You’re reading an excerpt of Land Your Dream Design Job, a book by Dan Shilov. Filled with hard-won, personal insights, it is a comprehensive guide to landing a product design role in a startup, agency, or tech company, and covers the entire design interview process from beginning to end, for experienced and aspriring designers. Purchase the book to support the author and the ad-free Holloway reading experience. You get instant digital access, commentary and future updates, and a high-quality PDF download.
If you’re in a lucky position to have multiple offers, be sure to compare and contrast. Talk with the recruiter about matching your highest offer’s salary. At this point you have some advantage here, as a company would hate to lose a qualified candidate to a competitor. Beyond salary, you can negotiate equity or maybe sweeten the deal with a one-time signing bonus.
Understand that interviewing candidates is a long process. They’ve just gone through rounds of writing the job description, reviewing candidates, going through phone screens, and getting designers to spend their time interviewing you and other candidates. Finally, they narrowed it to one offer—yours. This whole process usually takes money and time, and time is the most painful factor. They’d rather not go through a month and a half of work again.
important If you don’t have multiple offers outstanding—don’t let this deter you from negotiating. Even starting the compensation negotiation process already increases your chances of getting a favorable outcome.
Accelerate the Interviewing Process
Sometimes you’ll end up in a position where you’re still interviewing at one company but you’ve already got an offer at another. Be sure to let the company who’s still interviewing you know that you’re already at the offer stage elsewhere. This adds a bit of (valid) pressure on them to accelerate the interviewing process. Ideally, as early in the process as possible, let the other company know that you’re late in the interviewing cycle with someone else. This will help you line up all your offer letters at the end.
What if There Are No Other Offers?
Lastly, you might not have any offers outstanding or anything to match against. You may even be out of a job, so anything will look good right now. Alternatively, you might get an offer from a place where you’d love to work and the starting salary is already high. What do you do? Two things—conditionally agree or restructure your offer based on things critical to you.
The first step in negotiation is understanding the needs of your client. Since you’ll be working closely with a recruiter and they have a quota to fill, you can assure them that you’re serious about the offer by saying you’ll accept it right away if they can get you X. X can be anything that’s important to you and is not just restricted to salary.
Saying no can feel like placing an ultimatum. As we’ve talked about earlier, a negotiation is like a conversation (but with high stakes). If you’re getting close to what you hope you’re getting, you can say no in a non-confrontational way—“Thank you for showing flexibility on salary, this seems appropriate. Could we talk about other things that factor into compensation?”
Again, this will reinforce the image of your flexibility and allows you and the other party to examine compensation in a safe way.