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Affirm Salary Negotiation Guide

Do we like negotiating with Affirm?

Affirm does negotiate and it's particularly important to make sure you have a strong negotiation because offers often have a decent amount of room. Additionally, Affirm currently pays below top of market so accepting the first offer would mean you aren't being paid what you are worth.

Affirm's compensation structure

Affirm has a particularly unique compensation structure with 3 year vesting + "additional equity grant".

  • Base Salary
  • Affirm Equity Package (see Affirm’s RSU vesting schedule below)
  • Additional equity grant that vests over the first two years (not included in all Affirm salary packages and not as large as the three-year RSU package)
  • Affirm Signing Bonus (not included in all Affirm offer packages)
  • Stock Refreshers

When calculating the value of your Affirm equity compensation, remember that Affirm uses a 90 day trailing average to determine the share price for your grant. Given the recent market selloff, this can create bad situations where your equity is calculated based off an average share price that is 50% higher than the current market price.

Affirm performance bonus targets

Affirm does not offer performance bonuses, and its stock refresher program is unfortunately quite bad. Other than for promotions/exceptional performance, they only give refreshers every two years. This refresher frequency is lower than the industry standard and you can expect less than 50% of a new hire grant, which then vests over 3 years.

Affirm's approach to remote pay

Affirm is remote-first but has offices in major cities for individuals wanting to work in person. As for Affirm's remote pay, it's one of the few companies that doesn't discount pay heavily based on location. Usually, the discount is 10-15% for lower paying areas in the US.

Affirm's relocation package

Affirm usually doesn't require new employees to move as it is remote first. However, if you are asked to move, you should shoot for a minimum $10k+ relocation package.

Most negotiable component

Affirm’s most negotiable component is equity, and this is especially true if your initial offer doesn't have the additional 2-year equity grant. On the other hand, the Affirm cash sign-on bonus is the least negotiable piece, as Affirm has an unusually small range for signing bonuses.

Does Affirm require written offers?

In some unique cases we've seen recruiters at Affirm ask for written offers, but usually it is fine to deflect this as many companies hold off on providing a written offer until you are ready to sign. The recruiters at Affirm do sometimes request details regarding the offer location and breakdown.

Will Affirm go above band if I have a strong competing offer?

Affirm is quite conservative with employee comp and has a hard time going above band.

Is my hiring manager relationship important at Affirm?

We haven't seen hiring managers have a large impact on negotiations at Affirm, but to some extent this varies by team and individual HM.

What does the hiring process look like at Affirm?

The hiring process for a software engineer at Affirm can have up to five stages: phone screen with a recruiter, a call with the hiring manager, take home technical assessment, onsite interview, and finally the offer stage (this is where the Affirm offer negotiation begins).

Does Affirm pay well compared to Square?

No. In 2021 for L6 senior software engineering positions Square was paid ~$540K/year whereas Affirm was rarely over $400K/year. Equity is where we see the biggest gap between the two companies.

What kind of benefits does Affirm offer?

Affirm has some excellent benefits including unlimited PTO and a $1000 stipend for working from home. That said, you should focus your negotiation on the monetary components like equity and base salary.

Affirm Equity Vesting Schedule

Year 1
33%
Year 2
33%
Year 3
33%
Year 4
%
Year 5
%
Year 5
%

Affirm Levels

Affirm Level

L4

L5

L6

L7

L8

L9

=

Equivalent Level at Google

L3

L4

L5

L6

L7

L8

Why use us?

Our Clients Love Rora

Coming from a non-FAANG background, I was shocked to find out how much I could be earning. Before I signed up with Rora, I made the mistake of telling Amazon my current compensation. Thankfully, Rora knew exactly how to fix it and ended up getting me an offer that was 2.3X what I previously made and more than $600K higher than Amazon’s initial offer!

Through several weeks of interviews, Ganesh was always available to make sure I knew what to say for each conversation. I interviewed with start ups, Google, Facebook and Amazon and was really impressed that Rora knew the comp ranges and were able to give me tailored advice for each – even the start ups.

There ended up being two particularly complex moments in my negotiation. One of the start-ups I had a personal relationship with and I wasn’t sure how it would affect the negotiation. I like that there was a focus on my individual circumstances and that they were leveraged to get me a higher offer. The other situation is that Amazon made a mistake on my written offer and initially wouldn’t rectify it. Ganesh was able to guide me through a challenging conversation to get it resolved.

