You’ve played your cards right, done your homework, and negotiated with multiple offers, but still the company won’t budge. Hey, at least you’ve tried and you’re still ahead of most folks who don’t even ask. You still have a couple of options.
Shift Amount of Salary versus Equity
If you’re negotiating with a startup, the company simply may not have the money to give you a higher salary, as everyone is already taking a pay cut. Potentially, this is an opportunity either to ask for an increase in equity if you think your compensation package isn’t in line or to better understand how subsequent rounds of raising money will affect your compensation.
Finally, as a method of last resort you can also scale down salary in favor of equity or go the reverse route and ask for more cash with a lower equity stake. In doing so, you need to understand how this will impact your future performance reviews. Are you only going to be compensated with raises in extra cash, or can extra equity come into play as well?
Focus on Growth
Regardless of where you are in your career, optimize for growth. Given the choice between a job that pays slightly more and one that helps you grow more—go for the latter. It’s easier to negotiate for a raise or a higher salary when you have the skills and the results to back it up.
So how can you negotiate for growth? Bring up the fact that you’re excited to learn and contribute on key projects. This could be access to key individuals (mentors, for example), specific projects, or teams that can be high impact. These things may cost little to nothing for the company, while giving you long-term potential for your career.