Help negotiating!

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Biotech3
Posts: 22
Joined: Wed Sep 14, 2016 4:10 pm

Help negotiating!

Post by Biotech3 » Wed Aug 08, 2018 10:27 pm

Want to get some help with an offer that is being put together for me. I am unhappy with my current career trajectory at my company and have been actively looking at smaller companies for about 4 months, with more opportunity. I have just received an offer with preliminary numbers from HR and he will send over a finalized offer by Friday. However, I was not as enthusiastic about the numbers, considering the increased commute but am very excited about the opportunity.

Current company: Large megacorp
Current salary: 105k
Target bonus: 12%, last year was 18k
RSU target: 11%, 10k last year
Commute: 20 min each way

Potential employer: smaller megacorp
New salary: 110k
Target bonus: 12%
RSU target: unknown
Sign on bonus: 10k
Commute: 50 min each way

With this, I have information that the salary range for this position is 90-140k, ((but that HR stated, when I had a phone screen that they were targeting around 110)) and that a friend that was hired at the same level received a 20k signing bonus. Additionally, when I was interviewing with HR, I saw the sign on bonus ranges for each level. For the level I was interviewing for, I thought that I saw the range as 20-50k, but was not 100% certain. Is this something I should bring up? I am okay with the salary but was expecting a much high sign on bonus.

What considerations should I throw out there in calculating what to counter with, knowing this information? I do know that this position has been open for a while and I do not think that there are any other candidates at the moment.

I have a pending response from a much smaller company that I have informed them of my offer (not numbers, just that I have one). I received very good feedback but will know more about that one by the end of the week.

Thanks in advance!

daveydoo
Posts: 1564
Joined: Sun May 15, 2016 1:53 am

Re: Help negotiating!

Post by daveydoo » Wed Aug 08, 2018 10:34 pm

Not sure whether your handle is informative or not in this context.

But just looking at nothing except the numbers in front of us, I would expect a much higher salary for the extra, extra commute. That's where the money is. Pushing for a higher signing bonus just telegraphs that you're not there for the long haul, imo. Another $10K in signing bonus? That's an extra $500 in annual salary in HR's eyes. Knowing nothing else, I would ask for $130K. I mean unless you really enjoy rush-hour driving.
"I mean, it's one banana, Michael...what could it cost? Ten dollars?"

tibbitts
Posts: 8006
Joined: Tue Feb 27, 2007 6:50 pm

Re: Help negotiating!

Post by tibbitts » Wed Aug 08, 2018 10:46 pm

daveydoo wrote:
Wed Aug 08, 2018 10:34 pm
Not sure whether your handle is informative or not in this context.

But just looking at nothing except the numbers in front of us, I would expect a much higher salary for the extra, extra commute. That's where the money is. Pushing for a higher signing bonus just telegraphs that you're not there for the long haul, imo. Another $10K in signing bonus? That's an extra $500 in annual salary in HR's eyes. Knowing nothing else, I would ask for $130K. I mean unless you really enjoy rush-hour driving.
The OP is free to move closer to work, but it's not reasonable to expect an employer to reward an employee for living farther from work - they'd have existing employees moving farther away and demanding a $20k raise. It would be reasonable to not take the job due to the extra commute not being worth it, but not reasonable to use distance as a justification for a higher salary, which is what it sounds like you're suggesting.

NoGambleNoFuture
Posts: 274
Joined: Tue Feb 02, 2016 8:17 pm

Re: Help negotiating!

Post by NoGambleNoFuture » Wed Aug 08, 2018 10:47 pm

All things equal I'd never consider anything less than 15% or so increase to change jobs... and significantly more with an impact to commute such as this.

Come up with a number you're willing to walk away from if not met. To me it's prob something like $120k base and maybe even more depending on your RSU grant... bonuses aren't guaranteed.

You should be able to get $120 base and $15 signing bonus no doubt

NoGambleNoFuture
Posts: 274
Joined: Tue Feb 02, 2016 8:17 pm

Re: Help negotiating!

