CWRU WIT Student Perspectives: Salary Negotiations for Jobs in Technology

Student Perspective - Group

CWRU WIT hosted a video panel discussion in May with three Case Western Reserve University students who shared their experiences and advice for women looking for careers in technology.


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Anna Sedlackova, a BS in Computer Science with Software Engineering depth, currently finishing her MS in Computer Science with Artificial Intelligence depth.



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Nsisong Udosen, a BA in Human-Computer Interaction and Business Management. 



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Brianna Lemon, a Computer Science and Marketing major and a recent CWRU graduate. Brianna moderated the panel.



Here are highlights from the segment:

Brianna Lemon on Understanding Contract and Job Requirements

As Brianna explained, when it comes to salary negotiations, it is important to take the time to first truly examine the job position you are interviewing for. Having a better understanding of what is needed for that role will help you outline the various reasons you’re worth the amount you’re asking for.

It is essential to also make yourself familiar with salary rates and levels. Brianna recommended that you look up other similar job postings in your area, or even speak to people you know in that field. It also helps to keep in mind that there are other factors outside of salary that form your total compensation package. Your contract might offer monetary options like bonuses, paid training programs, or overtime pay that will eventually increase your base salary level and, in the end, “you might get paid more … So read your contract thoroughly,” she added.

Finally, it is important to delay your salary conversation until you get a job offer and always discuss it with someone from Human Resources. Salary negotiations are typically conducted through HR, not the manager with whom you interviewed.


Anna Sedlackova on the Importance of a Counteroffer

While discussing her salary negotiation experiences, Anna noted that recruiters would often “undercut her,” which would result in her taking the lowest salary level compared to her peers. She thinks one should keep in mind that recruiters are not your friends and it's their job to stay on target, budget-wise.

Anna further explained that it helped her to break the negotiation process into several steps. During the first step, she was offered the base compensation, Restricted Stock Units (RSUs), and a sign-on bonus. Next, she would make a counteroffer. When considering a counteroffer, there were several tactics she would use to increase her odds of getting more pay. She would make a case for why she should receive better compensation. She would focus on facts and discuss the value she could bring based on her previous experiences. Sometimes she would ask them to match another company’s competing offer. In other cases, she would bring up an example of one of her friends who had the same qualifications and background, but higher salary for a similar position.

“I would always try to argue with them … Sometimes they might tell you that they don't actually negotiate, but a lot of times they will because they do want to bring you on board.”


Nsisong Udosen on Advocating for Yourself

It was during her freshman year when Nsisong realized how important negotiating was. She remembered one day, while she was hanging out in the cafeteria with a group of students, they started discussing their salary levels and she realized she was being paid significantly less. “In that moment, I learned it is really important to advocate for yourself,” she said.

Additionally, Nsisong shared her recent experience with Google where she “did make a case” during the negotiation process -- she “outlined her skills and matched them up with a job description,” but the company was not flexible with the base salary she was initially offered. Three months later, however, they reevaluated her application and gave her a raise.

“So even if you get a no right now, it isn't a no forever,” Nsisong concluded.


To watch the video discussion segment on “Salary Negotiations for Jobs in Technology,” click here.

To watch the full panel discussion, click here.