Closing the Deal/Negotiating: How Do You Land the Job?

Besides the typical rules for negotiating a job offer, keep a few things in mind for the tech industry.


When the tech job market has tons of open roles relative to workers, you can often request benefits you otherwise wouldn’t get, even if the situation was different a few years prior.

One of the easiest things to negotiate are remote work and flexible hours, and you can often get one or the other very easily.

You’ll usually get performance-based bonuses, as well as a sign-on bonus, which is negotiable with everything else.

Often, a startup or large company will issue equity bonuses, and you can really negotiate the heck out of them, so make sure you know a few things:

  1. How long until you’re vested (i.e., when you officially own the stock)
    • Industry-standard vesting is a 1-year cliff or 4-year monthly/quarterly, but no longer.
    • Keep an eye out for 4+ year vesting.
  2. Clawbacks (i.e., losses if you leave before a set amount of time)
    • Industry-standard clawback is for up to 2 years.
  3. When you can convert the shares/cash
    • Equity refreshers are part of the bonus, often with 3-year vesting.
    • Watch out for stock that’s granted as dollars in an IPO or short time windows to exercise your stock options.
  4. IPO lockup periods (i.e., times that you can’t sell)

Unfortunately, salary and perks aren’t as easy to negotiate as many other industries.

Most of the large companies in the industry will offer a sign-on bonus for joining that’s typically in the range of the annual bonus target, and many other mid-sized companies often do as well.

Signing safely

When signing for a job offer, be very careful about what you’re signing, no matter how much pressure they’re putting on you.

  • A non-disclosure agreement may forbid you from communicating what you do, even including obvious things (e.g., the “advanced framework” is simply some Kubernetes containers).
  • Pay very close attention to how they word their intellectual property policy. Simply using their computer while working on your personal project may legally entitle the company to own all your work, especially if you work for a large tech organization.

Pay close attention to every detail tied to the contract you’re signing.

  • Every employee benefit may have strings attached, and may require additional time in employment with them.

Be careful if they’re too trusting or anything seems out-of-place whatsoever.

  • Scammers use social engineering tricks to appear legitimate, and they can go to tremendous lengths to that end.
  • The scope of their efforts are far enough that they’ll often set up a fake website, prepare legal documents, and continuously correspond to that end.
  • This job scam on Indeed is a great example of how far they can go, and how legitimate it may all appear.
  • If you have any doubts, try to contact other people in the company and ask what they may know about the role or people involved.

Awful experiences

The tech industry is filled with young, trendy people, so you’re likely to not know about awful jobs until you experience it personally.

The beauty of the industry is that things move fast, so nobody bats an eye at short-term back-to-back experiences.

Most contracts run on an even number of months, so if you must quit, make sure it’s an even number of months (e.g., if it’s late June and you started in April, try to hold on until early July).

Of course, it might be possible you’re battling a general dissatisfaction bleeding into your work environment. It’s not uncommon for technically gifted people to be so intelligent that they don’t work on other components of themselves such as finding satisfaction in life, getting along with others, or finding meaning.

However, some companies are so bad that they’ll actually fail to contact you after getting a job offer. In many ways, you dodged a bullet.

Further Reading