Josh Doody, the author of Fearless Salary Negotiation, joins us today to discuss:
- What you need to look out for to stay ahead in the industry
- How to find leverage despite the information asymmetry between the employer and the job candidate
- Why questions on what your current salary is or what you'd like it to be boxes you out of opportunities
- The best way to put in the work towards a promotion.
- Tradeoffs of working for a startup versus a big tech company
- Equity in the salary negotiation, and how it weighs in.
- Fearless Salary Negotiation Coaching
- Fearless Salary Negotiation Book
- The Dreaded Salary Question
- Software Developers: How to get a Raise
- Salary Negotiation Guide
Joel Hooks: Hey Josh. You know I've just heard a lot of people are looking for job, right. That's just generally in software development. People are changing jobs, people are trying to get ahead or get that first job and you wrote a book called Fearless Salary Negotiation and we've talked about it a little bit. I think I was actually at the table maybe when you named the book in Vegas with Josh Kaufman.
Josh Doody: Yep I think you were there.
Joel Hooks: I just think like it's an amazing resource and I think salary negotiation is something that a lot of folks don't have any experience with, and I was wondering is that something that you may have noticed as well?
Josh Doody: Oh yeah. I don't know if I could put a number on it but I would say the vast majority of people have zero experience negotiating salaries, especially when it comes to like changing jobs. I think maybe slightly more people would have at some point maybe asked for a raise or kind of like hinted to their boss that they would like to be paid more, and I guess you could consider that sort of like a very light form of salary negotiation. But in terms of like I got a job offer and I'm not gonna just accept it or decline I'm gonna ask for more. I'm gonna negotiate it. Very, very few people have experience doing that.
Joel Hooks: So are jobs a gift to us from employers?
Josh Doody: I love the way that you just phrased that. No they're not. I often say that jobs are not like magical gifts that flutter down from the heavens to us gifted by the gods at the employment office. No, they're not. It's an exchange of value, right. It's an opportunity for a company who needs some kind of work done, which presumably will either now or in the future add value to their organization. It's an opportunity for them to find a person who has the expertise that they can use to do that valuable work, and so in exchange the worker gets a paycheck, but the company gets a skillset or some activity or work that's done that's valuable to them. So it's not just something that's given to you and that you should be thankful for and just accept. It's a value exchange. It's a business exchange of value.
Joel Hooks: I mean for me a lot of times I feel like maybe I've gone into the job search and I haven't done my research or I don't really know where I even start and a lot of times it feels like the employer has the upper hand in that they know what they're looking for, they've don't their research, they know the candidate that they're looking for and it seems like the information flow might be a little unidirectional in that regard. And I'm kinda wondering if I'm looking for a new job or I'm looking for my first job, where do I even start? How do you start looking at companies understanding this isn't a gift but how do I apply leverage on my side to get the job?
Josh Doody: Yeah, so there's a tremendous amount of... what you described I call information asymmetry, which is it's not a term that I created but I use it a lot to kind of describe that difference between the sheer amount of information, the volume of information that any given employer or even set of employers might have. So like an employer might be Google or like a set of an employers might be like tech companies. And they just have huge vast amounts of information about employment rates and what people are paid, and they get salary surveys from other companies that are firms that just kind of provide them with market data and as close to real time as possible information, and they know all that kind of stuff. And they have the advantage of knowing where are we deficient right now, in other words, what do we need more of, where are we trying to grow, what can't we do enough of and we need more help there or whatever.
So they know exactly sort of what they need and they know how badly they need it. So maybe they're just hiring some developers because they just need more people to write code or do testing or Q&A, or maybe they're trying to hire somebody who is a machine learning expert because they've decided that they're gonna dip their toe into the autonomous vehicle market or something like that, or drones and they need somebody whose an expert in machine learning so that they can build a best in class type products. So they know what they need, how badly they need it, what they're willing to pay for it and you as an employ really don't know anything other than those companies exist and may or may not have job requisitions posted on their site.
So I think there are a number of ways to sort of find good opportunities. I think the best way, and this is frankly this is the way that worked for me, anytime I had a day job this is how I found it and that's just through your network. And some people just heard me say that and kind of rolled their eyes and said, "I don't have a network", and other people thought, "Okay yeah but how's that work?" And it really works by asking people questions. Pinging somebody in a Slack channel and saying, "Hey do you know of anybody that's looking for a really great UX designer?" Or tweeting, posting on Facebook, chances are if you have even a little bit of expertise in something like software development, you know other people who have that expertise too, because it's virtually impossible to learn that skill in a totally silent vacuum. You've interacted with people on Stack Overflow or in communities or whatever.
So I think the network is the best place to go. And you can also kind of look for companies that you think you might like to work for based on reputation and just look at their open job reqs. And once you start kind of tumbling down that rabbit hole you'll see job descriptions that looks like something you might want to do, or opportunities that seem interesting, and you'll start noticing maybe common words and job titles and things like that. And maybe then you can kind of start doing a broader search for that job title on a site like Glassdoor or Paysa.com., and places like that. So those are the kind of two ways that I would do it is one just networking, ask people if they know of companies that are looking for people who do stuff like you do, or two maybe go to a couple of company sites that you're interesting in working for and check out their job reqs and see what jumps out at you and start kind of taking notes and looking for other companies with similar reqs that are open.
Joel Hooks: Yeah that networks huge and I think that's one of the... I mean you know like what do you call it like your personal brand or whatever. You're out there and you're sharing your knowledge and trying to interact with folks in like a genuine way, right. 'Cause I think personal brand can feel skeezy to some folks, but at the same time that's really what it is, is building a network and building people that know you so you can reach out and communicate and have kind of that asynchronous.
Josh Doody: Yeah. Reputation, professional friendships is a great term. I don't think I've actually really heard somebody say that before but I like it. Its not like building a brand like internet markety [inaudible 00:06:09] type stuff its like you ask somebody for help and they help you and then maybe they need help and you help them, or you just like to talk about what you're working on and share screenshots of stuff that you're doing, or code snippets or whatever. And those are the people that you interact with a lot and over time you'll start kind of attracting more of those people as you continue to help people out and be helped. And it's good to kind of keep in contact with them and eventually maybe talk to them about what job openings they're aware of, or is their company hiring and that kind of thing.
Joel Hooks: Yeah I mean there's definitely some level of marketing that you can apply. You don't have to if you're content with just kind of getting by and using your traditional resume and doing it that way, I think you can, but also like the marketing tactics and even some of those that you're talking about like internet marketing style tactics actually work in a professional capacity.
Josh Doody: Sure.
Joel Hooks: In my experience anyway.
