giving the impression that I did my research, and am asking for something reasonable. They didn’t ask me what I am already making. Thank you so much for that link though, I’ll look into that thread.

  • CelestialBadgerCelestialBadger Registered User regular
    I’ve never managed to dodge giving a preferred salary. It’s such an annoying question. Either you price yourself too high or undercut yourself. I guess from their point of view they know their budget and they don’t want to waste time interviewing someone who wants twice that.

    kime
  • zepherinzepherin Registered User regular
    It's a mix. I know hiring managers who get annoyed at candidates who don't follow simple instructions. Others don't mind. Glassdoor and indeed are reasonably good, but it depends on what you are doing how much credible experience you have. If you do give them a preferred salary give them a range.

    The other end of the spectrum is a psychological technique known as anchoring. If know you what a positions pay range is because you've been doing it for ten years, you give a number on the top end, and let them tell you what the budget is. Then they are negotiating you down as opposed to you bringing them up.

  • kimekime Queen of Blades Registered User regular
    Assuming you don't desperately need the job, pick something high. Like, unlikely they'd go for, but within reason and something you'd be very pleased with. Then, phrase it like "This is a salary that I'd prefer, but it all depends on the total package. Other benefits, equity, bonuses, and just the overall fit of the team will all be taken into account." I like the idea of giving a range, too.

    Yeah, nowadays tech recruiters don't really let go without a preferred salary from my experience. In part because there's a big range, and they want to make sure this isn't a waste of everyone's time, and in part because I'm sure they're hoping to get lucky and have you lowball it :(

    Take this all with a grain of salt, though, I've never really been involved on the salary negotiation from the company's side.

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  • evilmrhenryevilmrhenry Registered User regular
    I'm not sure why they're asking for your opinion on bonuses and equity. That's usually not part of the negotiation. If they are offering you stock options in a private company, mentally set the value of those to 0. While you can get lucky, you probably won't. As for bonuses, that might be a signing bonus, which is usually to pay moving expenses, or a yearly bonus, which is like salary, but not as good.

    CelestialBadgerkimeElvenshaeThroHeirASimPersonMoridin889
  • CelestialBadgerCelestialBadger Registered User regular
    I don’t believe in stock or bonuses. Had plenty of companies boast about them, never recieved any. They are mythical like fairies.

    zepherinMoridin889
  • kimekime Queen of Blades Registered User regular
    edited February 3
    I'm not sure why they're asking for your opinion on bonuses and equity. That's usually not part of the negotiation. If they are offering you stock options in a private company, mentally set the value of those to 0. While you can get lucky, you probably won't. As for bonuses, that might be a signing bonus, which is usually to pay moving expenses, or a yearly bonus, which is like salary, but not as good.

    I've had questions in both directions on equity, I think because opinions can vary wildly. As in, some companies have said "some of your compensation will be in regular stock grants, are you OK with that?" and some companies have said "none of your compensation will be in stock grants, are you OK with that?"

    I agreed that bonuses deserve more poking as to the specifics of what's in writing/guaranteed and what's "expected" or whatnot if they are counting that as part of your compensation package.
    I don’t believe in stock or bonuses. Had plenty of companies boast about them, never recieved any. They are mythical like fairies.

    If it's in writing, it can be just fine. For example, at Amazon I was guaranteed stock and annual bonuses for my first few years there, with more stock grants scheduled regularly in the future. It was part of my contract, so of course I received them. Definitely don't trust verbal promises or anything.

    kime on
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  • Eat it You Nasty Pig.Eat it You Nasty Pig. tell homeland security 'we are the bomb'Registered User regular
    edited February 3
    Meerkat wrote: »
    When you say don’t give them a preferred salary, does that mean don’t give them a low number they would be happy with? I’m totally in the boat of feeling lucky I even got the offer.