Post by NoGambleNoFuture » Wed Aug 08, 2018 10:50 pm

tibbitts wrote:
Wed Aug 08, 2018 10:46 pm
daveydoo wrote:
Wed Aug 08, 2018 10:34 pm
Not sure whether your handle is informative or not in this context.

But just looking at nothing except the numbers in front of us, I would expect a much higher salary for the extra, extra commute. That's where the money is. Pushing for a higher signing bonus just telegraphs that you're not there for the long haul, imo. Another $10K in signing bonus? That's an extra $500 in annual salary in HR's eyes. Knowing nothing else, I would ask for $130K. I mean unless you really enjoy rush-hour driving.
The OP is free to move closer to work, but it's not reasonable to expect an employer to reward an employee for living farther from work - they'd have existing employees moving farther away and demanding a $20k raise. It would be reasonable to not take the job due to the extra commute not being worth it, but not reasonable to use distance as a justification for a higher salary, which is what it sounds like you're suggesting.
Agree in theory unless OP is special, being recruited, hard to fill role, high demand, etc... in which case it's totally reasonable for him to use impacted commute as a bargaining chip. However, as an employer id almost never be hiring someone committing to commute 50mins - no matter your thoughts that WILL one day get old.

If you're happy with the offer OP one thing you can work on up front is negotiating the work arrangement - say WFH every Friday or something like that.

daveydoo
Posts: 1564
Joined: Sun May 15, 2016 1:53 am

Re: Help negotiating!

Post by daveydoo » Wed Aug 08, 2018 10:51 pm

tibbitts wrote:
Wed Aug 08, 2018 10:46 pm
daveydoo wrote:
Wed Aug 08, 2018 10:34 pm
Not sure whether your handle is informative or not in this context.

But just looking at nothing except the numbers in front of us, I would expect a much higher salary for the extra, extra commute. That's where the money is. Pushing for a higher signing bonus just telegraphs that you're not there for the long haul, imo. Another $10K in signing bonus? That's an extra $500 in annual salary in HR's eyes. Knowing nothing else, I would ask for $130K. I mean unless you really enjoy rush-hour driving.
The OP is free to move closer to work, but it's not reasonable to expect an employer to reward an employee for living farther from work - they'd have existing employees moving farther away and demanding a $20k raise. It would be reasonable to not take the job due to the extra commute not being worth it, but not reasonable to use distance as a justification for a higher salary, which is what it sounds like you're suggesting.
No, he can use whatever justification he wants -- stated or unstated. It is up to the employer to decide what the employee is worth. This is not a solve-the-world's-problems issue -- it's a what-is-acceptable-for-me-to-put-up-with-the-lousy-commute issue. A lateral move with an extra hour a day commute is not cool, imo. Neither is ignoring the salary and focusing on the signing bonus. This is how people end up being surprised now much their colleagues are making a decade later. YMMV.
"I mean, it's one banana, Michael...what could it cost? Ten dollars?"

Beehave
Posts: 348
Joined: Mon Jun 19, 2017 12:46 pm

Re: Help negotiating!

Post by Beehave » Wed Aug 08, 2018 10:59 pm

There are lots of moving parts here so I can only make some very general observations, and they may not apply to your situation:

(1) The commute is a big delta - - an extra hour a day. If this is driving, that's an issue. If sitting on a public transportation, maybe you can read or listen to music you enjoy - - but there will almost certainly be added cost.

(2) The move looks like a lateral and for almost no increase (and maybe a one-shot jolt in the form of a signing bonus). Not sure I like that. You should be moving to expand the scope of your responsibility if you want your career to advance. You should be working on expanding responsibility in your current job so that your next job becomes a no-brainer for management in your own company or, if they don't have room for advancement, in a new company.

(3) Why has the new company been unable to fill the job position? Is there some red flag there?