Josh Doody: I think they do work. I think they're not necessary, but I do think they would help. If you feel pretty comfortable with your network and you want to level up then I do think blogging or just being active on some social networks or answering questions on Quora or Hacker News or something. Those kind of quote unquote marketing tactics can be another way to augment what you're already doing to kind of expand your network and maybe build a little bit of visibility out there. For sure.
Joel Hooks: And to me like the best marketing tactics have always been and always will be in the stuff that I apply. Just simply putting out good content that has value and helps people is amazing in terms of like growing your brand and growing your personal network. If you're just out there helping people and sharing your problems, sharing solutions, doing that sort of stuff you kind of explode just by the nature of it. Like if you're providing that level of value and just being helpful. That's what people want. Like that's what a lot of employers want, outside of specific skill sets. They want somebody that is part of the community or willing to get in there and help and grow as a larger group.
Josh Doody: Yeah I totally agree with everything that you just said. That's a great summary of quote unquote marketing tactics but for building your own personal brand and building your network and expanding your network. Maybe giving yourself an opportunity at future opportunities that you may not have seen if you hadn't been more visible and more helpful in public.
Joel Hooks: Yeah. You mentioned information being asynch where the employer tends to have more information. They try to even stack that in almost every job opportunity I've ever been in and you hear this all time. Like the first or maybe third question is, "So what's your salary now?" And they want to know that information and I know that you have an opinion on that and I wanted to hear your thoughts and let people know what you think about the sharing of your salary as a part of the salary negotiation process.
Josh Doody: Yeah I think to say I have an opinion on that might be the most hyperbolic sort of understatement that you could make. Weirdly I think it's probably the single topic that I have the most opinion on and the most dogmatic opinion on, and that I've probably written the most about and talked the most about. And the reason is if you share during is... first of all I'll back up one step which is you know kind of how sneaky this is, which is typically when you're asked for this information they will often ask you if you have not disclosed it. You'll be asked for this information before you get some sort of a formal offer to consider. But usually when they want to ask for salary history or even salary expectations if you go work for that firm it'll be super early and maybe even like in what some people call the screening or pre-screen call.
Where you'll just be talking to like somebody in HR who is looking at your resume and they're really just trying to figure out like is this person even kind of possibly a good fit for this role. Do I want to engage hiring managers and other people in this company to spend time interviewing this person or kind I just kind of screen them out right now and assess if they're not a good fit. From the candidate's mindset, what they're thinking is, "I need to get through this screening call, 'cause it's a screen. I need to get through it. And then I can start interviewing and really impress people." And so they're in a very compliant mindset where they're thinking, "I will just tell this HR recruiter person whatever they need to know so that I can get through this screening call and into actual interviews and maybe have a shot at this job."
And so in that context is when frequently the HR person or recruiter that you're talking to will ask you the question that you said, "What are you making right now? If you don't mind me asking. And if you come work for us what are you hoping to make?" And if you disclose that information early it causes a number of dominoes to start falling over but the big one is that you may have boxed yourself in to certain salary ranges that are really hard to negotiate out of later. But also by sharing current salary or salary expectations your potentially sort of preventing them from having an opportunity to learn about you because let's say that you say a number that's... this is what people like to say is, "Well what if I just say a huge number? I'll say a big number and that way I don't cost myself any money." You could disqualify yourself right if you say, "Well I was thinking like 200K" and they're like, "Oh shoot this is a 100K position. There's no way we can do that I guess we'll just find someone else."
Then maybe you miss an opportunity to interview in a case where they thought they were gonna spend 100K and then after five interviews and an onsite they might have thought, "We cannot let this person get away from us. We've got to find a way to bring him onboard. Maybe it's not 200K cash. It's equity or sign-on bonus or some kind of flexible work arrangement where they work three days a week or whatever." But you may have missed that opportunity. And then the last thing I'll say on that is the reason I don't like the current salary question because it's basically like, you know, where are you now and what can we do to move you laterally or close to it to get you to come over. And that's not where you want to be. That's not the mindset you want them to be in.
And then the salary expectations question, "What do you want to make?" Is similarly restricting because basically you don't know anything, because tying this back to information asymmetry, you don't know how much their budget is, you don't know what they're looking to hire for necessarily. There's a lot of stuff that you don't know. And so the way that I like to frame that question when I'm kind of trying to convince people not to share that information is, the company's basically saying to you, "We have a ton of information that you don't have. We know how badly we want to hire this person. We know what our budget is. We know how many people like that we're trying to hire. We know which part of the country this is gonna be and all this stuff but why don't you go ahead and just take a wild guess what we're willing to pay the person that we're gonna hire to do this job for our firm."
If you frame it that way then you think, "Well I don't know. I don't know. I'm not the company. I don't know what their budget is." And so you're basically just taking a guess at a number that if you guess wrong will probably cost you money on either side. So that's like the shortest amount of time I can jump on the soapbox but it is not wise to share your current salary. It's illegal to do that in some places now, but even if it's not illegal don't share that information. And then if they're asking you what your expectations are just say, "You know I really don't know. I don't have a number in mind right now. I'd like to think about the value that I can add to this firm and this team. I'm excited for this opportunity based on what I know about it. And I can't wait to learn more about it and continue talking to people in the interview process."
And just continue to move on and focus on impressing them in interviews so that whatever number they had in mind for a budget might increase as you continue to knock those interview questions out of the park.
Joel Hooks: So what's the pat answer that I should practice for my next job screening interview.
Josh Doody: Okay.
Joel Hooks: For the what you make now question.
Josh Doody: Yeah so it's usually a two parter. I'm gonna see if I can do this I don't have any notes up in front of me but I've said this a million times, so let's see if I get it right.
Joel Hooks: Alright.
Josh Doody: The two questions are: What's your current salary?, and what are your salary expectations if you come on board? They're usually asked either together or possibly independently. And the answer that I like to give is, "You know I'm really not comfortable sharing my current salary and what my employer pays people that do the kind of work that I do, and I'd rather focus on the value that I can add in this position. And I'm really looking forward to this move being a big step forward for me in terms of both responsibility and compensation and I can't wait to talk about the position and the opportunity that's ahead of me."
Joel Hooks: Yeah 'cause one I think you've mentioned like saying, "Oh well 200K." One like lying isn't a great way to start a relationship and that's really what you're doing at that point, which like for what it is it's also not honest, and like just being honest. No, I think the answer you gave is really an honest answer, like versus, "Well it's none of your business", which isn't great either. Like such a awkward question and they really do spring it to you at your most kind of vulnerable position in the entire thing and I'm sure it works really well. Because I feel like on the other end of the phone is somebody that does this for a living and negotiates salaries every single day.
Josh Doody: Yep.
Joel Hooks: And so we're at a disadvantage as employees and we come into that situation. You're dealing with somebody that's literally probably a professional negotiator on the other end, if you're at a bigger company, and that can change for smaller companies.