    I just prefer giving the impression that I did my research, and am asking for something reasonable. They didn’t ask me what I am already making. Thank you so much for that link though, I’ll look into that thread.

    a pretty common axiom in salary negotiation is to never make the first offer; this is because 1) you run the risk of offering either too high (potentially appearing unreasonable and/or hurting hiring prospects) or too low (reducing compensation, leading to resentment later) and 2) their counter-offer will then certainly come in a bit lower, and you've essentially negotiated against yourself. Of course, this reasoning also applies to the person doing the hiring so they will generally try to get you to give an opening number.

    The company has some idea of what they want to pay you; if you responded to an ad that listed a range then you can just say you're comfortable negotiating within that and see what they come back with. If you haven't had the interview yet I also would be perfectly comfortable telling them you don't want to negotiate before then.

    If on the other hand you don't mind being lowballed at bit (which is a fair decision) you could just kick them the glassdoor average; they're certainly aware of it as well so it won't seem like some outlandish number

    Eat it You Nasty Pig. on
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    or do you believe?
  • OrcaOrca Registered User regular
    If you can get away with it, try to avoid giving a number first. This may or may not work: there are some HR systems you'll end up needing to enter your system into that demand a number and don't allow you to move past it; I'm not quite sure what to do there.

    But in general, he who names a number first, loses.

    evilthecat wrote: »
    "Bioware I want to suck on your teets of gamingness".

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    Elvenshae
  • OrcaOrca Registered User regular
    Not everything in the following list will be appropriate to your circumstances, but you may find following informative:

    * https://www.kalzumeus.com/2012/01/23/salary-negotiation/
    * https://fearlesssalarynegotiation.com/salary-negotiation-for-engineers-developers-and-designers/

    My experience has been that as a new grad, I had no agency unless I had another offer. And since it wasn't from a tier 1 company, I was barely able to move the needle.

    I've got experience now, and now I can meaningfully negotiate. The same limitation holds though: unless you have a better offer they're only willing to go so far. And sometimes even then...(one of the places I almost ended up at gave me an offer and then effectively refused to negotiate it--just moved around the buckets without changing the overall amount meaningfully. So it goes).

    I can say there is no standard for either bonus or equity. The place I was at previously had a bonus of like 3%, and no RSUs. We were granted options, which might have been good if the stock had been going up--but the stock wasn't going up so it was all so much smoke as far as income was concerned.

    Talking turkey:

    LevelsFYI.com is your friend, as is Glassdoor. You might consider Blind, but only if you are prepared to get jealous at what people claim to be getting in total compensation. I can say some of it is legit, but definitely don't trust everything...and don't expect that you'll be able to get the special treatment some of the folks claim to be getting. Consider it for an idea of what the top end might look like if you were to end up there and you were head-hunted or acquired by that company. On second thought, don't bother with Blind at all. There are too many caveats there and it's almost certainly not relevant to you.

    Levels is much more realistic in my experience.

    Amazon for example tops out at 150K/year salary, no yearly bonus, but your signing bonus is typically significant, as is the amount of equity you are granted. The equity is disbursed in a backloaded manner because they hope you will leave before it fully vests. And the numbers support that--most people don't end up getting the bulk of their stock.

    Microsoft doesn't have the same hard cap, but typically ends up with lower total compensation than Amazon unless Amazon is low-balling your level, which they like to do.

    evilthecat wrote: »
    "Bioware I want to suck on your teets of gamingness".

    The 2012 issue of Fornax. | Steam and Origin: Espressosaurus
    zepherin
  • MeerkatMeerkat Registered User regular
    Wow, this has been an amazing read and I thank you all for the generous help, I hope this thread can help others too. So I set up a schedule for an interview, and there was a few questions in the email such as wages and such, I sent a formal reply thanking them for the response and was excited to move forward, and if they preferred to discuss the bullet points in the interview or if they needed an email response for them. I imagine I'll get a response by tomorrow for that.
    It's a mix. I know hiring managers who get annoyed at candidates who don't follow simple instructions. Others don't mind. Glassdoor and indeed are reasonably good, but it depends on what you are doing how much credible experience you have. If you do give them a preferred salary give them a range.
    Assuming you don't desperately need the job, pick something high. Like, unlikely they'd go for, but within reason and something you'd be very pleased with. Then, phrase it like "This is a salary that I'd prefer, but it all depends on the total package. Other benefits, equity, bonuses, and just the overall fit of the team will all be taken into account." I like the idea of giving a range, too.

