My heart was pounding.
I felt palpably nervous as I dialed the number for the hiring manager. I had completed my final round of interviews earlier in the week and this was the culmination of my efforts — the all-important salary negotiation.
Before telling my prospective new employer the salary I deemed reasonable, I did my homework, following best practices for data-driven compensation negotiation.
- Research the market value for the role.
- Tailor the figure to your background, credentials, and zip code without anchoring on your previous salary or your gender.
- Determine which parts of the total compensation package matter most to you.
- Write down what you want to cement your goal.
For the software engineering role I sought, I was optimizing for a reasonable base salary, a healthy amount of equity, a diverse scope of responsibilities, and an opportunity to have fun on the job. These demands were written in ink in front of me. I was primed for battle.
Yet, the words I heard over the phone caught me off guard. Negotiation was expected. The hiring manager’s counteroffer was not.
“Alison, I think you are worth more than your ask. I encourage you to request a larger amount.”
They countered my bid by… encouraging me to make a higher bid?! This was unheard of. I was initially a bit skeptical and listened for an explanation.
“Employees are the bedrock of our company. Everyone’s story is unique and the individual journeys contribute to the fabric of our culture. It’s in our collective best interest to transparently share what our position is, give all employees what they need to be successful, and pay them what we think the role is worth to us.”
The hiring manager defused a potentially combative conflict into a conversation that brought me great joy. I followed the advice, increased my ask, and signed an offer letter with a much higher amount than originally anticipated.
Walking the Talk
In my job searches, I’ve met with dozens of companies that claim to stand for equity and fairness. It’s commonplace for employers to have D&I initiatives and talk about closing the gender gap. Still, at a candidate’s most vulnerable moment — during the salary negotiation — few hiring managers would voluntarily pay more than strictly necessary to bring a new team member on board. Not at Bond. The executive teams’ words are consistently matched with action.
A salary negotiation initiates a multi-year relationship between employee and employer. If my manager had taken my original offer, I would have faced an uphill battle for many years just to get to where I am today.
Joanne Bradford, President of the shopping rewards platform Honey, recently joined a fireside chat as part of Bond’s Speaker Series, where she encouraged women to ask for growth and, along with that growth, more money. “Asking for a raise should be reframed as asking for more responsibility. [Bond] has a lot of room for growth and a lot of room for opportunity.” Being part of one of the fastest-growing early-stage fintechs means tremendous growth for myself as well.
I’m celebrating International Women’s Week with a company that values treating its employees and stakeholders equitably. Women engineers are vastly underrepresented — a misfortunate fact that has become so evident it’s bordering on truism territory — women comprise just 13% of the engineering workforce. With Bond empowering a female engineering team three times this size, led by a female, we believe that our women are fully engaged in our work.
It’s a smart business strategy to foster a female-friendly culture at all levels of the company and, regardless of gender, to encourage team members to bring their unique stories and identities to work.
I’m grateful to work at a firm with such values. I’m grateful Bond stands for equity.