Josh Doody: Yeah and even scarier there is... I consider sort of quote unquote negotiation and salary negotiation to be two different things. Salary negotiation is sort of a very weird sort of subset of negotiation, because it's so boxed in, in terms of how it works and the process that everybody follows. And so you're not only talking to like a recruiter who might be a professional negotiator but they're a professional employee [inaudible 00:15:20] side salary negotiator. And you are a person who with any luck you've negotiated maybe three or four times for salary in your life.
Joel Hooks: Right.
Josh Doody: And they've done it probably literally three or four times that day. Right. And so if you're gonna go toe to toe with them and try and outsmart them by like you said, like lying about numbers, or guessing numbers and all that stuff like you're probably gonna lose if you want to play that game. You're playing against somebody who's just leaps and bounds ahead of youAlso,so one thing I want to grab onto for ten seconds is you mentioned like lying or bluffing. That is not at all apart of my strategy and I love the way that you framed it that it just isn't good to lie, to be dishonest, to start a relationship that way. If you get caught it's bad. If you don't get caught it's bad. And I just don't think that a productive relationship can begin with lying and I just don't think it's wise to lie.
There are too many above board ways that you can negotiate the fair value for your work that don't involve bluffing and lying. That's one thing I push real hard against with my clients and when I write is, there's no reason to lie about stuff. You can say things that are honest but also still productive and collaborative.
Joel Hooks: I feel like at the end of the day what you are entering into is a long-term collaboration with a company, and the negotiation is like the first step towards that collaboration. Like how do we work together? How do we solve problems? And this is a hard problem and a hard question that we have to come to grips with together to figure out what your compensation is, what value you can bring to the company and that sort of thing. Do you see that as the ultimate goal of negotiation process is to land someplace in a collaborative way?
Josh Doody: Yeah. Collaborate is the word that I use to describe my methods and my strategies. Everything that I do is collaborative. It's not deceptive, it's not aggressive necessarily, it's collaborative. The mental picture that I have of this is like... I think when people think of negotiating or salary negotiations they picture like you kick the door in at the HR persons office and you walk in there and you slam your fist on the desk and you say, "I demand more money and vacation time", or something. And that is not a productive way to negotiate a salary or most things, but it's also not collaborative.
And what I prefer is to say, "Listen, you need somebody to do this job. I'm somebody who can do that job. Let me describe to you how well I can do that job and how well I understand what your needs are. And then we can talk about what's the appropriate price for you to pay me to do that job. And we can collaborate to find something that we both feel is good. You feel it's a good wage for me and still allows your business to do whatever profitable or revenue generating activities it needs to do. And I feel comfortable providing that service under the parameters about even do I work remotely or in the office or where do I work and all those kinds of things. The kind of work that I do. I feel good about all that stuff for the price that you're paying. And now we've collaborated on this and now we finished that stage of the collaboration and we can actually start collaborating on doing the work that you're hiring me to do."
But I do think that it starts off as a collaboration and a business conversation. And that's the best way to begin that relationship.
Joel Hooks: Yeah I mean hopefully you're negotiating on your long-term relationship anyway. So if you start it any other way I think you're just kind of starting it on the foot, ultimately.
Josh Doody: Totally agree.
Joel Hooks: Even if you're not looking for a job I feel like there's some ways you can start thinking you know like maybe you even love your job but in the future you want to have that open in the idea that at some point I'm probably gonna change this and I'll need to negotiate my next job. So I was kind of thinking like in-between gigs or while I'm in a gig currently I should probably be thinking, "What's the future like?", and "What do I want to do?", and how do I enter my next salary negotiation?" Whether it's for a raise or whether it's for my next job. And just generally how do we prepare ourselves and think ahead.
Because I think the worst time to really need to get into this is when you absolutely need to get into this. Right, if I don't know anything about salary negotiation and I'm in the middle of a job hunt then I'm in kind of a sad and desperate situation maybe, versus if I'm planning ahead and kind of controlling my own destiny. Do you have any experience with that like in terms of advice for folks that are fine with their job now but know it's not gonna be the end job for them.
Josh Doody: Yeah I think there's sort of a proactive sort of pruning approach that I take to this sort of thing especially when I'm coaching folks on career moves and getting raises and things like that. And what I mean is like you want a focus in your negotiations but also sort of in your career progress. And what I mean by focus is, where is it that first of all I'm interested in going with my skill set and my career, and second of all, what's needed out there. This is something that I've noticed [inaudible 00:20:06] is really good at, which is what's a new technology and is it valuable and how might it help somebody on their next project. Of course there's a new framework, a new technology, every day but the question is which ones are gonna be kind of durable and which ones look like maybe they're the kind of thing that you could use at your current job or on a side project, or at the next job that you go to.
Maybe a big picture way of doing this would be to kind of keep an eye on the big tech companies if that's where you aspire to be. And say, "Well what are the frameworks are they using? What kind of work are they doing? How do they design software and am I comfortable with that design process?", and those sorts of things. And begin to learn how to do those things. You mentioned side projects. I mean that's a great way to do this, especially when you're talking about learning a new technology, whether it's software or anything else. Identifying those things. You'll notice I mean it's usually pretty easy I think to spot kind of the new hotness. It's a little bit harder I think to sort of filter out which things are maybe a flash in the pan and which ones are gonna be more durable, but I think that with a discerning eye you can say, "You know this looks like something I might want to learn."
And I think also if your internal at your company it's not just about technology, it's about what is it that makes your company tick, where is their focus. I think it's important to kind of keep an eye on conversations with your manager and what they're saying to you and what they seem to be indicating is maybe a new direction that the company might go, or way that it might expand. The more tactically you can look at... if you're a junior dev and you want to find your way to a senior dev position for example, that you look at the job description and the job req's in your company and say, "What's the difference between junior dev and senior dev at this company? What's the gap?" And say well, "There's these three skills. Maybe there's some leadership that they would like to see from senior dev's or proficiency and certain tools or methodologies", and that sort of thing. Outside of just sort of numbers of years experience and that sort of thing.
You can identify what those things are that the company that you're at now wants a senior dev to be doing and you can start looking for opportunities to flex those muscles. To kind of get better at those things by taking that leadership training or asking your manager if maybe you can run lead on a project or two, and that sort of thing. And so a lot of promotions in particular happen not because of the potential that the candidate has but because they were already basically doing the job that they are gonna be promoted to and it's time to just make that official.