    If they press for numbers, I think I'll go ahead and give some sort of range like you guys mentioned. They also asked if I had any other pending offers, so the cards are not really in my favor in that regard. I just don't want to make a decision I'll kick myself for in a few years, but I have been looking into all the glassdoor info I can find, and the salaries I saw didn't vary too much from employee to employee who seemed to have reported and it was generally rising a little by each year. I just wanted to double check to see if asking for the entry glassdoor amounts would sound about right, again I still wouldn't know what to say for equity, so I'll give them a range if they push for it and let them hopefully give me some options.
    If on the other hand you don't mind being lowballed at bit (which is a fair decision) you could just kick them the glassdoor average; they're certainly aware of it as well so it won't seem like some outlandish number

    That's exactly what I was thinking, I have worked freelance for quite some while and with people they know, which is how this all started, but I really could use the office experience and the name will help a lot too I imagine. I'm honestly not worried about squeezing in a few extra grand or anything.

  • kimekime Queen of Blades Registered User regular
    At this stage, where you haven't interviewed yet, "Do you have any pending offers we should know about now?" is basically "We don't want to lose you, do we need to expedite the interview process to make sure we have an opportunity to give you an offer (if we want) before you just start accepting something from someone else?"

    Don't worry about that not giving you leverage. Just, like always, phrase it positively. "No, I'm still in the interviewing stage with other companies too." Some recruiters will ask what companies, but I've never had anyone actually press on that if you don't want to answer.

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  • OrcaOrca Registered User regular
    edited February 3
    Meerkat wrote: »
    If they press for numbers, I think I'll go ahead and give some sort of range like you guys mentioned. They also asked if I had any other pending offers, so the cards are not really in my favor in that regard. I just don't want to make a decision I'll kick myself for in a few years, but I have been looking into all the glassdoor info I can find, and the salaries I saw didn't vary too much from employee to employee who seemed to have reported and it was generally rising a little by each year. I just wanted to double check to see if asking for the entry glassdoor amounts would sound about right, again I still wouldn't know what to say for equity, so I'll give them a range if they push for it and let them hopefully give me some options.

    Having other options is the best way to negotiate. The phrase is "Best alternative to negotiated agreement" (BATNA). Whether that means you stay at your current job, go with a different option, or whatever. If they know you don't have any other options, they have the upper hand and it will limit your ability to negotiate. On the other hand, lying about it means they potentially call your bluff and then you're untrustworthy if you go back a second time, so think long and hard before lying instead of deflecting if you can think of a suitable deflection on the spot (heh. I can't.).

    For the future, assuming you decide to stay in the industry, it's extremely helpful if you can get multiple offers to land around the same time by scheduling all your interviews around the same time. Larger companies tend to take longer to make an offer in my experience; smaller ones tend to be more nimble. The flip side is you can use the interviews as practice, so you want to schedule the places you want to work at later than the ones you don't care about. There's a balance to be had there that you'll need to figure out.

    The ideal is to have at least one offer in hand when you start your negotiation--then your BATNA is simply taking the other offer if it's better, and they know it. This is part of why it's easier to get a job when you have a job--your BATNA then is you stick with your current job.

    When negotiating, try to push the base salary over everything else. The sign-on bonus is just that, and will go away (assuming you move on within the usual 2-4 years). Equity can grow or shrink with the economy and how well the company is doing, so de-rate that as well. If it's options, the stock may end up functionally worthless to you if the stock price drops below the purchase price. If it's RSUs, you'll at least be able to get something out of it when it vests. If the company isn't yet public, equity should be considered near worthless, or a lottery ticket--it may someday be worth a shitload of money, but chances are it will be worth the paper it's printed on.

