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Convincing your executives to increase their hiring budget

Productivity
Salary / Work Conditions
Convincing
Hiring
Scaling Team

6 December, 2017

Javier was looking for a senior engineer to join his team but didn’t have a budget that would allow him to afford a high performer. He had to convince his executives to increase their hiring budget.

Problem

This year, we were trying to hire a full backend developer with at least five years of experience, which is a key position for us. We interviewed a couple of candidates and finally made an offer to our favorite one. He declined our offer as soon as he received it and told us that he was expecting 40 percent more in terms of pay. In the context of Silicon Valley, where competition is intense, I realized that we needed to increase our budget significantly if we wanted to hire top-notch engineers. However, after I realized our budget was not high enough, I had to convince my executives of this.

Actions taken

I gathered a lot of data and tried to present it in a way that would convince my executives that increasing the budget would result in our company being more profitable. First, I gathered internal data on the productivity of non-senior engineers, about the time they needed to accomplish certain tasks, about new projects that could be profitable for the company, and about the resources that they would require. I demonstrated to my executives that a small budget would result in us hiring a less productive engineer and that, at the end of the day, it would result in a loss for the company. I also gathered data on the salaries of senior engineers in our industry in the Bay Area and compared this with our company. We were offering a salary that was much lower than the market price. I presented this data to my executives, and I struggled for a month to convince them but finally managed to do so. Unfortunately, we lost the perfect candidate, but we are now able to interview top-notch engineers.

Lessons learned

Hiring the right engineer for the team requires a lot of time, and it is a shame to see an engineer decline your offer because you're offering compensation that is well below that offered by your competition. This is especially true if you work in the Bay Area, where engineers salaries increase constantly. You may also need to go through these types of discussions with your executives. My best advice is to bring a lot of data and to put it in a way that they will understand.


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