I said a lot there but I think looking at the industry and figuring out like what are people using, what are the frameworks that they're using, of those things what am I interesting in and what do I think will be durable, and how can I find a way to get some reps with that maybe in a side project or something like that, or maybe like a side consulting engagement. And then internally just looking at the more senior positions or leadership positions that you might aspire to, and identifying what those require that your current role doesn't require, and start getting opportunities to actually do those things before you're promoted into that role so that you can eventually go to your manager and say, "Hey I've been looking at the senior deposition for awhile. I know that these three things are kind of unique to that position in terms of responsibilities and I'd like to start getting some experience with those responsibilities, so that I can get more experience and start leading toward that senior dep position eventually. Can you help me with that?" So that's how I would do it.
Joel Hooks: Yeah. It's interesting, I discovered this maybe just a few months ago and I'll post a link to this compilation of engineering ladders. So across the industry big companies and small companies publish what they refer to as an engineering ladder, which is the step by step sequence of seniority or job positions within the company and the detailed requirements for each position. Which I thought, well that's a really interesting way to look at it or think about where you want to be in the future. Because that's what you need to be working on now instead of you know you're in a job that's using some old technology, you're doing the same kind of thing all the time, you're not growing. It's really gonna be hard to take that next step up in your career.
And I think we as developers have to think about that consciously and work towards whatever the next one is, unless you're just content, and you're happy pulling the same lever for the next five years until the day comes where it's like, "Hey we're not doing that anymore. Your lever is gone. Best of luck and good luck in your future endeavors" kind of situation.
Josh Doody: Yeah if I can I'm gonna butcher this analogy and I don't know anything about hockey, but I think I don't know Gretzky or somebody [crosstalk 00:24:35].
Joel Hooks: The Gretzky quote?
Josh Doody: Yeah, "Skate to where the puck is going." Right.
Joel Hooks: Yeah for sure.
Josh Doody: Yeah. I think that's the way to do it. And that's how you get ahead right. Like if you're always chasing, there's somebody that's always gonna be a little bit more proactive than you are and you're gonna start having that feeling like, "Man I keep getting passed over for promotions." And it might be because you're just trying to become really good at what you actually do in your current job. You're trying to become proficient at a thing you're already paid to do. When the reality is you need to become proficient in the thing that you aspire to be paid to do. And it's a subtle difference but an important one, especially you know as a former manager I know you managed a team. Like that's what you're looking for is somebody who can come to you and say, "Hey I've already been doing this for a while. I don't know if you noticed but I have been. Here's the work that I've been doing. Any chance we could talk about making this official with a promotion?"
And then that's a really productive conversation that you can have with that person. As opposed to, "One day I'd like to be a senior developer. Can you promote me so I can show you what I'm made of?" And you're like, "Well it's kind of a big risk for me to take. Show me what you got."
Joel Hooks: It's like waiting for somebody to hold your hand too. That's you're ask at that point it's like, "Hey can you guide me into this?" And it's fine to come in and have mentors and have folks that are teaching you and pushing you forward. But at the same time I know that people in hiring positions are also looking for self-motivated individuals that do the thing on their own, not because somebody told them to or asked them to, or is guiding them in that direction. But because they're driven to and they must do that and they do the thing just because it's what needs to be done. That's another aspect of that I would think.
Josh Doody: Yeah for some reason I just flashed back. I quit my last day job a little over three years ago, but my favorite part of that job was I had led a team of three people and while I was managing them only for like 15 months all of them were promoted. And most of the reason they were promoted is I got really lucky and had a team of three people who were extremely proactive, and I just found that every time I turned around, and was asking for status reports and all this stuff, that they had done more than I thought they needed to do. And it was usually very productive. And I was like, "Man these people are really killing it and I want to make sure they get recognized for that." And so, we were able to get all three of them promoted independently. It wasn't some sort of a group effort or anything.
But it was because as a manager they'd made my life easier by finding things to do. And it was really refreshing that if we ever had hard conversations it was not like, "Hey why didn't you do this assignment well?", or "Why didn't you finish this work?" It was, "We've got this weird situation going on with a customer. Let's talk about the situation and see if we can resolve it together." And so we got to work almost exclusively on edge cases together, which for me was a good sign that they had the day job stuff just down pat. They were really good at it. And even better than they needed to be for their kind of junior level position.
So we would talk about a promotion. I would say, "Yeah you're helping make me a better manager and giving me the ability to manage upward and to do more work for the firm. And so I think you should be promoted because you're carrying more weight than we thought you would when we hired you." Managers like that. They want to look for people that are like, "Man this person is really just taking a lot of responsibility that I'm not asking them to do. I would like to recognize them for that."
Joel Hooks: Yeah. So getting back to salary negotiation when we're looking for jobs. I wanted to know if you have seen a difference in process or approach if somebody is looking through... going to Google and Facebook that's one thing, but then these days there's a lot of startups out there that are coming up. Maybe they have their round of funding, maybe they don't. And what's the big differences in terms of mindset going into a salary negotiation with a small startup type situation versus a big conglomerate type situation.
Josh Doody: Yeah. It is surprising how different they are. I'll start with the kind of big tech companies. They're kind of ironically quite a bit more straight forward and kind of easier to negotiate with. Because they know what they want, they know what their budget is, they know how badly they want to hire you, and they know where they're flexible. Back to our kind of how many reps is your recruiter getting, I mean at these firms they're just hiring so many candidates all the time that they have a playbook that they follow. Part of the playbook is if this person is really valuable, and they ask for a lot more than we offered them, we have a very specific approval process that we can induce.
They're pretty straight forward because it's important to know going in what your value is, but a lot of times the offer they give you you'll kind of look at and go, "Yeah that's a pretty good offer. Let's see how much better we can make it." And then you can start negotiating more salary or signing bonus, or equity. And of course the equity is nice because you can go look at you know finance and see what the current trading price is and get a sense of it, and maybe account for how much volatility you can take. But it's all pretty straight forward. It's not easy, but it's easy to navigate because you all are kind of on the same page in terms of what are we doing here, how do we think about money and value to the firm and growth.
Whereas the process for like an earlier stage startup who might have funding or even is just maybe billion dollar evaluation but pre-IPO [inaudible 00:29:54] is trickier because they say a lot of things and do a lot of things in the negotiation that make it hard to figure out like are they just trying to get a good deal here or are they really cash constrained. Right. So, "Well we can only pay you 120,000 because of reasons x, y, z. And we just raised funding and our burn rate is too high." It's hard to know how hard you can push. Also they'll offer you a lot of different kind of flavors of equity, which can be kind of hard to untangle. And that equity itself, even if you sort of understand what the structure is of the equity and how likely you are to get any value from it whatsoever, can be really challenging because they'll put evaluation on it and it's private. And so they're basically just guessing at how much it's worth. Maybe they're incorporating their last raise. And so it can be really challenging.
