Negotiating Google L4 With No Other Offers

New sm1001
Jul 8 19 Comments

I will be hearing back tomorrow on whether or not Google will be extending me an offer for an L4 SWE position. I already went to hiring committee last week and all but 1 committee member wanted to pass me, but that 1 hold out couldn't be convinced otherwise so they scheduled me for a second HC to try one more time to get a decision. The only issue that the 1 hold out had is that they didn't think that my interview questions were hard enough :). I thought that was kind of funny. I don't want to get ahead of myself, but I had 3 strong hire interviews and 2 hires and they already decided that they don't want to do additional interviews so I'm optimistic for an offer to come through. The only thing I'm worried about is that I don't have any other offers to negotiate with because I haven't been actively looking for a new job. Google reached out to me, which is how all of this started. I'm well paid already and I get to work 100% from home for a small software company in NYC. I have 4.5 YOE and a M.S. in C.S. with a specialization in Machine Learning from a top 10 C.S. school.

Any advice on strategy if my recruiter calls me tomorrow saying that I'll be getting an offer and starts to talk numbers or asks for my comp. expectations? The only thing I can think of so far is that I can say I'll be giving up a 100% work from home job and that I'll be moving my family literally across to the other side of the country, but that seems pretty weak if that's all I have to bargain with. Also, I'm usually described as a "nice guy" so negotiating is not a natural skill for me. I've done lots of research on how much L4 SWEs usually get offered and based on that I'm hoping for 160K Base, 15% Target Bonus, at least 400K in RSUs over 4 years, and a 50K Sign On Bonus. Please school me in negotiation skillz.

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TOP 19 Comments
  • Google xdddddddd
    you are hoping for ~300K TC @ L4 with no competing offers... i have bad news for you dude
    Jul 8 2
    • New sm1001
      OP
      That's why I'm checking here to see if I'd be dumb for asking for that :). I'm looking for honest feedback so if my numbers are way off then that's what I need to know so thank you. I've only seen posts where people are talking about their offers with other ones on the table. It seems like the numbers I'm talking about are right in the middle of lots of ones that I've seen (or maybe it's the case that the only people who post their offers on here are the ones who are bragging because they got offered the top of the pay band so I'm mistaking the top of the range for the middle). Any idea of where I should come in if they ask me tomorrow? Or should I just tell them that I'll wait to see what they offer?
      Jul 8
    • Google xdddddddd
      300K is pretty much top of band L4 TC at G i believe. more realistic is maybe 250K, but even then, idk how successful you can be with no competing offers. I have a few ideas, DM me if you want to talk.
      Jul 8
  • Uber elen
    Tell them 300 TC or gtfo. You are well paid already. Why do you care if you have to walk away from this offer?.
    Jul 8 4
    • New sm1001
      OP
      I would really like to work for Google. I've never worked at a big tech company. I know a lot of people say it's not all it's cracked up to be and I'll probably get made fun of a little bit for being naive, but that's the honest answer. It's also a chance to move to Austin, which is something my family and I have been interested in for a while. Good tech jobs and warm weather. We're from Michigan and we're done with the cold! I'd really like to put in a comp. request that isn't lower than I can get, but that also isn't so high that they're offended and tell me to hit the road.
      Jul 8
    • Uber elen
      300 TC in Austin is crazily high, roughly about 450k in Bay Area, which is Google L6.

      Check levels.fyi and just use the average if you really want to work for Google given that the role is in Austin.
      Jul 8
    • Google LUcv30
      I believe that the Austin L4 base doesn't go much higher than 140. You can still get a big stock grant though.
      Jul 8
    • ☝️ make sure your base and bonus are within range but the focus of the negotiations should be on the equity.
      Jul 8
  • Oracle xUOG48
    Tell the recruiter you have other interviews and that you want to wait for all of them to complete before taking offers. Then talk to Facebook or others who do a direct on-site on the strength of having a Google offer and use that to get a competing offer.. someone I know did this
    Jul 8 1
    • Goldman Sachs faith91
      Amazon will definitely give you a direct on-site! They did that to me as well!
      Jul 8
  • This comment was deleted by original commenter.

    • FJA sm1001
      OP
      Just heard today that I made it and they're putting together an offer for me! Can't wait to see what's in it.
      Jul 11
    • FJA sm1001
      OP
      They came in at 210 TC plus a 35K signing bonus. I told them I'm going to need more than that to make it work. Hopefully I can get a little more at least. Still not a bad living in Austin, TX though I think. I'd be very interested to know what the realistic potential is for pay raises. I'm guessing my recruiter might sugar coat it a little if I ask them while I'm still negotiating.
      Jul 15
  • Nutanix 1adja134
    Partition this into getting the result and talking about comp, and address the first one before thinking about the next? You can put off comp discussion for another call if you get the offer.
    Jul 8 1
    • New sm1001
      OP
      I know. I'm not trying to get ahead of myself, but I've heard lots of stories of people being asked about comp. when their recruiter calls them to tell them that they passed HC. I was just trying to be prepared in case they ask me on the call tomorrow. I'll post here tomorrow to say whether I made it or not. They said I should get an offer by Wednesday or Thursday if I make it tomorrow.
      Jul 8
  • Two Sigma / Eng mgre
    The offer is open for a long time, you can collect other offers.
    Jul 8 0
  • Google LUcv30
    What's "well paid already" actually mean?

    I feel like it goes without saying that your current salary is just as good as a competing offer. Google doesn't bid against itself though, they will offer whatever they think is high enough to get you. Probably slightly more than your best alternative.
    Jul 8 2
    • New sm1001
      OP
      By well paid I dont't mean Google money. I'm sure I'll make a lot more than I'm currently getting no matter what. Right now I'm making 135K per year with annual 15% cash bonus and I've been getting like a 5 to 10K pay raise each year. I also get to work from home 100% and I live in a super low cost rural area. Some of our senior devs are at or a little over 200K so I could eventually make that much. I really think I could potentially get a counter offer from my current employer too.
      Jul 8
    • Google LUcv30
      Ok, in that case I don't think you will get a top of band offer. I'd guess $200k or so. If I were you I'd start trying to get some more interviews at high paying places in NYC.

      Edit: not sure where I got NYC from. For Austin look at interviewing at Amazon and FB.
      Jul 8
  • Your living costs will go up so your TC should also go up. This should be part of your decision process. I don't think Google or other companies are too concerned about your new living costs, not directly.

    Are you willing to walk away from a low ball offer and re-apply in 6 months or a year? Once you get an offer, it usually stays good for that long so you can re-apply without interviewing again.

    In that case, are you willing to go out and interview at other companies to get strong competing offers? It's a time commitment for sure, but having a higher TC pays off over and over again in the long run.

    Being a "nice guy" and negotiating hard aren't mutually exclusive. Have good alternatives in mind. Think about that family you're supporting. Then: always be polite, and repeatedly stress the value you'd bring to the company and your skills (machine learning!). Sound enthusiastic about joining Google (that appears to be the case). But then also be confident in your TC expectations and have a firm number in mind when negotiating. Ask for 10-20% more than that. Be firm and polite and confident.
    Jul 8 0

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