Stark HR Magazine Jan/19 - Page 14

ne of the best things

you can do with new

hires is not negotiate. Negotiation on salary and equity can reward the wrong kind of people and the wrong kind of behavior. If you negotiate, you're primarily rewarding people who are good at negotiating. This is probably not the skill set you’re focusing on hiring at an early-stage startup, and talented engineers, for

instance, are often not the strongest negotiators.

This can be hard when you start hiring business-oriented people because they're hard-wired to negotiate, but you should hold firm. Try to say, "Look, we base equity on your employee number and it’s a formula. We can talk about the numbers as much as you want, but we don’t negotiate on either salary or equity."

It can lead to candidates walking out the door because they aren’t comfortable with salary. If you know you pay competitively and sustainably, and if you want people to join because they love the product and the team, you want to hire people who care about the company’s burn rate and know that salaries are the biggest part of that for most companies. These are hard conversations to have, but they set up a much better system and a much happier team over time.

So what should you do? One of the simplest ways to find a fair base salary for someone is to create three different levels — that way you leave room for people to grow — and pay everyone at the same level the same amount.


Make salary and equity as formulaic as possible so it's easy to explain to folks you're trying to hire.