EG #17: Big Tech Money vs Job Availability
What Job Seekers Need to Know. Plan Your Pricing Strategy.
We're entering the largest game of musical chairs in recent memory in the tech job market.
There will not be enough seats for everyone when the music stops.
Companies hiring & paying Big Tech money < Companies Hiring
This is nothing new, it’s just more pronounced with the flood of talented people available in the job market.
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Imagine opening up LinkedIn now and seeing 200+ messages along with inquiries from Business Insider and the Wall Street Journal.
That is how much attention one particular engineer out of Microsoft I spoke with last week generated after he turned on the green Open to Work banner on his LinkedIn profile.
In the span of a few hours.
This is what is happening behind the curtain in tech hiring now.
I spoke with another person today with a little under 4 years of experience expecting $350K in total compensation based on what friends are getting and internet research.
For frame of reference, Directors in tech at some of the largest Investment Banks in New York City make a max of $250K on the base. That is with 15+ years of experience.
The divide between compensation expectations on both sides of hiring couldn’t be farther apart.
The person may be able to achieve that $350K total comp somewhere and I wouldn’t want to discourage trying to get paid the most you possibly can. As an independent recruiter, I’m paid a percentage of base salary by the company hiring. It’s in my own interest to get the best offer possible without jeopardizing the job opportunity.
That is why I advise thinking through your pricing strategy.
Person A: Expects the maximum salary offered. Needs to walk a tightrope of technical questions blindfolded without falling during the interview to be hired. Viewed through a manager’s lens of is this person really worth it? Am I willing to stake my reputation on it?
Person B: Expects less than the maximum salary offered. Is given flexibility during the interview. Viewed through a manager’s lens as value and less of a flight risk if they can’t get the maximum.
B is better for the company and also better for you as a job seeker.
Who do you think has an easier time in getting several offers & negotiating well?
Remember, you are competing for good jobs. The manager will have to explain why they are choosing you over every other possible option. Especially if you’re the most expensive. The perception now is that there is a lot of good talent available, so you can possibly be self eliminating with the highest salary expectations before even starting the interview process.
It’s not about what’s fair, what you deserve, what your friends are making, etc. These are subjective. Decouple those thoughts from the outcome. Let go of those illusions. You are not interviewing in a vacuum as the manager’s only option. Just as interviewing at one company is not your only option.
Play the game.
Underpromise and over deliver.
What can you do to make sure you grab a seat before the music stops?
Focus on companies with a similar tech stack where you’re likely to contribute faster. You can check company tech stacks here.
Focus on who you know. Organize it. I set up a Notion doc here for you. Mind both digital connections and people you’ve worked with in person before. Studies show the acquaintances can actually help the most with your job search.
Focus on where this particular job you’re interviewing for can help you go next. Look beyond the move right in front of you.
Reminder: Your salary doesn’t determine your worth as a human.
Went to the Jewish Museum this week to explore. Only the 3rd floor is open while old exhibits make way for new exhibits. Managed to find a few items that stood out.
I loved how this particular suitcase piece above, Travel Light, speaks to a precise moment in time while also making space for the future. Pieces like this make me think of legacy. What are you bringing? What are you leaving? What are you inspiring? Who are you bringing along for the ride? What would you add to your own bag here?
Untitled, the piece with the blocks & symbols, used a technique to mimic the free flow of words confined with the structure of meaning. A visual representation of this thought: Here’s what I intend to say, versus here’s what can be heard.
We all think we’re good communicators but that’s not reality. One bias that people often have about being good communicators is the "illusion of transparency," which refers to the belief that one's thoughts and intentions are more obvious to others than they actually are. This can lead people to assume that their message has been received and understood, when in fact it has not. This can lead to miscommunication and misunderstandings.
Seeing how museums incorporate technology fascinates me. Here was no exception. There was an intriguing room full of artifacts with a tablet in front to click on to find more information about the artifacts on display. I wonder if that will help inform what people want to see for future exhibits after taking a look at the analytics?
You don’t have to be Jewish to appreciate the collection here. I’d recommend stopping in when the full gallery is open in March.
Get your tickets in person as they are half price at $9 now.
The steps are starting to add up now.
20 mile long run done last week. Heading into the longest run of training at 24 miles this week.
We’re 6 weeks away from showtime in Tokyo.
One of the biggest challenges during this time is managing energy on long runs. Similar to managing energy during a day of work or job search.
Managing energy starts in your mind.
“Your mind is fickle. It can serve your best interests or it can derail your best intentions. And it has a huge impact on how much energy you have in a given moment. Begin to notice how your energy level changes with either a positive or negative thought or feeling.”
For example, that butterfly sensation you get in your stomach before a big interview for a job you really want is just a feeling. You assign the label “pumped” or “nervous” to it. Then your energy follows.
Imagine redirecting feelings to work for you instead of against you.
Turn that nervous feeling to pumped by noticing it and stopping the thought loop before it starts.
Catching the feeling in the moment is the first step.
On long runs, one of the ways I manage my energy is switching between focusing on my form & focusing on one point ahead. Then another point, then another point, then another point.
It’s a constant balance of internal and external calibration.
I spend time on the run thinking about what else I can relax. Steady breathing, pelvis rotating, shoulders down, feet landing with relaxed toes, loose jaw, no forehead wrinkles.
When you relax, you end up going faster and enjoying the experience more.
Kind of like when you’re interviewing and not seeking the maximum when corporate demand for skills at the current Big Tech salary level is waning.
Come in with reasonable expectations and create a good bidding war instead of having to walk on water from the outset.
Big price tags come with big expectations.
Make sure the tradeoffs are even for you.
Relaxing and focusing on each point in front of you as you move forward during your job search will help you keep good form and finish strong.
Let’s keep moving.
See you next week,
How have you seen pricing strategy play out in your own job search or when hiring?
Let us know in the comments or simply reply to this email.
I read all responses.
Quote from Chi Marathon by Danny Dreyer & Katherine Dreyer
> The manager will have to explain why they are choosing you over every other possible option.
This is severely under-considered by job seekers and low experienced independent software vendors.
I'm into the 4th month (I catered for 6 months) of negotiations with my pillar customer precisely because extra people (from their other country units) have to be brought in to justify the increase in pay I'm seeking.
It doesn't matter that I've been under-charging all along.
Sourcing at large customers and hiring at large corporations have their own internal logic a job-seeker or an independent vendor needs to respect.
Individuals who sign off on your pay package need to be able to explain themselves when they're put under a microscope.
The bigger the jump, the more scrutiny.
Thanks for the industry insights, Jen!
So, given current industry conditions, do you think a manager would prefer:
* a candidate who's asking for max salary but matches all required skills, or
* a candidate who's asking for less than max salary, but only matches on some skills?