Earn More with Secondary Offer Negotiations

interview tips Apr 14, 2022

You can discover endless amounts of data on how to negotiate a job offer the first time. But, what happens with the negotiation when the Recruiter comes back to you with new numbers? Today, we want to talk about these secondary negotiations with Big Tech companies like Google, Amazon, Meta and Apple. And, we’ll uncover the strategies you can utilize to maximize your offer. 

People often leave money on the table when negotiating. These follow-up strategies require very little time, but could potentially earn you thousands more.

Item #1—Have a Plan

This is the foundation for secondary negotiations. You have to go into the negotiation process with the mindset that you will be negotiating multiple times. When I negotiated my offer with Google, I already knew that I was going to say no to their first two offers. I stuck with this plan, even though they only ended up moving the numbers once. This approach benefitted me then and now I know a whole lot more to help my interview coaching clients through the same process and challenges.

Item #2—Script #1

Let’s imagine your Recruiter comes back with the first counteroffer. Here is what your exact response should be:

“Thank you so much. This offer is still below my expectations. I’d like to think about it and get back to you.” 

It is critical that this response is presented with a soft tone. Be appreciative and respectful throughout the negotiation stage. No matter what questions or comments the Recruiter throws back at you, just continue to say “thank you” and tell them you would like more time to think about it. Let them know you want to sleep on it, talk with your family first and/or analyze the data further before making your decision. 

Item #3—Analysis & Strategy

As you run the numbers, think about areas where there is still room for growth. Remember with these larger tech companies, the easiest item to negotiate is equity. There are a couple strategies you might employ at this point:

One Item—Try to focus on one key item (base, equity, sign-on, etc.). This will make it easier to renegotiate in the secondary offer conversations. It will remove some complexity for both the Recruiter and the compensation team. In addition, it will make you seem like you are easy to work with.

Meet Me in the Middle—This is also a very simplified approach. You can tell the Recruiter to meet you in the middle on one item such as equity or on the total compensation. It’s a very reasonable ask and can often lead to a higher offer than you expect.

Item #4—Script #2

We’re going to break this down into two parts. First, you call the Recruiter with your chosen strategy from Item #3. For example, you call them and say “If you could meet me in the middle on total compensation, I’d likely sign the offer.” Or, if you go with the one item approach you might say “If you could increase the equity by $120K, I’d highly consider the offer.”

Follow that up with your appreciative tone:

“Thank you, can you please take my expectations back to the compensation team?”

In the second call, the Recruiter comes back to us with what they present as the final offer. They will utilize strong language to let you know that the compensation team likely isn’t moving any more. Again, show graciousness and kindness with a careful response:

“Thank you so much. I’d like to think about it and get back to you.”

The goal is to show consistency in your responses and always build in a little bit of space, unless that secondary number blows away your expectations. Even then, take at least a brief pause before accepting.

Item #5—Strategy & Analysis #2

Almost everyone leaves money on the table at this point. Remember that best and final is not always best and final. In your analysis, you need to figure out where to push just a little bit more. At this point, we might only be talking about a small push, like $3K more on the base, or $25K more over four years in equity. Or, you may use this opportunity to ask for a higher sign-on bonus.

This may play out in two different ways. The Recruiter may push back and say it’s not enough to bother bringing to the compensation team. Or, they may say it’s such a small ask that they’ll go ahead with it to lock in the contract.

Item #6—Script #3

We’re down to the final stages now. Keep it simple.

“Thank you very much. If you can just get me to ‘X’ I’d be willing to sign the offer.”

(pause)

“Thank you. If you could please take my expectations back to the comp team, I would greatly appreciate it.” 

Item #7—Sign on Back into Equity

In the last conversation (once you get the true final offer), see if you have the option to put a sign on back into equity. Most Big Tech companies will consider doing this for you because it’s a lower risk for them. It spreads the money over a longer period of time and lowers the cash portion of your offer. It can be a very smart play for you that benefits you over time.

To check out my full video on this topic, watch below:

For more interview coaching resources, follow my YouTube channel, visit my blog or sign up on Practice Interviews.


Jeff H. Sipe

Jeff has interviewed over 1000 people in his career and previously spent five years working at Google headquarters in Silicon Valley. You likely found Jeff through YouTube and you will find the same level of dedication in his one on one practice interview sessions.

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