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General Resources

Link Notes
Gergely Orosz The Trimodal Nature of Software Engineering Salaries in the Netherlands and Europe
  • Software engineering compensation market become "trimodal": split into three distinct groups that "spike" and that have little overlaps
  • Most engineers are not aware of this third, "Big Tech" pillar and the compensation ranges it introduces, assuming compensation can not go beyond what is offered at the second pillar
Questions you can ask about compensation

Ask for a salary increase

  • "I was hoping we could talk about my salary. I've taken on a number of new responsibilities over the last year, such as [fill in the blank, and I'd like to discuss increasing my salary to a level that reflects that."
  • "I think I'm given a lot of responsibility here - which I really appreciate - and I've accomplished almost every goal that we've laid out for me to do. I'm curious about whether I'm performing at the level of someone higher up on the career ladder. Can we explore whether I'm being compensated at the appropriate level?"
  • "I love the work I do here and want to stay with the company long-term. That said, my understanding of the market is that I should be making X."


If Asked About Current Compensation

Question Answer
What's your current salary?
  • I'm not really comfortable sharing that information. I would prefer to focus on the value I can add to this company and not what I'm paid at my current job
What's your expected salary?
  • I want this move to be a big step forward for me in terms of both responsibility and compensation
  • I don't have any particular numbers in mind. I'm more interested in learning whether this will be a good mutual fit. If it is, I'm open to exploring any offer so long as it's competitive.
    • I really have no particular numbers in my head, it all depends on the fit and the composition of the offer. Once we decide we want to work together, I think that's the best time to figure out a compensation package that makes sense
    • Well, okay. I know that the average software engineer in Silicon Valley makes roughly 120K a year salary. So I think that's a good place to start
What's your current and expected salary? I'm not comfortable sharing my current salary. I would prefer to focus on the value I can add to this company rather than what I'm paid at my current job. I don't have a specific number in mind for a desired salary, and you know better than I do what value my skillset and experience could bring to your company. I want this move to be a big step forward for me in terms of both responsibility and compensation. I look forward to hearing what you think is appropriate.
I just need to be sure the salary range works for your requirements so we don't waste each other's time It sounds like you're trying to qualify me for a salary range. If you want to tell me what that range is, I'm happy to tell you if it's in the ballpark.
If they insist I'm not comfortable sharing my current employer's proprietary compensation information, and I know they wouldn't appreciate it if I did. I still work for them, and I'm just not comfortable sharing their proprietary information about how they pay people like me. I really don't have a specific number in mind for an expected salary, and I look forward to hearing what you suggest.

Offer Stage

When receiving the offer

  • Yeah, [COMPANY_NAME] sounds great! I really thought this was a good fit, and I'm glad that you guys agree. Right now I'm talking with a few other companies so I can't speak to the specific details of the offer until I'm done with the process and get closer to making a decision. But I'm sure we'll be able to find a package that we're both happy with, because I really would love to be a part of the team
  • I'll look over some of these details and discuss it with my [FAMILY/CLOSE_FRIENDS/SIGNIFICANT_OTHER]. I'll reach out to you if I have any questions. Thanks so much for sharing the good news with me, and I'll be in touch!
  • Hello [PERSON], I just wanted to update you on my own process. I've just received an offer from [COMPANY] which is quite strong. That said, I'm really excited about [YOUR AMAZING COMPANY] and really want to see if we can make it work. Since my timeline is now compressed, is there anything you can do to expedite the process?

Ask more

  • I'm really excited about the problems you guys are working on at [COMPANY]
  • I've received another offer from [OTHER CORP] that's very compelling on salary, but I really love the mission of [YOUR COMPANY] and think that it would overall be a better fit for me.
  • I appreciate the work you guys put into constructing this offer. But there were a couple things I was unsatisfied with.
  • The offer you guys extended was strong. Right now my decision is basically between you and [XYZ CORP]. It's a genuinely difficult decision for me, but there are a couple of dimensions where, if this offer improved, it would be much more compelling.
  • I really want to buy a house within the next year; what can we do to improve the salary?
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