How Much Should I Ask For?

Not sure how much to ask for? This guide provides basic guidelines to follow and resources to find current salaries at the company.
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💰Guidelines
If you’re really not sure about the numbers. Use these guidelines:

1. Make the low end of the range of your ask at least 5% above the offer. Most recruiters will under-offer by 5%+.

2. Give a range when you make an ask. But know that the recruiter will only really look at the bottom number. If you say $150-160K, you’ll likely get $150K or below.

3. If you do research and the bottom of the range is below what you’d like, then instead give an average number. Instead of “My research shows $150-160K” say:
Response:
"My research shows average salary is $155K with the high end of the range being $160K."
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🤑Compensation Numbers
Another reason asking for more is safe
Companies spend thousands of dollars on recruiting costs on each role. That means if you walk away, they stand to lose a significant amount of money and have to restart the process again. Rationally, they should be willing to increase the offer by the same amount they’d lose by having you walk away.
How compensation works
At larger companies, they’ll have a compensation team that will create compensation bands for each role in the company. They buy data from large research groups in order to benchmark. So they’ll say, for a Level 5 Software Engineer, the base salary range is $150-160K, the equity range is 3000-5000 shares. Then the recruiter will determine where in the range you fall based on your experience and background. They will usually undershoot to give themselves room to wiggle in an upcoming negotiations.
Asking Friends
This is a great strategy for finding out more information about comparable compensation. Fun fact, this is also a strategy recruiters at companies do to find out how much they should pay when giving out offers. Be sensitive when asking, but try:
Response:
"Hi [name], I was wondering if we could collaborate and share compensation information. We could all use a bit more transparency when it comes to pay and I’d love to share my offer and compare notes with you about it."
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🏙️Resources
Unfortunately resources out there are pretty slim. But here are some to help you get started. If there are others you’ve found helpful, let us know and we’ll list them here.
RECOMMENDED
If you’re in tech, we recommend you start here. They have 20K+ salaries from primarily tech companies.
RECOMMENDED
If you’re a software engineer or data scientists, we recommend you use Levels.fyi and TripleByte / Hired. They are a hiring platform and therefore their data is very much verified through their hiring partners.
RECOMMENDED
Hired’s compensation tool is very simlar to TripleByte’s. They take real data from their own hiring and make it available in an aggregated way. If you’re a software engineer or data scientist, check it out.
Glassdoor has a wide range of roles and locations. Their data is easy to access. They allow you to break down by years of experience. Unfortunately, they can often be wrong. The top end of the range for Glassdoor may be helpful when you’re making the ask.
PayScale is similar to Glassdoor. They  have 54M data points over 16K job titles. It will take some more time to access their data as you have to go through a quiz.
Salary.com is again similar to Glassdoor. Their data is easy to access. But the data ranges are so large that it might not be extremely useful.
Paysa allows you to split salaries out by company which can be useful. Again, the data is so aggregated so the ranges are large.