Steve Commisso
L7 Principal Software Engineer, Amazon

Thanks to Wilson and the team at Rora I got a ~$250K increase on my remote Facebook offer! I was initially worried I wouldn’t have much leverage because Facebook reached out to me, and I wasn’t interviewing anywhere else. Rora introduced me to an Amazon L7 recruiter and helped me get that process started. I didn’t even end up needing to finish the Amazon interviews, since we were able to use some early compensation conversations to justify our numbers to Facebook.

At one point I was also considering pushing for an E7 role, and they wrote up a great script for me to broach the subject with my recruiter. She ended up giving me the option to do an additional interview to be considered for the higher-level position.

The whole process was very smooth, and I wouldn’t hesitate to use the service for any future negotiations. I found the regular calls with Wilson where we walked through strategy and discussed the scripts to be extremely helpful. Not only did it help with this negotiation, but I also learned a lot of useful negotiation tactics that I’ve already started to use in other situations.

Chris Jones
E6 Software Engineer, Facebook

As an engineering leader with decades of experience and having now gone through the negotiation with the team at Rora, the only thing I can say is — get the help. Whether you realize you need it, or even if you think you don’t. Just because you have done well in engineering doesn't mean that you understand the tactics and limits of the recruiting process.

Rora helped me get a $200K increase on my original Facebook offer without any competing offers.  It was clear that Rora was deeply familiar with Facebook's negotiation playbook. I’d honestly give the experience an 11/10.

In addition, Rora guided me on how to get the position switched to a revised remote role which was a huge deal at a personal level. They showed me how to redirect FB’s questions so that I could explore the possibility of not relocating, without ever having to say no to my original offer.

E7 Hardware Engineer
Facebook

This is my first FAANG role and I'm so happy I worked with Rora (thanks again Annie!) for the negotiation. My goal was to increase my Google offer, but I was in a tricky situation where I only had 1 other interview (no offer yet) at a small startup. With their guidance, I managed to get a $240K increase on my Google offer, despite Google's policy of requiring cross offers in writing to justify an increase.

The mock negotiations were a big part of why I was able to get this increase. Going into the negotiation, I assumed the key factor was what to say but I quickly learned that how you say it is equally if not more important. This was clear when over the course of the call"no" turned into "I'll see what I can do" and eventually"I think we can make this work". A big part of this was also having someone with me on the calls to provide real time guidance. This took a lot of the stress out of the situation. I can't recommend this team highly enough!

Andrei Gorbushkin
L5 Technical Program Manager, Google

After receiving several job offers, I needed to make a decision within a few days. I wanted to make sure I was getting the best offer possible, so I decided to use Rora. I was very pleased with their service. My coach, Sameer, was well prepared and had information about what compensation increases were likely possible. He provided detailed scripts covering a range of scenarios, and he did practice negotiations with me that helped me feel confident when I had the actual conversations.  

With his help I was able to increase one offer by $45k per year plus get a $50k signing bonus and then use that to increase my offer from Square, which was my first choice. All throughout he was very responsive as I was dealing with some tight deadlines and looking to wrap things up quickly. Rora's fee was only a tiny fraction of the increase they helped me negotiate, and even though they would have made more money if I had taken the highest offer, Sameer always put my goals first and never pressured me to do so. I highly recommend Rora!

L6 Software Engineer
Square

My friend introduced me to Rora and I’m so glad they did. I initially did some calculations to see if working with them would be worth it - my final increase ended up being ~3x higher than what I had estimated to be possible!

Their data is much more accurate than anything I found online. Without Sameer's guidance, I would have never known (and would have probably been too nervous) to ask for >$800K for anAmazon L7 offer. Of course, it's not just not enough to throw out a big number, you also need to be able to justify it. Sameer guided me through negotiating an up-level at another company, which I didn’t even know was possible at my level. With their scripts, I was able to leverage my competing offer to get exec approval for my Amazon offer. They also knew all the tricks Amazon would play (e.g., assuming 15% stock appreciation) and exactly how to counter them.

My total 4-year compensation increased by $570K. I don't think I've ever had a higher ROI – I’m very thankful that this service exists!

L7 Principal Software Engineer
Amazon

Maximize your Affirm Offer

Affirm

has a unique set of negotiation policies. If you don’t have experience negotiating with them, you risk losing out on large amounts of money because of very small mistakes.

There are many of these rules you need to know to get the highest

Affirm

offer possible.