I'm an old-timer who grew up in the world where the objective was to have a one-company or maybe two-company thirty-plus year career. Today, to get ahead, it seems usually to require moving from one company to another every few years. So things have changed and changing companies is now often advantageous. But for that to really work generally means making changes involving advancing in levels from "advisory xxx" to "senior xxx" or from "senior xxx" to "manager of a team of xxxs," etc. Laterals are not usually of much value - - it is generally far preferable to get an expansion of responsibility that is reflected in both compensation and title. I even wonder if lateral moves between companies actually may look bad on a resume.

This is very general advice. So it is offered in a friendly way for your general consideration, with full understanding that it may not apply to your specific circumstances. I wish you the best.

Thegame14
Posts: 267
Joined: Mon May 07, 2018 11:53 am

Re: Help negotiating!

Post by Thegame14 » Wed Aug 08, 2018 11:10 pm

you cant always control your hours, but a 30 minute commute each way is one hour per day more with your family, plus usually with a new job you are expected to "pay your dues" and work more overtime to "prove yourself" so I don't see any reason to take the new job, the money is the same or worse factoring that one hour per day plus increased gas costs, and unknown of new company culture, new boss could be a jerk....

Biotech3
Posts: 22
Joined: Wed Sep 14, 2016 4:10 pm

Re: Help negotiating!

Post by Biotech3 » Wed Aug 08, 2018 11:18 pm

Thanks for all the feedback!

For this role, I would be driving so I do agree that the commute is something that is a big deal. I think that there is the opportunity to WFH once a week.

This would not be a lateral move. I would be having much more responsibility and expanded scope of work and think that this is a great opportunity.

Regarding why they haven't filled this position, I think they are more looking for cultural fit and the distance also doesn't help.

I know that the offer is just a starting point and want to arm myself with as much negotiating power since this is probably the first time that I have negotiated my salary. All other positions up to this point were either a 20% increase or I was too naive to even think to negotiate.

I realize that the signing bonus isn't as big of a deal as the salary, but from the few cues that I've received from HR, this is much more negotiable than the salary. How much should I push?

Thegame14
Posts: 267
Joined: Mon May 07, 2018 11:53 am

Re: Help negotiating!

Post by Thegame14 » Wed Aug 08, 2018 11:21 pm

you don't get to be in the driver's seat too often with salary. Pretty much taking a new job is the only chance you get to negotiate an increase. With the added commute, I would shoot for the moon knowing you don't have to take the job. I wouldn't take the extra commute unless the increase in salary was someone going to more than offset the lost family time. IE much more than $10-20K, it would have to be more than enough to then afford you to pay for other things to add that time back and to increase your lifestyle. Meaning enough to make it worth the lost family time, plus you can pay someone to clean your house or mow your lawn to get that time back. Time is the most precious resource that we have...

daveydoo
Posts: 1564
Joined: Sun May 15, 2016 1:53 am

Re: Help negotiating!

Post by daveydoo » Wed Aug 08, 2018 11:54 pm

Biotech3 wrote:
Wed Aug 08, 2018 11:18 pm
...from the few cues that I've received from HR, this is much more negotiable than the salary. How much should I push?
How often do you think they say "Sky's the limit, baby!" What you are hearing is what every HR person has said from the beginning of time. This is what I have said to junior folks applying for positions, to temper expectations and for -- what do the psychologists call it? -- anchoring. You can see why it's called that. It is remarkably effective. Read "Thinking Fast and Slow" by Kahnemann -- the Nobel-winning Israeli economist/psychologist.

If you were asking for $200K, you'd run the risk of getting laughed out. As I and others have pointed out, expecting 10, 15, or 20% more than the first offer is just business. You might end up being more respected for pushing. I don't need a pushover working for me -- I want someone who will fight to get things done and fight for what's right.

And never mention your spouse or his/her needs or expectations in your negotiations. Ever.
"I mean, it's one banana, Michael...what could it cost? Ten dollars?"

