Negotiating with HSBC on Behalf of Two Senior Cyber Security Specialists

We were approached by two senior cyber security technologists (one was working with DARPA and the other with the FBI) who were being recruited together by a major international bank to build teams with highly specialized expertise. The opportunity involved relocating both candidates and their families from the US to the UK. Despite months of conversations and serious interest by all parties, the bank hadn’t made an offer.

 

The candidates wanted advice and help to reach terms that were reasonable for relocation to another country. They also wanted to alleviate the strain of the negotiation–it was taking a lot of personal time and energy.

Approach

Our first step was to provide the candidates with messaging designed to prompt the bank to make a concrete offer. Within two days, the bank delivered. But its initial terms were generic and underwhelming. They were based on the bank’s evaluation of market value rather than the candidates’ true worth in the open market. Furthermore, the initial offer did not address many of the candidates’ relocation concerns.  

 

In an effort to help align the bank with the candidates, we conducted an assessment of each candidate’s needs, goals and priorities and then aggregated both proprietary and third party data to determine market comparables.

 

We evaluated the initial offer versus comps to identify both missing and under-represented components. One of the biggest misalignments was around relocation. The move from the US to the UK would be a significant sacrifice for the candidates and their families. This was a leverage point as making this kind of move, carried great risk for them as did leaving very secure jobs.

Relocation allowance

Relocation trips to the new city for each candidate and their families

School search assistance (education consultancy per dependant)

Support for private school, considering differences between US & European school systems

Temporary rent support

Tax education and adjustments

All of the normal elements of an offer (Salary, Vacation, Title, Bonus, etc)

STRATEGY

Upon completion of the assessment process, we worked closely with the candidates to develop and deploy a multi-stage negotiating strategy that included pivots and iterations as the bank responded and new data emerged. Over the course of the negotiation, we served in both an advisory and hands-on negotiating role. Initially we wrote emails and provided talking points for the candidates to present to the bank. Later in the process, the candidates asked us to negotiate on their behalf directly with HR.

RESULT

Because of our efforts, both candidates received substantial improvements to their offers. The relocation packages we negotiated included a variety of things the candidates didn’t even know to ask for, including schooling support for their children, an easier moving process, more frequent trips back to the US, and confirmation about the internal budget they would need to be effective in their jobs. Three weeks after we got involved, both candidates had negotiated offers that they were excited about and enabled them to move comfortably, and to provide a smooth transition for their families.

 

Our compensation benchmarking gave the candidates data that helped them to not only demonstrate their own worth, but to build the teams they were hired to create. It showed the bank’s current salary ranges was not competitive and prompted a reassessment that led to a significant increase for their manager, who had been undervalued. It is always nice to start a new position when your negotiations also resulted in your supervisor getting a raise.

 

As a final point of interest, the hiring manager from the HR department told the new hires that he appreciated having us involved because we were able to effectively justify why the requested compensation package was appropriate and warranted. The hiring manager went on to say that having 10x AOD involved actually made his job easier!

Case Study Q&A:

Why did you originally reach out to 10x Ascend?

The bank was aggressive in their interest in hiring us. However, the process was becoming cyclical and we could not come to terms. I also desired assistance from a third party to ensure we were receiving what was needed and reasonable for a relocation to another country.

What was your hope from 10x Ascend’s involvement in this process?

I wanted to receive advice in how to reach the most agreeable terms for both parties and alleviate the strain the negotiation was having on my personal time.

Do you feel your offer was substantially improved by involving 10x Ascend in this process and if so, please provide some examples of how?

The offer was substantially improved. That is an easy statement. However, the most important aspect was that 10x ensured that my family was supported. Through 10x, we received schooling support, an easier moving process with longer transition periods, and my pregnant wife received extra accommodations with traveling.  

Were there other benefits of involving 10x Ascend?

The new positions require that we build substantial teams with expertise in highly sought after disciplines. 10x helped us show the value of the team members we wished to bring on and that the current salary ranges for them was not competitive. Furthermore, this reassessment of the market also emphasized to the bank that our upcoming supervisor’s package was in much need of a significant increase as well. It is always nice to start a new position when your negotiations also resulted in your supervisor getting a raise.  

Would you hire 10x Ascend again for future negotiations?

Absolutely. The time saving and stress reduction factors alone made this a wonderful experience.  

Would you recommend 10x Ascend to other colleagues and friends?

I have recommended 10x to friends and colleagues already. I strongly believe this is the only way to go if you are thinking of transitioning to a new sector or culture.  

What is your impression of your new employer’s opinion of 10x Ascend in this process?

They were favorable. The HR recruiter even mentioned how pleasant it was to work with 10x as it made their lives easier.

Is there anything else you would like to add?

10x provided me and my colleague comfort throughout the process of negotiating a complex package within a new business sector and country. This was a challenging deal, and it would not have been successful without 10x. In terms of direct value, 10x helped increase our compensation package substantially while ensuring my family was supported. This was not trivial, and the time 10x saved us was immense.

Did you feel 10x had your best interests as their top priority throughout the process?

10x took a holistic perspective on the relationship with us. They never pushed us to sign or agree to anything that was not in our interest. It was like having a good friend in your corner that only wanted what was best for you.

Ready to negotiate the best compensation package possible?