So I think my take aways from those two things are if you want to make good money in sort of a stable, predictable place, the big tech companies are the place to be right now in my opinion. If you want a shot at getting a ton of experience, wearing a lot of hats, working really hard and understanding how the sausage is made then working for like one of those earlier stage startups may be better. But the trade of there is that you may not make as much money. You may be really heavy on some equity that I usually will call Monopoly money, because you just don't know if it's ever going to be worth anything, or how long it'll take. So it's much more of sort of a gamble, but the gamble can pay off in terms of you can learn a lot.
You're getting thrown into the fire, so you can learn a lot really quickly working for pre-IPO or early stage startup where they need somebody to do a lot of things. And who knows you may stumble into like a completely different career direction that you didn't think. Maybe all of a sudden you realize that dev ops is you're thing and you wouldn't have gotten to do that at Google, because they don't hire generalists. Right. So those are kind of my thoughts. There's definitely a trade off there. They're different negotiating processes that you use. And I think it's important to know going in at one of these early stage startup, I'm probably not gonna make the kind of money that I would get if I went to Google or Facebook or Apple right now. And the reason I'm okay with that is I want this sort of experience or I like the lifestyle that startups offer. Some people just really like the grind. So I think you just need to go in with eyes wide open that there are trade offs there.
Joel Hooks: Yeah I mean at the end of the day, like in terms of compensation, is salary really the king? Like in your opinion of what you're negotiating on and ultimately what you're looking for is the salary that works for you.
Josh Doody: Yeah. Well are you. Let me get clarification on the question. Are you saying like within the negotiation itself is the salary the most valuable thing? Or are you saying, when you're negotiating, is the only thing that you care about salary, and you kind of discard other things?
Joel Hooks: I was thinking in terms of like the primary thing, like what you're going in there. I was also wondering, beyond salary what else are we negotiating for? But you know is salary ultimately what's going to be the most significant over time for the average employee I guess?
Josh Doody: Yeah it depends. Again most of my clients that I coach are going to these big tech companies and the answer is no, salary is usually not the biggest component. And in fact, I've found let's say in 2018 salary can be often like let's say like a significant or maybe the majority of their comp in any given year but these companies are throwing huge amounts of equity around. And the interesting thing as sort of the more senior you get or niche you get... so if you're doing something like you're a senior software developer whose got machine learning experience, your comp package is gonna look relatively light on salary. Because they get to a certain salary range like it's usually I would say kind of like centered around 150K or so, and then the salary starts slowing way down and the equity starts ramping way up.
Amazon does this explicitly. They cap their salary, and so if you're getting like a senior dev type offer your salary's gonna be capped at... I don't know what it is like today but 165 or 175, and then they start piling on equity. So at those companies for more senior people I will always start with salary in the negotiation but typically what I'm looking for is how soft are they on equity, and the best way for me to find that out is to start with salary. And I'll see how they respond with equity. And so it can be, whereas if you go to a startup or something like that I almost tell people just totally discard the equity that you're getting thrown at you and look at only the salary, and ask yourself if you can live on that. Because chances are you're not gonna see that equity anytime soon or maybe ever.
Joel Hooks: It's a lottery ticket.
Josh Doody: It is a lottery ticket. In that case, if I'm going to like a pre-IPO company and I would say even like... I don't Uber hasn't IPO'd yet, have they? I don't think they have.
Joel Hooks: I don't think so.
Josh Doody: So I've negotiated with a couple of people who were going to Uber and Uber was trying to throw a lot of equity at them and got really kind of angry when we said, "We appreciate the equity but I don't know what that's worth. I don't know when it's gonna be worth anything. Let's talk about the salary." And they didn't want to talk about salary. They wanted to talk about equity. But I pushed my clients and discouraged them from allowing that equity number, or whatever the estimates are that are being thrown at you, to dissuade you from taking a living wage and a good salary, because it's somewhere like a startup. That's all you're gonna get for sure.
Whereas somewhere like Google or Apple, yes there's market risk, right like yes the economy could tank and you could lose a lot of equity value, but if that happened you're probably not getting your salary either. You're unemployed. So at the big companies I think equity and sign-on bonuses are often gonna be at least half of your focus, whereas like a pre-IPO or private company or something like that then you might want to focus on the salary. Especially for early stage places because that's the only thing that you know for sure that you're gonna get. And it can be I think a rude awakening if you negotiate a huge amount of quote unquote equity and then a year in you're getting this small paycheck and just kind of waiting for the lotto ticket to pay off.
Joel Hooks: Which may never come. And it really depends on your position in life too. If your young and don't have any responsibilities or old and don't have a bunch of dependents then it's a different story. So we really have to come in, and I think understand what's the minimum that we can accept as an offer and what are we willing to do and what are the risks involved.
Josh Doody: Yeah and that's I mean, so you said what's the minimum, and I called this concept that you're eluding to, I think, the minimum acceptable salary. And early on when I wrote my book this is one of the things that I'm happiest with is that it's such a catch all. Because at the end of the day it doesn't matter if it's an early stage startup, if it's a small mom and pop company, if it's a little five person web deb shop, or if it's Google. Before you get the offer, hopefully, I think it's really important to sit down and say, "Okay, what do I need to say yes to this? What does it have to look like?" And this is a great way to be objective about it. 'Cause you can get blinded by numbers that they'll throw at you.
And so it's much better I think to say, "Okay if I get this offer from this company, the minimum base salary I need is 80,000 dollars to live in the city that I live in if it's a remote job. Gotta have 80,000 dollars. I would also like to have this much of a signing bonus because I'm gonna have to forgo some vesting equity at my current firm" and these things. And then you can kind of put that on paper. And you may not be able to negotiate all of those things the way that you sort of design them on paper, but at least you know kind of what your target is, and you might be able to kind of flex on some things and say, "Well I was hoping for a bigger bonus, but they were actually more flexible on salary than I thought" or something.
And it also gives you more power in the negotiation because you can then kind of have your walk away number and say, "No. I appreciate you working with me, but I've gotta have 80,000 dollars salary to take this job, or I can't take it. I can't afford to take the job." And so I think that regardless of what kind of company you're going for having your number for that company will really help. And it may be different for each company. Right.
Joel Hooks: Yeah.
Josh Doody: So like I said at Google your minimum might be 80,000 dollars 'cause you know you're getting a bunch of equity vesting, whereas at a startup it might be, "I'm willing to forgo this equity because I don't know if it'll ever pay off but I've gotta have 120,000 base to make sure that I can live, or pay my bills, or take care of my family" or whatever you need to do. So that's a really good way to make sure that you set yourself up for a successful negotiation. That you win either way. Either you get what you had to have in your minimum or you don't get it and you can walk away and say, "It's okay that I didn't get that. It's a bummer, but they weren't gonna meet my minimum and I know that that couldn't work because I decided that objectively before I even saw their offer."