KyleAAA
Posts: 6723
Joined: Wed Jul 01, 2009 5:35 pm
Contact:

Re: Help negotiating!

Post by KyleAAA » Wed Aug 08, 2018 11:57 pm

Get another offer and use it for leverage. Works almost every time. Without a competing offer you have minimal leverage unless you really nailed the interview.

tesuzuki2002
Posts: 523
Joined: Fri Dec 11, 2015 12:40 pm

Re: Help negotiating!

Post by tesuzuki2002 » Thu Aug 09, 2018 4:37 pm

Biotech3 wrote:
Wed Aug 08, 2018 10:27 pm
Want to get some help with an offer that is being put together for me. I am unhappy with my current career trajectory at my company and have been actively looking at smaller companies for about 4 months, with more opportunity. I have just received an offer with preliminary numbers from HR and he will send over a finalized offer by Friday. However, I was not as enthusiastic about the numbers, considering the increased commute but am very excited about the opportunity.

Current company: Large megacorp
Current salary: 105k
Target bonus: 12%, last year was 18k
RSU target: 11%, 10k last year
Commute: 20 min each way

Potential employer: smaller megacorp
New salary: 110k
Target bonus: 12%
RSU target: unknown
Sign on bonus: 10k
Commute: 50 min each way

With this, I have information that the salary range for this position is 90-140k, ((but that HR stated, when I had a phone screen that they were targeting around 110)) and that a friend that was hired at the same level received a 20k signing bonus. Additionally, when I was interviewing with HR, I saw the sign on bonus ranges for each level. For the level I was interviewing for, I thought that I saw the range as 20-50k, but was not 100% certain. Is this something I should bring up? I am okay with the salary but was expecting a much high sign on bonus.

What considerations should I throw out there in calculating what to counter with, knowing this information? I do know that this position has been open for a while and I do not think that there are any other candidates at the moment.

I have a pending response from a much smaller company that I have informed them of my offer (not numbers, just that I have one). I received very good feedback but will know more about that one by the end of the week.

Thanks in advance!
I could not do that commute for an extra $5K.... if that is all the money they can offer... ask for a company car.

investingdad
Posts: 1424
Joined: Fri Mar 15, 2013 10:41 pm

Re: Help negotiating!

Post by investingdad » Fri Aug 10, 2018 7:19 am

First, let's just run the numbers.

At 105k, you make $50.48 per hour. That's what your time is worth.

The new commute adds 1 hour per day.

That means, based on your hourly wage, driving another hour per day (which is part of the work package), costs you the equivalent of $13,125 of your own time.

That would be my minimum to consider the longer commute.

Having said that, have you driven 50 minute commutes before? I don't know where you are, but how does that change in heavy rain or snow? Is it highway and subject to heavy traffic?

I drove 55 minutes one way in heavy traffic for a decade and that was soul crushing. I've been driving 35 minutes through peaceful countryside for the last 12 years and I actually enjoy it.

Think carefully here.

Biotech3
Posts: 22
Joined: Wed Sep 14, 2016 4:10 pm

Re: Help negotiating!

Post by Biotech3 » Fri Aug 10, 2018 11:12 am

I asked for 120k and 30k bonus via email and explained the commute addition as well as the other benefits/unvested stock/bonus that I am missing out on. Waiting to hear their response, fingers crossed.

This will be highway driving, about 35 miles so not too much dense traffic.

investingdad
Posts: 1424
Joined: Fri Mar 15, 2013 10:41 pm

Re: Help negotiating!

Post by investingdad » Fri Aug 10, 2018 11:56 am

So I'm not sure I would have mentioned the commute in your reply. While it's a big factor for me, I recognize that it's not the problem of the employer. Two equal candidates...one won't get more for the longer drive.

Instead, I'd simply negotiate knowing I'd need to factor in the commute cost.

Of course, if they're trying to lure you in that's different.

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