    All IMO, YMMV, consult a doctor before taking, etc.

    Orca on
    evilthecat wrote: »
    "Bioware I want to suck on your teets of gamingness".

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  • OrcaOrca Registered User regular
    kime wrote: »
    At this stage, where you haven't interviewed yet, "Do you have any pending offers we should know about now?" is basically "We don't want to lose you, do we need to expedite the interview process to make sure we have an opportunity to give you an offer (if we want) before you just start accepting something from someone else?"

    Don't worry about that not giving you leverage. Just, like always, phrase it positively. "No, I'm still in the interviewing stage with other companies too." Some recruiters will ask what companies, but I've never had anyone actually press on that if you don't want to answer.

    Yes, this, and hopefully you are interviewing elsewhere. If nothing else it's good practice, and you may end up with a job that's better than the one you were lusting after.

    evilthecat wrote: »
    "Bioware I want to suck on your teets of gamingness".

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    kimeThro
  • schussschuss Registered User regular
    Also, I've found some success with "I look for interesting opportunities first, so if you can share some of the general range for this position it would help in determining if it's something I need to worry about"
    Half the time they just spit out bottom half of the range, which gives you what you need. For companies that have glass door ranges, try dividing the range in 4, then adding 1/4 to the bottom of the range and it will often be close.

    MsAnthropy
  • mtsmts Registered User regular
    you could probably say something like I was hoping for $XXXX based on x but I understand that there is going to be an amount you have available and that number is not a hard number. or something like that.

    camo_sig.png
  • khainkhain Registered User regular
    If the company is large then levels.fyi or Paysa are way better for compensation than Glassdoor.

  • amateurhouramateurhour One day I'll be professionalhour The woods somewhere in TennesseeRegistered User regular
    edited February 6
    Personally, if they're asking about bonus and equity, I'd say "my estimation for salary is X, but I'm willing to consider less depending on the equity available"

    OP I don't know how old you are, but there is ABSOLUTELY nothing wrong taking less (especially if less is going to be more than you make now) while also making sure you're getting a leg up on your retirement years.

    I'm 35 and have been in the tech industry both private and public sector since I was 22, so what I'm telling you is just based on my personal experiences.

    ...also I'm about to leave technology behind to go be a farmer, so take what I say with a grain of salt, but I am going to be a farmer with two nicely fed 401s / hybrid IRAs and a decent stock portfolio in case the corn doesn't grow.

    amateurhour on

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  • MeerkatMeerkat Registered User regular
    My initial interview is next week, I'll let you guys know how that goes, thank you for all the help! Another weird question I had, so I emailed back asking if they preferred to discuss the questions in the email during the introductory interview or if they wanted me to let them know by email, I never got a response back, should I double dip and just give them the answers? (they were asking if I had any other pending offers and what my preference was for salary along with a few other questions)

    Or should I just wait until interview.

    Drovek
  • kimekime Queen of Blades Registered User regular
    Meerkat wrote: »
    My initial interview is next week, I'll let you guys know how that goes, thank you for all the help! Another weird question I had, so I emailed back asking if they preferred to discuss the questions in the email during the introductory interview or if they wanted me to let them know by email, I never got a response back, should I double dip and just give them the answers? (they were asking if I had any other pending offers and what my preference was for salary along with a few other questions)

    Or should I just wait until interview.

    Just wait. If it's a tech interview, your interviewer almost certainly won't care. The recruiter/HR will follow up when they actually want the info. You've replied, so it's not like they are waiting on you.

    If this intro interview is with the recruiter/HR or otherwise not a technical interview, be ready for them to ask that, yeah. Generally that type of recruiter interview is very basic with those process-y questions and clarifying about some of the stuff on your resume (what programming languages have you used, what teams were you on, what are you looking for, what do you know about the company, etc.) Generally low-pressure stuff, but they do weed out some people if they just think they won't be a good fit (ie it's for a Machine Learning position and you actually don't have much Machine Learning experience or similar).

