Things You Shouldn’t Do When Negotiating a Startup Job Offer

After rounds of strenuous tests and interviews, the hiring manager calls you back with a good news: “You are selected for the job role and we are sending across the job offer letter.” Finally you take a deep breath, feeling relieved, gratified and this moment does call in for a celebration, but wait!

Just before you sign above the dotted line, agree and accept the terms of working for a startup team, here’s one more thing you just cannot ignore, because it does matter and accounts to your skill worthiness in the job market: Mastering the tact of negotiating right.

With all the awesome perks offered by a startup (bidding goodbye to suits and tie seems just perfect). It is not surprising that more and more youth today, are interested in working for growing  startups with vibrant vivacious young teams. However, when you finally land upon a startup job offer, your homework is not done – yet.

You might have the right passion, skills and experience for the job role, however you need to research about the company background and scalability in the market, as well as acknowledge the risks and consequences if you decide to join one. In other words, you have to see great potential for its future.

But then comes up the tough question. How do you weigh the compensation and risks involved? You know, you have to be realistic about compensation, considering its status as an early-stage brewing enterprise. Can you just abruptly accept the job offer first mentioned to you, hoping that you eventually get promoted along the way? Obviously, this is not the right answer.

What are the things you should consider before entering into an agreement for a startup job? Take a look at the following negotiation mistakes and learn from these experiences to clinch a better deal in your startup job search:

  1.       Signing without negotiating

Remember: every offer is negotiable. While you need to know yourself well, when negotiating about the compensation in a startup, you should not just go with the numbers proposed by the hiring manager.

Know your worth, and do not hesitate to ask for a higher salary. When you use the right negotiation strategy, you will get the most value you can deserve.

  1.       Don’t wait for too long

If you’re not quick enough to grab the offer, time will kill your employment opportunity. Your future startup wants you to get productive as fast as possible. Therefore, it is important to keep the negotiation simple and straightforward. Don’t prolong the discussion and seal the deal quickly.

There are three basic steps in negotiating a startup job offer: the offer from company, your counter offer, and then rejection or acceptance from the company.

  1.       Lack understanding about the equity component

Some people are keen on joining a startup with hope of getting stock options in the event of acquisition. The problem is, they do not have solid understanding about the equity component. Before signing the deal, you should check if the offer includes equity.

It is important to see the future prospect of the company. If at some point the company cannot give you cash compensation, then you can expect to receive equity grant. Make sure to clarify with the founders about this and how the startup determines equity value.

Some people might consider that the decision to work for a startup is for the sake of learning, rather than earning. Nevertheless, you should keep in mind that it takes plenty of new things to adapt to, when you join the startup life. Unless you’re entirely committed to join an early stage company, a trembling future of compensation might not be your call.