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August 22, 2021

Natalie’s Negotiation

Natalie had a target compensation number on her vision board for years, without any confidence that she would reach it. She was smiling and laughing as she reflected on her negotiation, and how she achieved a 60% increase in total compensation.

How did you feel in your role and what prompted you to consider switching jobs?

I was a Director in my former role, and when I delivered a performance review to a manager on my team, I realized that I was underpaid. I knew then that it was time to start looking around.

A recruiter reached out to me about a VP role. I thought, ‘I’m not going to get it, but let me at least go through the process.’

How did you think about your target compensation?

I had a number on my vision board. I had written a goal salary that I wanted to achieve, then I crossed it out and wrote an even bigger number. I didn’t know how I would ever get there, but I wanted to dream big. I was nervous to put that number out – I had to do a lot of work to believe that I was worth it.

How did Worthmore help you prepare?

After the interviews they said, ‘tell us what you want and we’ll make it work.’

Kathryn told me to ask how the base, bonus, and stock were calculated before providing a number, so I went back to them and asked for a breakdown.

The hiring manager walked through an example with me. The number he threw out was great, but I didn’t think he would have thrown out the top end of the range, so I knew I could go higher.

What happened in the negotiation?

I drafted an email, and it probably took me 30 minutes to write. I started with a range, but then I thought of what Kathryn would say, ‘Just put the number and they’ll come down if they need to.’

‘I would like the cash number to be $XXX,XXX, please let me know how we can get as close that as possible.’

I can’t tell you how much time I spent on that one sentence. I hit send and had to walk away from the computer. Waiting for a response felt like the longest time. Did I go in too high?

What was the outcome?

‘That was a little higher than we were expecting,’ they said. But they made it work – the total compensation ended up being above the top end of the range that the recruiter had initially quoted. It was also $3,000 over the number on my vision board.

How did you feel when you heard the offer?

I thought the number on my vision board would be my next, next job. I didn’t see it happening now.

I remember when the recruiter shared the final offer with me. I was in shock. At first I thought, ‘I’m going to have to work so hard now.’ I had to stop myself, ‘No. You are worth this. You are going to work hard, but you are worth it and they believe in you and you believe in you.’

To go into a role feeling that level of support from the company, it feels amazing.

What lessons did you takeaway?

I’m a firm believer in the vision board. When I hit a goal, I put the date and leave it there. It’s a confidence boost to remember what you have achieved.

Looking back, I wanted to be a VP and I wanted that target comp, but I didn’t think I could actually get there. The lesson I’ve taken is to think uncomfortably big because you can get there. Now I’m thinking about how big I can dream for the next five years.

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