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  • schussschuss Registered User regular
    Also, general tip for if they use behavioral interviewing (you can usually Google):
    They'll ask something like "tell me about a challenge you worked through" and they're looking for 3 things:
    Situation: set the stage and context
    Action: what did you do and why
    Result: what were the results

    MeerkatMsAnthropy
  • OrcaOrca Registered User regular
    schuss wrote: »
    Also, general tip for if they use behavioral interviewing (you can usually Google):
    They'll ask something like "tell me about a challenge you worked through" and they're looking for 3 things:
    Situation: set the stage and context
    Action: what did you do and why
    Result: what were the results

    I've seen it as STAR: Situation, Task, Action, Result. Same thing though, and it's a very good way to relate your experiences.

    That reminds me. If you're interviewing at a large company, find out what their core values are. If the team you're interviewing with buys into the core values, it can be very beneficial to come up with a number--say 5 each--of times you have exhibited each of the core values. If the team doesn't care/doesn't buy into the core values or the company doesn't have core values (E.g. because it's small), then it doesn't matter. Your task, should you choose to accept it, will be to figure out what the team's core values are during the interview. And then come up with ways on the spot that you exemplify those values.

    evilthecat wrote: »
    "Bioware I want to suck on your teets of gamingness".

    The 2012 issue of Fornax. | Steam and Origin: Espressosaurus
    kimeDarkewolfeMeerkatMsAnthropy
  • MsAnthropyMsAnthropy Our Lady of Perpetual Mazes The CageRegistered User regular
    edited February 9
    A few other pieces of advice for when you eventually get to technical interviews:
    • Practice, practice, practice! Make sure that you really understand anything listed prominently on your resume.
    • If you are asked to work through a problem / code /etc, make sure you clearly explain your thinking and put things down in writing on a whiteboard (if available).
    • You won't know the answer to every question--when we interview we're often trying to find where the limits of everyone's knowledge is at, and everyone has limits.
    • Don't get flustered or downtrodden when you don't have an answer, try to work through it with the interviewer by asking questions and explaining your thought processes. If you get completely stuck, it's okay to admit you are not sure how to proceed. Keeping your confidence up through difficulties will help you get through the process successfully.
    • The questions you ask your interviewers are as important as the ones you answer. If your questions show that you have thought through the business, understand the culture, and care about things that are well aligned with those, then you will stand out from people with more generic queries.

    MsAnthropy on
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  • MeerkatMeerkat Registered User regular
    So the interview was not with HR, but was with the actual team. I was rapid fired A LOT of questions, most of them I answered as best as possible. There was a few questions I had to pass up on, 2 of which the moment I hung up it hit me right away and was aware of what he was actually asking, I just wasn't familiar with the terminology he used at that moment. I am hoping my other answers is enough evidence that those were actually things I could normally answer.

    Thanks again for all the help, I wish I was getting more interviews in general so I would have had more experience with answering. I want to say I was about 80-85% successful with my answers, and I also had a small list of questions I asked that opened up more conversations afterwards.

    kimeDrovekLaOsBouwsTElvenshaeEchozepherinspool32AridholSmrtnik
  • kimekime Queen of Blades Registered User regular
    Meerkat wrote: »
    So the interview was not with HR, but was with the actual team. I was rapid fired A LOT of questions, most of them I answered as best as possible. There was a few questions I had to pass up on, 2 of which the moment I hung up it hit me right away and was aware of what he was actually asking, I just wasn't familiar with the terminology he used at that moment. I am hoping my other answers is enough evidence that those were actually things I could normally answer.

    Thanks again for all the help, I wish I was getting more interviews in general so I would have had more experience with answering. I want to say I was about 80-85% successful with my answers, and I also had a small list of questions I asked that opened up more conversations afterwards.

    That sounds positive, congrats! Good luck on results!

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