Joel Hooks: Yeah I know in the Bay area, you know the Facebook's and Netflix's and Google's will throw pretty what I would consider a really large salary. Like in the 250, 300,000 salary, and at the same time like for my family, I have five children to move to the Bay area would if I'm comparing that to basically any other region outside of New York in the United States that really affects that compensation level. If they're gonna force you to move there, not force you but require that you move there as a condition of the job.
Josh Doody: Yeah. You're 100 percent right. And that's another thing I like about this concept is, you should fold that kind of thing in, right. Like there's a big difference between 100,000 dollar salary lets say in Gainesville, Florida where I live, that goes a long way. Whereas if you take 100,000 dollars to the Bay I mean you might not even be able to pay rent. Right. And have money left over for groceries. So you have to incorporate all of those things. What's my student debt payment load? What's my mortgage? What's the cost of living where I live? What's my family's financial situation? And all these different things. And even stuff like, how much do I like this job? You know I actually, this job, this team they seem to be such a great team, everybody I've talked to they seem to love working for this company, it seems to be super low stress, great work-life balance, so I'm actually willing to give up a little bit of salary there.
I'll go 20K less on this than I would if I were going to a higher pressure place. And you can incorporate a lot into that minimum number. And of course if you do it early you can do it kind of objectively, with a clear head, before they throw a total comp number at you and you go, "Woe." And have to start thinking differently about it.
Joel Hooks: Yeah. So does negotiation stop once you're hired?
Josh Doody: Ooh that's a good question. I would say yes and no. I mean there's sort of the job offer negotiation and that does more or less kind of quit when you are hired. It's very discreet, typically you're negotiating with like a recruiter or HR person, sometimes you might even be negotiating with your hiring manager. And then once you start working there that phase of your time with the company is kind of over, and now you begin a new relationship with a hiring manager or team or whatever. But a new negotiation sort of begins or at least the foundation for one, which is I tell people as soon as you start working at a new company you should be thinking about like, "Okay how am I gonna get my first raise? And when is it gonna happen?" And I think about six months into your time at the company is when you should start planning for that raise and planting seeds.
And a year in is when you should say, "Okay I've been here for a year. You've had a chance to see what I can do. Here's how I'm over delivering. Let's talk about this. And what my compensation should do to reflect that." But in that sense the negotiation does start anew for your promotions and raises kind of once you've actually begun working at the company because now you're inside. And you can do the things like I mentioned earlier, you can look at the delta between your current position and the next one up the career ladder, or you can start looking for opportunities where you can save the company money, or help drive more revenue, or reduce time to shipping products and that sort of thing. To start adding value in ways that weren't anticipated when you were hired to kind of lay the groundwork that you can then leverage later on to negotiate a raise or to negotiate a promotion.
Joel Hooks: So I would think people aren't gonna... like the company might not necessarily track that for you. Do you have any recommendations of how people track their work or track their value, or keep some sort of log I don't know? I've never really done that I was just thinking about it. I get in there, I know I want a raise in a year, and how do I start planning for that circumstance when it does come up?
Josh Doody: Yeah I think really I kind of lean low tech here. So even like I'm a big fan of like I have a ton of notes I used to use when I was a Windows user I had just a bunch of notepad documents everywhere. And then now its notes on Mac or occasionally I'll go into like Evernote or something. But as you work on a project, I think, just kind of keeping a general idea of what's going on and where you're adding value. And especially if you finish a project. 'Cause it's really strange how like you can work on a really hard project and you're sprinting and you're just trying to get through it and you work on it for three months, and then you finish it in April and then if I came to you in October and said, "Hey you remember that project that you were killing yourself to get through in April? What was your biggest take away from that project?" And you would kind of look at me and go, "Man I can't believe that was six months ago. I don't remember that at all."
And so just taking notes kind of as you go, and you don't have to keep necessarily like a point by point diary or anything like that, but just a record of well I did this project, here were the anticipated results, here are the results that we got, here's how they were valuable to the business, and then file that away. That's good. And also I think its important to keep track of... so those are like what I would call your accomplishments. Like what have you done and what's the value of the thing that you've done, but then accolades as well. So if you get an award or you get an email from a client who says, "Just wanted to say you really crushed it on this project that we worked on", internal or external client, "You really blew me away with this prototype that you built for us last month."
Keep that filed away because that's part of your research too and it's a way for you to demonstrate to your manager if they didn't happen to know about that, "Well you didn't see the work I did on this project but look what this other manager said about my work." So I think just tracking it. You can use if you have the labels in Gmail. If you've got a folder on your desktop or you've got Evernote or something. Just keeping some notes so that you can kind of remember that stuff later on, I think, is the best way to go because if you add too much process on top of it then most of us, I certainly will, I'll fall down under that process and just stop doing it.
Joel Hooks: Yeah. The idea also to me would be, you know, you're talking about the past and really, you know, well that's what we pay you for, good work. Do we need to project into the future or talk about what's next or why we need to get that raise in terms of the future actions that we're going to perform with the company? Does that provide any value to that step in the process?
Josh Doody: I think that's a lot trickier. That goes back to the sort of results versus potential concept that I think I alluded to briefly earlier. Most of the time the fast way to get a promotion or a raise is to say, "Look what I did."
Joel Hooks: It's not to find a new job?
Josh Doody: Well it could be. It depends. I think you know, wow that's a whole different topic. But yeah it could be.
Joel Hooks: Yeah it is.
Josh Doody: If you want to make a whole bunch of money you probably should consider leaving your company. But in terms of being forward or backward looking for your own performance, I think that the more compelling way to present a case is to go to your manager and say, "Here's what I've done. Here's the value of what I've done. How can we compensate for me for that?" Whether it's for the more senior title, higher pay, or both. And I think for you personally it's good to have goals and if you don't know where to start with goals, a great way to do that is if you aspire to be promoted to like a more senior level. Like I said, to look at those job descriptions and say, "What do those job descriptions describe that I don't currently have to do for my job? And how can I start doing those things?"
And so rather than telling your manager, "Here's what I aspire to do this year."I think a good manager would say, "That's really great news. Let's put a goal plan together and find a way to help you accomplish those things, or find you some mentorship, or find you opportunities to do those things." And that might be a step in performing above and beyond. But generally I think the story you're telling when you're asking for a raise, in particular negotiating for more salary is, when you hired me like you said that's the past, "We agreed to a certain salary for a certain set of work, now what I'd like to demonstrate to you is that I've done additional work that added unanticipated value that was not rolled into the salary that we agreed to when I came to work here. And because of that additional value that I'm adding, I'd like to talk about increasing my salary."
So that's the way I prefer to do it is to look backward. You know you're looking forward in terms of planning for yourself, but you're looking backwards in terms of demonstrating that it's time for you to get that raise or promotion.
