Big Tech negotiation

What is Salary Negotiation Coaching?

Everything you need to know about Salary Negotiation Coaching


by Josh Doody

Salary Negotiation Coaching is a service to help you understand, evaluate, and negotiate your job offer(s) to determine the best possible version of each offer before you decide whether to accept it.

Salary Negotiation Coaches typically work behind the scenes, advising candidates on all aspects of the negotiation, beginning before the candidate has an offer in hand. A good Salary Negotiation Coach will walk through the offer details, understand the candidate’s career background and experience and how it aligns with the role being offered, and formulate a specific strategy for each candidate to optimize their job offer.

Salary Negotiation Coaches may provide strategic guidance, call scripts, email templates, negotiation practice, and advice on how to interpret and respond to the job offer(s) at every stage of the negotiation.

Table of Contents

Who is Salary Negotiation Coaching for?

Anyone considering a job offer may benefit from Salary Negotiation Coaching.

I’ve never heard of Salary Negotiation Coaching—is it new?

When I began offering Salary Negotiation Coaching services in 2016, there were essentially no other dedicated full-time Salary Negotiation Coaches. Instead, candidates would either find ways to negotiate on their own, or they may have a career coach give them some suggestions.

Beginning in 2018 or so, more individuals and companies began to offer Salary Negotiation Coaching services either as an add-on to other services, or occasionally as a dedicated offering.

It is still a relatively new field with new entrants easing in.

Why should you hire a Salary Negotiation Coach?

An experienced Salary Negotiation Coach will be able to guide you through your negotiation in the best way possible, showing you things that you might not see on your own, and calling on their own experience and expertise to get the absolute most out of your job offer negotiation.

Similar to other niche specialists, Salary Negotiation Coaches

What Salary Negotiation Coaching isn’t

Salary Negotiation Coaching is not legal advice or legal contract review. For legal advice, you will want to find an experienced attorney who specializes in labor and employment contracts.

A Salary Negotiation Coaching will not be able to tell you whether an NDA or non-compete will be enforceable, evaluate your liability exposure, and other contract-law related items.

How much does Salary Negotiation Coaching cost?

Salary Negotiation Coaching may cost anywhere from nothing, to tens or hundreds of dollars, to tens of thousands of dollars.

There are many fee structures for Salary Negotiation Coaching as well, including hourly billing, fixed-fee projects, contingency-based fees, and various hybrids.

Hourly billing

Some Salary Negotiation Coaches may bill by the hour, similar to how attorneys and other client services professionals bill for their time. They may bill by full hours or fractions of hours (15-minute increments, for example).

Hourly billing is usually reconciled and invoiced after the project is complete.

Fixed-fee billing

Some Salary Negotiation Coaches will charge a single fixed fee for the entire engagement. This may be due before the project begins, or after the project is complete.

Sometimes the Salary Negotiation Coach’s fee schedule will vary depending on various factors that are specific to each individual’s offer (such as offer amount, industry, job level, etc.).

Contingency billing

Salary Negotiation Coaching may be contingency-based such that the cost of the engagement is based on the size of the negotiated result.

Hybrid billing

Salary Negotiation Coaching may also be billed using some combination of the above methods. Usually, there will be a contingency component along with either an hourly rate or a fixed fee.

All of these billing methods have different potential impacts on the incentives for you and your Salary Negotiation Coach. Those incentives may introduce trade-offs worth considering when choosing your specific Salary Negotiation Coach.

Is Salary Negotiation Coaching guaranteed to increase your job offer?

No, there’s no way to guarantee that your job offer will increase through negotiation.

The two ideal outcomes for a Salary Negotiation Coaching engagement are:

  1. Optimize your job offer to make absolutely sure you don’t leave anything on the table.
  2. Learn how to negotiate job offers so that you understand the process if you would like to.

Most of the time, the optimized version of your job offer will be an improvement on your initial job offer, but not always. Sometimes the best version of your offer is the initial offer you received, but the only way you can be absolutely sure you have the best version of your offer is to negotiate it.

How to choose a Salary Negotiation Coach

As more providers begin to offer Salary Negotiation Coaching, it’s important that you find the right coach for you and your needs. Here are some things to consider when choosing your Salary Negotiation Coach:

Experience

Salary negotiations are high-stakes and often happen very quickly. A small mistake or missed opportunity can be very expensive, so you want to be sure your Salary Negotiation Coach will take advantage of every opportunity available without missing details that may be very valuable to you.

Make sure your Salary Negotiation Coach has extensive experience negotiating offers in your field and with the type of company you’re considering.

Niche

Try to identify the specific niche(s) each Salary Negotiation Coach you’re considering might serve. Different industries, types of roles, and seniority levels may have totally different contracts, or unique features in their contracts that are very important.

The more comfortable your Salary Negotiation Coach is negotiating contracts within your specific niche, the better.

Your budget

Consider your own personal budget when choosing a Salary Negotiation Coach. If the price of their services is far above or below your budget, there may be a misalignment in your expectations, your coach’s ability to help you, or in the actual service being offered.

Incentive alignment

It’s important to ensure that your incentives and your Salary Negotiation Coach’s incentives are aligned as closely as possible throughout your engagement. You want to be on exactly the same page as they are the entire time.

Any time your incentives diverge from theirs, you may not get an optimal result.

Some hypothetical examples:

  1. A Salary Negotiation Coach who bills hourly may be incented to schedule more phone calls, spend more time on your project, and extend the project to maximize hours billed.
  2. A Salary Negotiation Coach who is also a recruiter may run into conflicting incentives when it comes to optimizing your pay versus preserving a relationship with a firm where they make placements.
  3. A Salary Negotiation Coach who only charges a contingency fee may be incentivized to try risky tactics in order to increase your compensation or find a way to turn a best and final offer into some sort of improvement.

Those are hypothetical and that list is definitely not exhaustive. The idea is to make sure that you and your Salary Negotiation Coach are on the same page, both doing what’s in your best interest every step of the way.

Past results

Experience Salary Negotiation Coaches should be able to provide a good summary of their clients’ past results.

Ask them for some statistics to get a sense of the kind of results they get, how often their clients see an improvement, how often their clients have job offers rescinded (if ever), and other details that will help you get a sense of their success rate and outcomes.

Testimonials, reviews, and case studies

Direct feedback from former clients is extremely helpful when choosing a Salary Negotiation Coach. Not only will you get a sense of results but, more importantly, you should be able to get a sense of what it is like to work with that particular coach.

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Still feeling uncertain about negotiating your offer?

I offer full-service 1-on-1 support to help Senior Software Engineers and Engineering Managers negotiate the best offer possible and with more confidence and less stress.

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Negotiating a job offer soon? I'll help!

I'm Josh Doody, a professional salary negotiation coach who helps High Earners negotiate their job offers. On average, High Earners improve their first-year compensation by $47,273 with my help.

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