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Negotiating a Job Offer with a Startup Company: 14 Best Tips


Negotiating a job offer with any company is no small issue; however when you are doing so with a startup company you ought to know what you are doing. In the cut throat business world where there is so much competition it is of paramount importance to have your head on your shoulders at all times, else you run the risk of being steam rolled over. Here are some useful tips that you can really make use of when while negotiating a startup job offer.

negotiating job offer with startupTips for Negotiating a Startup Job Offer:

1. Know all your facts correctly:

Negotiating on anything is impossible when you do not know your facts correctly. But when negotiating with a startup company co founder team, then it becomes absolutely vital about knowing all your facts. Not only should you be aware about the status of that particular company, but also about its contemporaries. In addition to this you should also know about the benefits which are usually offered in a startup company so that you know exactly what to expect and are not caught off guard.

2. Make sure they know that you know your facts:

In addition to actually knowing your facts you should make sure that they too know that you know your facts very well and you are not someone who can be taken for a ride. Generally speaking, startup company co founders and owners are bright and smart people who are able to think on their feet, so you ought to make sure that you are not taken for a fool and know exactly what you are doing. Your success lies in getting acquainted with as much information as you can on start ups in general.

3. Negotiation is a vital step, do not mess it up:

It is through your ability to negotiate that the company gets to know exactly what kind of an individual you are. If you mess up this step and do not bring your A game then chances are that the opportunity might slip away from your hands. Negotiation is in a way an extension of the interview; do not assume that just because the interview is over, that you are not under the scanner. During the negotiation period if the company realizes that you are not someone they want on their team they can show you the door.

4. Do not be submissive and meek:

In the business world even if you show the signs of slight weakness, chances are that there are many predators that will be willing to feed upon your vulnerability. Startup companies is like a new business in the form of a company so they are more often founded by relatively young people who are bright and sharp, so if you are really interested in the job, show your interest, however do not show that you are someone who is willing to comply with everything that is said.

5. Try to comply when possible:

Negotiating does involve a little bit of give and take, so if you find that on some issues, bending a little will not adversely affect you, then you should not waste time trying to negotiate on something that does not matter very much. In order to show that you are someone with a strong and persistent personality you need not be rigid and completely inflexible, Rather use these period of negotiation to display that above everything else you are someone who is very reasonable and logical.

6. It is important to move fast:

negotiating salary offer

The negotiation process should not drag on for very long. This is one of the biggest mistakes you can make when negotiating a job with a startup company. Ideally speaking a negotiation should involve three brisk steps. First, the company offering you whatever it thinks alright, second, you countering this offer with all the points that you think are valid and finally, the company stating that they are either willing to take into consideration your points or they are not. After all there is some truth in the common saying ‘Time kills all deals’.

7. Negotiate on things which matter:

One of the chief things to keep in mind that startups are new companies and you should not expect to receive a very high salary at the initial phase. So rather fixating solely on money, where chances are they will be unwilling to offer you much more, rather, you should attempt to negotiate on other things where you will be able to make a break through. Wasting time being fixated on one of your claims is something that will surely affect your chances of sealing a deal.

8. Find out if the offer comes with equity:

Having its roots in accounts, equity implies a kind of stock or even a sort of security which is standing for the owner’s interest. It is of paramount importance to ask the question what sort of equity grant you will receive on becoming a part of this startup company. As everyone who is a part of the business world, knows that equity is of two kinds, Restricted Stock Units and Incentive Stock Options. Equity Compensation is something that is important for individuals working with startup companies.

9. Inquire about what the equity is worth:

It is important to remember that the worth of your equity will depend on the value of the startup company. So just because the number sounds like a lot that does not imply that it actually is so. Working with a startup company could prove to be a risky thing however you should make sure that it is something which you are up for.

10. Inquire how much is the company’s present valuation:

valuation of company

In the attempting to enquire about how much your equity is worth you should know how much the company presently values at. If the company has had significant growth over the last few months then you know that over time this company will be able to make a position for itself in the business world. However one thing which you need to remember is that startup companies do not gain success in a matter of a few months, sometimes it takes even years. So in such a case you should use your mind to see if you think the company is worth it.

11. Customize your other benefits:

It is no new information that the salaries offered by startup companies are at or below the market value. Where as opposed to this, people working for big companies, get a much higher salary. So in such a case, the negotiation period is a time for you to, customize your benefits, so that you are able to get some positives of working with a start up company. Since the company cannot offer you much monetarily you can ask for benefits, like the permission to telecommute, paid sick leave or even flexible work hours.

12. Emphasize you are not in it for the money:

Though working for a startup company might involve some downsides the chief downside would be that there is significant risk involved in starting a company, yet one of the upsides is the equity offered and even the flexibility. So in the negotiating period in addition to standing by what you believe in, one thing which you can do to create a good impression is to openly show that you are certainly not in it for the money or fame you are involved to learn something and gain experience.

13. Ask about what happens on reaching the retirement age:

Thinking about the future is very important when it comes to accepting any job offer. During the negotiation process it is of paramount importance to inquire about the company’s views and policies on the age of retirement. Since startups are more or less always made up of young individuals, many shy away from asking such a question, however you should just inquire so that you face no surprises in years to come.

14. The decision rests with you:

Finally as mentioned above, negotiation does not mean you have bagged the job; you can use this period to find out if you are in fact really interested in working for the startup company. Be prepared for limited salary however if you find that the perks too are not what they should be then you should not shy away from not accepting the job. At the end of the day working for a startup does not mean that you are at a completely disadvantaged position.

Keeping these points in mind and being prepared is something that could really help you when interviewing for and negotiating a job offer with a startup company. You should take care that you have outlandish wants or demands, however if you believe that your demand is valid then you ought not to comply. In the business world a little give and take is all a part of the game, so just remember to keep your brain working at all time and remember no one who you do business with is your friend.