Knowledge is going to be the foundation of any offer process you go through. Even if you’re not sure you want to negotiate, you should find out all you can about your offers. The easiest way to do that, is to ask whoever presented the offer to you to walk you through the details. This will allow you to better understand why you were offered specific amounts, and see what value that company thinks you’re going to bring. It’s also your chance to identify areas where you think you’ve been undervalued or where additional compensation could be offered (i.e. a signing or relocation bonus). At this point, whether or not you decide to negotiate, you’ll at least have a better understanding of your offer.
If you do decide you want to negotiate, you’ll want to take these three tactics into consideration.
The need for information/knowledge. Throughout your process, you want to be getting, more than giving, information as much as possible. Companies will constantly be looking out for signals as to whether or not they think you will sign an offer. Oftentimes you’ll get questions about how much compensation you’re hoping for, or how many other companies you’re interviewing with, etc.
In these situations, it’s best to gently deflect, or to turn the question back to the company. For example, if a company were to ask you what salary you’re hoping for in your next role, you could reply that right now, you’re just focused on finding the best fit, and money will come after. If they persist, or you want to find out more, you could turn that question back on them, and ask them what the expected salary range would be for their role. As long as that range is acceptable to you, you can let them know that. This way you haven’t tied yourself down to a figure, but the company knows that you’d be willing to sign an offer for somewhere in their range.
You’ll always want to ask questions that give you the most leverage later on, while only revealing the least amount of information that still keeps the company engaged.
Maintain company engagement at all times. As long as the company isn’t a clearly bad fit, you want to hype up your excitement about them to keep them interested in you. It’s very easy to spot when someone is being disingenuous about their interest.
The best way to avoid this is to identify a few key things about the company or role that you actually do like, and then dial up your outward excitement for them. Perhaps it’s the industry the company works in, the work culture, a compelling engineering team or manager, growth potential... whatever connects to you. You’ll want to mention at least some of these things in each interaction you have during your interview process. That will reinforce the idea that you want to work for the company more than their average interviewee, which will make them think you are more likely to sign an offer.
This eventually plays into negotiations, because if you ask for increases to certain aspects of the offer, the company will be more likely to acquiesce if they think you really do want to work for them. Ironing out any issues in the offer will be seen as something in their best interest, as well as your own.
Stalling: This will come in handy when you’re juggling multiple interview processes or offers, or if you just need more time to fully consider a single offer. In any case, getting multiple offers is often a great thing, unless those offers are being received at very different times. That can result in having to leave one on the table without getting to properly consider it.
The best way to avoid this scenario, is to establish your own timeframe before receiving any offers, and try to work companies into it. Your timeline doesn’t have to be incredibly precise, but you want a general idea of when you want to complete each step of your interview processes, and try to line them all up close to each other. A straightforward way to do this is just to let companies know about your timeframe up front. That way, a company moving too quickly, or too slowly, can try to adjust to your needs.
If you’ve executed the second tactic well, companies will usually accommodate you. In cases where a company really wants to move at their own speed, more creative stalling method will come in handy. An easy way to do this, is to introduce more steps into the company’s process.
For example, asking for additional calls can elongate the process. Before scheduling an on-site, you could ask for an additional call with your would-be manager (or someone else you haven’t talked to yet) to get a better idea of how you might work with them. After an onsite, you could ask for a call with some potential coworkers you didn’t get to meet during the interview, or if the company has in-office operations, you could ask to come and tour the office/see how they function day-to-day. These kinds of stalling tactics make it appear that you are still very interested in the role, while giving you more time to align your other interview processes.
- Triplebyte's in-depth offer/negotiation guide goes into even more detail about the above information
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- This simple rubric may help you compare offers side-by-side