Joel Hooks: Yeah so the forward stuff isn't so much about like the current raise that you're asking for, that's based on what you've proven that you can do, but then having a good plan when you're sitting down and if you get a review or you are just kind of initiating your own review if you don't get one is to show your motivation and what you want to do next and grow the company, which would give you nice talking points for the following year.
Josh Doody: Yeah. If anything it's a planning mechanism. And I think it also does demonstrate foresight. That if you're telling your manager, "Yeah I'm doing my current job but here's the stuff that I'm gonna try, and tackle this coming year." Then I think at least your manager will be primed to think, "This person appears to moving to a place where they're going to be doing more than we're paying them for, or acknowledging them for with a title right now. So maybe I need to be ready to consider a pay increase or a title increase."
Joel Hooks: So like during the course of the year is there you know if like I do get accolade, is it too self or grandizing to like share those? Or how do you approach that just to keep you know the idea that I'm doing a good job, I'm worth what you're paying me for, and then also you don't have to be as much of a reminder at the end of the year so much as just kind of a mutual recollection of the awesome work that you do. Is that something that we should be doing during the course of the process? Or should we just wait till other people recognize our hard work?
Josh Doody: That's a good question. I think the easy ones are when people have already recognized what you're doing. At least file that away and it'll come in handy when you go to ask for a raise. So even if you don't kind of repeat it in the moment, realtime, at least having it available in some kind of a file or somewhere you can refer to it later is nice. I think, gosh, I feel like the answer to this is almost based on like what's the company culture. You know I'd like to believe that managers are looking for opportunities to give people accolades. They're looking for wins that they can tell other people about. Just to lead by example. But a lot of managers... my first manager ever, basically told me, "No news is good news with you. Nobody's picked up the phone and called me so you must be doing a good job."
Which is extremely discouraging, it's why I quit that job. So I think it's kind of cultural. I would like to believe that a good manager is looking for opportunities like that and may even ask people to give other people accolades or like a spot award and that kind of thing. I think those feel kind of cheesy but I think they're a great way to say, "Hey I noticed this person did a great thing and I'd like to make sure it's sort of publicly known." I also think like if you have regular one-on-one's with your manager it might be nice to tell them, "Hey here's what's going on. I finished that project last week and here's the feedback that I got on it." And just kind of make sure it's on their radar. But I feel like there's not like a good canned answer for that. How it's received is gonna depend on how the culture perceives that sort of thing. And unfortunately I think some companies are very kind of keep it to yourself. And it may not be received well.
Joel Hooks: Yeah it's weird. I mean you know 'cause personally I'm all about like marketing myself. I don't think anybody's gonna praise me. I think the person that needs to do that is me. And relying on somebody to be the quote good manager is asking a lot and at the end of the day if you're not... and I'm not talking like in some sort of gross way but just it's really gets back to the marketing and personal brand. Like how do you elevate your accomplishments and share them while doing it in a way that hopefully helps others and doesn't come off as some sort of bragger. That would be the danger there I guess right.
Josh Doody: Yeah. I think also to zoom out a level I really think the solution to this that makes it easier for everybody, because some people just aren't comfortable marketing. I really wasn't comfortable marketing myself until it became literally the way I make my living. Even as an employee I wasn't great. But I was really good at building a culture where I recognized my team for what they did. I recognized my peers for what they did. And I took every opportunity to say, "Hey before we get this call started I just wanted to say that Frank had a huge win last week and did a great job. I thought that everybody should know. Frank why don't you tell us a little bit about that situation? Give us two minutes on it."
Joel Hooks: Oh nice.
Josh Doody: Again that's a cultural thing. It's me driven where I also have also tended to use the word we a lot. If there's a success I'm looking for a we, not an I.
Joel Hooks: Oh for sure.
Josh Doody: But that's all personal stuff. Right. So I think that you just have to be cautious with that and kind of look for how it's gonna be received. And sort of play to that. I do think you need to market yourself, but its also really important to kind of know your audience and how it's gonna be received.
Joel Hooks: That's like almost straight out of How To Win Friends and Influence People, right?
Josh Doody: Yeah.
Joel Hooks: Which if you're listening and haven't read that book, you should buy a copy, because it's amazing.
Josh Doody: You should read it right now.
Joel Hooks: Yeah. It's like don't use I all the time. Talk about we. Like these are all... its funny to me 'cause it's all copywriting and that's been my primary focus for the last couple of years is trying to be a good copywriter, which is really hard. But that's like rule number one. Nobody cares about you. People care about themselves, and you can frame that like if you want to talk about yourself, you talk about them and how you may make their lives easier or how you're going to help them or what you've done for them. And people really enjoy that versus talking about me, me, me, which nobody wants to hear about.
Josh Doody: Yeah and I think there's an opportunity... so unfortunately I think we've kind of established there's not really like a super easy way to make sure that like your managers are aware of the good things that you do, because there are some times when it's just gonna be perceived as being braggadocios. But one thing that you can do sort of like as a long-term play is you can start to actually be that person who does that for other people. And maybe that will catch on. So maybe you're not saying, "Look at what I did." Maybe you finished a project and you got really great accolades for your work on the project and instead of telling your manager like, "Look at this great work I did" you would tell them like, "Hey we finished the project and I was working on this project with Tina and she really crushed it. I mean hears this thing that she did and I just thought you should know about it." And then maybe nothing happens or maybe Tina says, "Oh yeah Josh was awesome too. Heres what he did." And now your manager knows about both of you and neither of you were the one to tell them.
That kind of stuff can be really contagious I've found. People will get more and more comfortable with it. And they'll realize like, "Oh I can be just a nice person and brag on my peers, and they like that, and they're nicer to me and I can be nicer to them." That may not always work but it could be a way to kind of actually start to change the culture so that other people are bragging on you so you don't even have to do it.
Joel Hooks: It's such a good human practice. Talk about building your network and stuff, if you're the person at the office that is always giving credit where credit is due and like taking responsibility for problems and focusing on other folks, and lifting other people up, I think long-term or like over the course of your career that particular practice is going to pay in spades. Both in terms of your salary but just in terms of your life and your relationships and your attitude about work. It's such a great, great piece of advice I think.
Josh Doody: Oh for sure. Going back to... this loops all the way back to the first thing we talked about I think which is how do you find jobs, through your network. And if you think about like in that context, a lot of what we're describing is pretty self-serving because I know if I've worked with someone... and in fact gosh I think like my last four actually I don't know if I ever had a day job that I didn't get because somebody recommended me for it.
Joel Hooks: Yeah I haven't.
