Negotiating Compensation For Senior Developers With Google & Salesforce
In early 2019, a senior technologist came to us with early stage offers from both Google and Salesforce. In his 30 year career, he had never really negotiated any of his job offers. This time, however, he wanted to do everything in his power to ensure his next move was thoroughly contemplated and negotiated.
Changing jobs would entail leaving a very secure position at Microsoft, where he had been happily working since a prior acqui-hire type transaction some years earlier. He was in excellent standing and had room for growth, but felt it was time for a change.
We began, as we always do, by helping our client prioritize his requirements and goals for this next position. We looked at more than 24 elements of compensation and determined that paid time off was very important to him. He was on the cusp of earning five weeks vacation at his current job and didn’t move backward on this front. He also really wanted to push on equity. This assessment gave us clarity on what needed to be addressed in the new offers that we were going to ask for from Google and Salesforce.
Next we evaluated his current offers against comparable offers and his current compensation levels. We discovered that there was a lot of room for improvement with salary, equity compensation and bonuses.
Our client wanted to conduct the negotiation with the hiring companies himself. We worked with him to craft a multi-stage negotiation strategy and provided on-the-fly advice throughout the process.
Together we developed a series of counter-offers that left nothing on the table. We also provided talking points and draft emails for him to send to his prospective employers. Every now and then he would refer to our insights and market data, which lent credibility to his asks and eliminated negotiation friction. (e.g. “My hopes are outlined below and are based on a combination of market data, my business advisor (who is quite well versed in this), my current comp and the other offer …”).
Because our client had competing offers, we leveraged them against each other to bring both in line. Where one was low in equity, the other was low in bonuses and PTO. Sharing select information with each company regarding the competing offer allowed us to improve both offers and give the client a better choice. Using this strategy, we were able to increase the base salary of one of the offers by 35% and increase the equity of the other offer by an equivalent percent.
Our negotiations netted a total compensation package that was improved by several hundred thousand dollars and included adequate paid time off, which was very important to the client.
As importantly, our client went through the process with a greater level of comfort and confidence. Ultimately, he felt he was able to choose from either of the offers, with the comfort and knowledge that he had landed the best possible deal with no stone unturned.
Case Study Q&A:
Why did you originally reach out to 10x ascend?
The initial offers I received from both companies were unsatisfying. Base and equity seemed low, and there were no signing bonuses in the initial offers. But in thinking about the process, I really had no idea how to respond to get the offers where they should be. Should I reveal the other offer? Should I sit and wait for new offers? Should I tell them what I thought I should get, but if I do that, am I leaving money on the table, or am I asking for way too much? How do I know when I have the best offer? All these questions and more kept nagging me. I was stressed out and feeling very unsure how to proceed. A mistake could literally cost me tens of thousands of dollars, if not more. I stumbled across 10x (on Hacker News), read their materials, and decided to contact 10x to see if they could help me.
What was your hope from 10x Ascend’s involvement in this process?
I had two expectations. The first was to get professional advice on the process including negotiating techniques and strategies, to obtain a satisfactory offer (e.g. feel like I got the best offer I could get). The second was to reduce my stress level.
Do you feel your offer was substantially improved by involving 10x Ascend in this process and if so, please provide some examples of how?
It’s hard to know for sure what would have happened if I did this all myself. One thing stands out. In the third round of discussions, Michael gave me a couple questions to ask the recruiter, one of which was, “Is this your best and final offer?”. Michael further advised what the recruiter’s responses might be and how to handle them. As it turns out, their offer wasn’t their best and final, and they came back with a 10% increase in equity.
Were there other benefits of involving 10x Ascend?
As I mentioned, reducing stress. It was really great feeling I had an experienced, professional resource to talk to about any concerns I had. We discussed negotiating things like extra vacation time, starting bonus, and other ideas. Michael took the time to go over every email from the recruiters and how to respond.
Would you hire 10x Ascend again for future negotiations?
Absolutely. I would also want 10x involved earlier to help prepare and even to handle the negotiation. It was a lot of work to be in the middle of two recruiters/employers who effectively were bidding with each other, and I still had my regular job responsibilities.
Would you recommend 10x Ascend to other colleagues and friends?
Absolutely, yes. If I need legal advice I’ll hire a lawyer. If I need medical advice I’ll see a doctor. Negotiating is the same, when I need a professional to help navigate employment negotiation, then I’ll call 10x. That’s my recommendation to others in a similar situation.
What is your impression of your new employer’s opinion of 10x Ascend in this process?
Frankly, I don’t know. My employer no doubt is happy that I accepted their offer.
Is there anything else you would like to add?
I’m grateful that 10x exists and that I found them.
Did you feel 10x had your best interests as their top priority throughout the process?
Absolutely. Michael frequently checked in to see how I was feeling, and offered advice throughout.