Executive-ish Job Offer Negotiation?
August 24, 2017 8:56 AM   Subscribe

I'm considering a Senior Vice President job at a media company - by far the most senior level position I've been considered for. I'm an attorney by training and have helped friends negotiate their offers in other lines of work (usually doctors) but I'm not used to being in the position of negotiating an executive level job offer beyond some general basics (sign-on bonus, salary, equity, etc). At a certain level, should I hire my own attorney to help negotiate the offer? Have people done this themselves? Did it help to have another attorney involved?
posted by buddha9090 to Work & Money (3 answers total)
I think it's very unusual to involve a lawyer in a straightforward job offer (i.e., simply a position for hire, not a partnership), and it might even spook the employers. I'm sure that they are expecting YOU — attorney and senior VP material — to be a negotiator.
posted by ubiquity at 10:24 AM on August 24, 2017 [1 favorite]

If I were you, I would get in touch with an executive compensation attorney and get some advice on what you should be asking for or considering. They will have dealt with many, many situations around executive compensation, both in entering and exiting a company, that they will have a much better grasp for what's par for course.

If you end up paying an attorney $X, and they can increase your compensation by, say, $2X annually, I can't imagine a good reason not to do so. This person won't be there negotiating for you, but they will be advising you on the side. I have not been in such a scenario, but even those being hired for non-executive positions are given some amount of time to decide on/negotiate an offer.

So, two things:
1. Talk to an executive compensation attorney
2. Make sure it's someone who comes recommended, and not based on a random internet search.
posted by Goblin Barbarian at 1:56 PM on August 24, 2017

No, it would be very odd to hire a lawyer for this unless they are asking you to sign a contract and you want another set of eyes on it (in which case you would still negotiate with the company, but might have your lawyer read the contract and give you advice behind the scenes).

Do you have any friends who work at the company or at similar roles at other companies? If it's a large company the types of compensation are set (e.g., bonus, equity) but the amount is probably flexible. Ranges are somewhat large at the executive levels, which is both good and bad - like all negotiating situations you do the best if you have a good viable alternative plan and know the market well.

In a similar situation I've generally asked around to see what range of total compensation I should expect, then thought about what I want and would be happy with, then told the company I want total annual compensation in a specific $$ range. I don't really care what form that compensation takes, but YMMV. All of the typical negotiating things apply - ask for a bit higher than you would accept and they'll come back a few times with offers. The main differences with an executive job vs a regular job is that the range of compensation is larger, they likely want/need you more because you have something specialized to bring to the company, and the compensation is usually heavily in non-salary elements like bonus and stock. If it's a large and established company they won't have flexibility on other elements like vacation etc., so don't bother with trying that stuff.
posted by rainydayfilms at 7:24 PM on August 26, 2017

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