Josh Doody: And so if you build a reputation like that. I've found that like for my last several day jobs, three or four of them, it was just like people that we all knew each other from like one or two companies a long time ago and we just kind of kept following each other around. Because we all work that way. We would brag on each other. We would help each other out. I would work longer hours to help out a peer and I knew they would do the same for me. And then when I go to a new company I'm sitting there and I'm thinking, "You know what I'm missing right now. I'm missing the kind of help that I used to get at my old company. I wonder what they're doing?" People do that for you too. Whereas like even if you do really, really good work and you write great code but you're totally siloed or you're not interacting in that way people may not think about bringing you along unless they just happen to need a really good individual contributor coder who can knock this project out.
But if they're looking for somebody to work with and to build a career with they're gonna think about you, because you were giving them kudos when they did good work and that is gonna stand out to them. You made sure that they got recognized when they worked hard, or they worked late, or if they did extra or whatever it was. And that will come back around eventually, if nothing else in the form of that person gets promoted to senior director of blah, blah, blah at some company and they're like, "You know who I'd like on my team? I'd like Josh on my team. He was really great to work with."
Joel Hooks: Yeah I've recommended folks for jobs and made connections and just when you think about how somebody was when you worked with them previously and you hear of a great opportunity that comes up and you know it's not for you but you're like, "Oh wait. Tina was really awesome at my last gig and would be a perfect fit for this and I want to recommend them for the job." And making those connections is fun just like for me personally I love connecting good folks together but that's another product of your network. You're passing that along and helping people along as a group kind of community effort in terms of your network.
Josh Doody: Yeah. Well which could result in more jobs but also more negotiating leverage right. Like you have a tremendous amount of leverage if you're sitting in front of the hiring manager because someone on their team that they respect said that you were the person for the job and recommended you heartily. Then it's gonna be a lot easier for you to say, "I'm pretty happy at my current job. You've probably heard that I'm doing pretty well over there. I'd like to be on your team but I'm gonna need a little bit more to make that happy. Can we find some kind of compromise here?"
Joel Hooks: In every negotiation I've ever been in its been the nicest when I didn't really need the thing that I was negotiating for.
Josh Doody: Yeah. Oh yeah for sure. If you're like, what can I do to make this interesting enough for me to think about it?
Joel Hooks: You might want it but if you don't need it. That's when it's really hard as a job searcher. If I don't really need the job its one thing but if you like you're staring down a mortgage and need the job like your leverage kind of disappears in a lot of ways.
Josh Doody: Yeah I have a client right now who's gonna be in that position. I think he's gonna sign on here pretty soon. As soon as he gets an offer from Google. But I know it's gonna be challenging working with him because he is gonna really want to just take the job and he's in a situation where he's not quite desperate yet but he's to the point where if this thing with Google works out it's gonna be life changing. And so it's gonna be really hard, and of course that's why he's gonna hire me is I'm gonna tell them, "Listen I need to talk you down on this. It's okay. I know how this process works. You can ask for this and it's gonna be okay." And he'll end up better off for it but it's gonna be a lot harder than for other people who are like, "Eh I got an offer from three of the five big tech companies. I just want to see how interesting they can get and figure out if I want to leave my current gig to go to one of those or not." Those are much easier engagements.
Joel Hooks: So this is my last question, I want to go out with as software developers should we negotiate for every job that we take?
Josh Doody: Yes.
Joel Hooks: I would agree with that. And Josh I also, you have a lot of great resources. A lot of them are freely available. I was looking at your list of podcasts, you've been on a bunch of them. This definitely isn't your first rodeo. Where could people go to find out more about what you do and what's your top resources that you would recommend that you've made for folks to peruse?
Josh Doody: Yeah the best place to go, especially for that free content that you mentioned is fearlesssalarynegotiation.com. I put as much useful free stuff out there as I can do. And there's just a treasure trove of really useful stuff so if anything that you heard us talking about today was like, "Huh I'd like to learn more about that." If you go to fearlesssalarynegotiation.com you'll be able to find it. I'm also active on Twitter @JoshDuty. Like to answer questions so just shoot me a question on Twitter. I'm happy to reply. Those are the two best places to find me and the easiest places to find me.
Joel Hooks: You also offer some services. One of them that I think is really interesting if folks are in the middle of a job hunt and your negotiating salaries, you have some services that you offer. Can you describe those?
Josh Doody: Yeah sure. That's my primary business is salary negotiation coaching for experienced software developers. So most of the time it's experienced developer whose changing companies and going to typically a big tech company, but often smaller tech companies or maybe they're not necessarily in tech. But what I'll do is they'll come to me and say, "Hey I have this job offer. It looks pretty good but I feel like I should negotiate it. Can you help?" And I'll say, "Yes." And then I'll basically negotiate for them behind the scenes. So I'm writing emails that they're sending to recruiters, figuring out what they should counter offer, helping them decide where to focus in the negotiation, if they have multiple offers I work with them to not only negotiate each offer independently but to get them to the best that they can be and then compare them, help them decide which one is best for them if any of them. And so I'm sort of a full service salary negotiation coach, just helping software developers make sure that when they make those moves that they get the best job offer possible so that when they start there on day one they may have to worry about their I-9 and all that other stuff but they don't have to worry about whether their paycheck is as big as it can be.
Joel Hooks: I've seen your fees and its very reasonable compared to what I would guess would be tens of thousands of dollars probably on average per year of salary that you can get from a well negotiated offer versus just going in there and being like, "Yeah I make 10,000 dollars or 100,000 dollars" and they'll just barely beat that so you'll come in. I think that's something that folks should look at. I think it's really cool what you do. I'm sure there's competition out there for you but I really love your approach and I love your philosophy and think that folks need to think about this. And because we don't have as much expertise or experience negotiating salaries as developers, if we can hire a expert to help us do the thing then we're going to be in a much better place. If I was looking for a job right now I would definitely be hitting you up to get some of that help.
Josh Doody: Awesome. Thanks. Yeah I think the last you said is those are the kind of clients that I like to work with the most is they're an expert developer and I'm an expert at salary negotiation and so they know they're about to be paid well to do the thing they're an expert in and they know that they can hire an expert to help them be paid even better.
Joel Hooks: Yep.
Josh Doody: And so they just they say, "You know I could read books and I could do it myself but I'd rather you'd just do this for me, and teach me how to do it." Most of the time the developers can't help but want to know how the sausage is made and so I'm really open with that. But I think it's a really good match because it allows them to just focus on being really great software developers and getting paid well for it. Outsource the salary negotiation piece to me.
Joel Hooks: Yeah unless you're really interested in salary negotiation personally as a skill set, outsourcing and specialization I'm a big fan. A huge fan.
Josh Doody: Oh yeah. I totally agree.
Joel Hooks: Alright Josh. Thank you so much for coming on today and talking with me about this stuff. I really appreciate it.
Josh Doody: Yeah thanks for having me Joel. It was a lot of fun.
Joel Hooks: Cheers.