How to Respond to a Software Engineering Job Offer

Tips on how to negotiate salary, start date & benefits and how to respond to a verbal offer

As a software developer, you know that you have a high-demand skillset. When you move toward negotiations for a new position, it can be difficult to know what to say when you get an offer, or even “worse”: what to say when you have already accepted a job but got a better offer elsewhere. Either way, when negotiating a job offer you may want to make sure you’re in the best position possible to get the benefits you need, from the salary you’re asking for to the health insurance and other benefits you know you deserve.

Negotiation in order to receive the benefits you know you deserve may prove critical. Unfortunately, as many as 56% of workers do not attempt to negotiate when they receive a job offer.

Follow these tips to make sure you maximise the salary, benefits and working arrangements when you get an offer for a new job:

You should understand that most software developers under appreciate their worth. Whether it’s Java, Python, Rust, Golang or good old Javascript, developers are difficult and expensive to hire.

Most developers would like to know what salary to expect before interviewing but unfortunately this isn’t always possible. And whether you should ask ask about this during the interview, we think this is a bad idea. During an interview you mostly want to emphasise why you are passionate about working for the company. If you mention salary this may give a bad impression.

So instead you can use tools like Glassdoor to get an estimate of the likely salary. If the company doesn’t have any data on Glassdoor for your position, have a look at salary standards for your industry, your job, and your local area.

In addition to looking at salary range, you may also want to consider factors like what benefits other, similar businesses in the industry are offering and how they may fit your needs and how your education or certifications should influence hiring practices. Those simple steps can go a long way toward setting you up for success in your negotiations.

Once you have a feel for what you software engineering role usually makes for your given expertise & location, take a look at the package as a whole and consider what benefits are most important to you.

Some companies focus heavily on work/life balance, but you may find that you are compensated with fewer benefits in other areas or less flexibility when it comes to when and where you can work the rest of the week. Other companies may offer great benefits packages, but the salary package might not be exactly what you were hoping for. Take the time to evaluate the whole package as you consider your job offer — and be willing to give a little on the factors that don’t matter as much to you.

You may have to ask about the benefits package as part of the interview process, especially if it’s something that is not normally included in negotiations. Make sure you know what questions you need to ask, including information about paid time off, insurance, and workday flexibility before you start negotiating.

What benefits are most important to you? What are you hoping the interviewer or HR team will offer you? There are some places where you don’t want to be the first to give in — for example, you might not want to be the first one to throw out a number when discussing salary requirements. On the other hand, when it comes to the benefits you want, you should confidently — but not arrogantly — ask for what you’re hoping for. Hiring managers can’t read your mind. If they issue an offer package that does not include the benefits you were hoping for, consider clearly stating what you really want, including:

  • Additional vacation time
  • Health insurance
  • Dental Insurance
  • The ability to work part time
  • Your cell phone paid for
  • Company-paid equipment

As part of your request, clearly show the benefits to the company or explain how you will set the business up for success. For example, if you’re asking for a four-day work week, you might want to discuss the fact that you will take the same day off each week, make sure that other employees have the information they need to complete their job duties without you there, or explain how you will ensure that your team will keep running smoothly in your absence. You may also want to go in prepared to discuss the benefits to the company, from increased productivity related to a four-day week to how increased vacation time each year can help make employees feel more relaxed and better prepared for the challenges they may face in their daily work responsibilities.

People are more likely to give you what they want when they like you. Unfortunately, that holds true for even the most unbiased hiring representative. If you have formed a relationship with or connection to the hiring manager during your negotiation and discussions, they are more likely to fight on your behalf, whether that means improving your salary offer or providing you with the four-day workweek you’re asking for.

Creating a positive impression may mean several things. First, it means checking your attitude at the door before you go in for a negotiation. It may mean making a personal connection with that representative: talking about shared interests, for example. If you remain calm even under pressure, you will find that it can make a much more positive impression on the hiring manager, which will make them more likely to go to bat for you. On the other hand, if the hiring manager views you as a combative individual who is asking for benefits that the company doesn’t usually offer, you may have a much harder time negotiating.

Companies have certain constraints that the hiring manager must fit into. The company may not have the ability to offer you everything you’re asking for. As a software developer, you may work directly for a software development company that can offer you a high salary and great benefits, or you might work for a smaller company in a different industry that simply can’t make the same offer. Sometimes, that may mean that the company is not a good fit for you. Other times, it may mean that you need to adjust your expectations. That doesn’t mean you have to give up the things you want, but it may mean that you need to adapt your requirements for accepting the position. Go back to what is most important to you and negotiate hardest for it, not for the things that you feel matter less.

Negotiating your ideal salary and benefits as a software developer can take time. Keep in mind that you do not have to accept the first offer a company puts on the table. You can always take up to 24 hours to accept an offer — and if it doesn’t fit your needs, you can walk away and continue looking for a position that does.

This article was original posted on 4 day week — Software engineering jobs with a better work life balance 🎉

Founder @ 4dayweek.io - Software jobs with a better work / life balance.