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Slack Salary Negotiation Guide

Do we like negotiating with Slack?

Slack is willing to negotiate but negotiations have been trickier since the Salesforce acquisition closed. The company is known to have exceptional WLB, and they are using that as a way to win candidates rather than competing on compensation. In some ways, this makes it even more important to negotiate to ensure you aren't paid below market rates.

Slack's compensation structure

  • Base Salary
  • Equity Package (see the Slack vesting schedule below)
  • Performance Bonus (varies by levels)
  • Slack Sign on Bonus (not included in all initial offers)
  • Slack Stock Refreshers

Since Slack was acquired by Salesforce, you will of course receive Salesforce shares from the RSU package. These shares vest evenly over a 4-year period with a 1-year cliff.

Slack performance bonus targets

The cash performance bonuses are as follows:

  • Associate Engineer – 10%
  • Engineer – 10%
  • Senior Software Engineer – 15%
  • Staff Software Engineer – 15%
  • Senior Staff Software Engineer – 20%
  • Principal Software Engineer – 20%

As mentioned above, Slack also does technically have performance-based stock refreshers. They used to be fairly generous with these, but Salesforce has notoriously low refreshers, so you shouldn't factor these into your offer. On the other hand, a high % of employees at Salesforce receive their performance bonus, and we expect this to continue to be the case for Slack offers.

Slack's approach to remote pay

Slack is a remote friendly company and is known to be quite flexible with remote work. However, we have seen a few cases where they are hesitant to offer remote positions in high cost of living areas - likely because they don't save any money from these. Slack’s remote salary, like most companies, varies across each component (except performance bonus) based on where you live.

Slack's relocation package

Slack, most of the time, does not require employees to move since it is a remote friendly company. Though, if you are required to move, you should push for a $10k+ relocation bonus. It is also possible in some cases to secure additional benefits such as corporate housing for 1-2 months.

Most negotiable component

Equity is the most negotiable component at Slack, as is the case for most tech companies. However, Slack equity bands (especially post Salesforce acquisition) are much narrower than other top tier tech companies. This means that for Slack it is best to focus on negotiating the total compensation package. Base salary, equity, and signing bonus are all negotiable and the size of increase is more comparable across the three components vs. other companies in the industry. The one caveat to this is that senior staff and principal positions are more in line with industry standards.

Does Slack require written offers?

Slack usually does not require written offers, but they may ask for some high-level details about the cross offers.

The challenge with Slack isn't usually getting them to believe a competing offer - they often believe it but are unwilling to match the offer unless you play your cards right.

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

This is very unlikely at Slack in our experience. They strongly prefer to compete on other factors like WLB and in some cases are willing to lose candidates to other offers.

Up-levelling is often a better strategy if it's not possible to make the compensation numbers work at your current level, and the negotiation strategy for up-levelling is similar to a traditional above band request. Slack has a unique levelling system which we outline below (eventually this may be merged into the salesforce levelling system).

Is my hiring manager relationship important at Slack?

There is a centralized compensation committee that sets Slack salary bands. This reduces the importance of the hiring manager relationship, and in our experience it's less critical to have that at Slack vs companies like Amazon. However, it definitely won't hurt to have a good relationship with your hiring manager for the negotiation and once you start in the new role.

What does the hiring process look like at Slack?

Slack's hiring process typically has 5 stages: phone screen, technical exercise, hiring manager interview, “onsite” interview and offer stage.

The initial phone screen interview is where you get an opportunity to talk about your background and experience.

The technical exercise could be in the form a take home. The assignment will vary on the basis of the position.

The third interview is a chat with your hiring manager. The questions will be about your background and what you are looking for in the role. This is sometimes combined with the onsite.

The last stage of interviewing is the “onsite” interview, though this is currently virtual. It usually involves multiple rounds of interviews with the team and the hiring manager.

Lastly, if you succeed and an offer is extended, this is where your Slack salary negotiation process will begin.

Does Slack pay well compared to Square?

Let's consider a Slack software engineer salary. Square and Slack are both known to have strong engineering cultures and have grown rapidly the past few years. For a senior engineer at Slack, a top of the band offer would $380k and at Square it would be about $360k. However, the split is a little different - Square usually offers more equity and Slack offers a higher base salary.

What kind of benefits does Slack offer?

While Slack’s signing bonus, base pay, and stock grants should be the focus of your negotiation, there are other perks that are offered by the company. The most unique benefit is that they provide legal services at no cost to their employees. Also, one positive of the Salesforce acquisition is that Slack now has unlimited PTO, and this is actually a company where people are able to take advantage of that perk.

Slack Equity Vesting Schedule

Year 1
25%
Year 2
25%
Year 3
25%
Year 4
25%
Year 5
25%
Year 5
%

Slack Levels

Slack Level

Associate Engineer (G03)

Engineer (G04)

Senior Engineer (G05)

Staff Engineer (G06)  

Senior Staff Engineer (G07)

Principal Engineer (G08)

=

Equivalent Level at Google

L3

L4

Top of L4 and L5

Between L5 and L6

Between L6 and L7

Between L7 and 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 Slack Offer

Slack

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

Slack

offer possible.