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I recently received job offers from two well known tech companies, A and B. Company A has yet to give me any specifics of the offer- and they're asking for detailed information on Company B's offer off which to base their offer.

Is it okay for me to give them this information, and if so, how should I deliver it? Can I say something as explicit as "Company B is offering me $110K, 40K bonus, 160K SO", or should I give more vague ranges (i.e. "Company B is offering between $100 - 120K, etc...")? I'm worried that if I give an exact number, they'll just beat that number slightly and then refuse to bump any further.

Thanks--

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    Which job do you want more? It sounds like company A is playing games with you. – JasonJ Sep 29 '16 at 20:51
  • I'm leaning towards B. Company A just gave me an offer though (< 1 day ago), so it's not as though they are refusing to tell me anything. – sir_thursday Sep 29 '16 at 20:53
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    Neither company should ask or be told about the other. How does Company A even know that you have an offer from Company B? – A. I. Breveleri Sep 29 '16 at 21:06
  • I told A that I had an offer from B and the deadline of the offer in order to: (1) receive an expedited interview process, (2) increase my value as a potential hire. – sir_thursday Sep 29 '16 at 21:09
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    Right, I'm really not looking to lever them back and forth against one another- I realize that is risky, greedy, and just generally frowned upon when negotiating. That being said, I do feel like it is important to convey to each company that they have to compete to hire me, that is, multiple companies decided that I passed some kind of "mark" to be hired. It makes me a safer hire, and I believe it's important to be compensated for that. – sir_thursday Sep 29 '16 at 21:15
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Company A is trying to gather information to optimize their (potential) offer to you in their favor. It's not wrong for them to ask you for the information, but you're under no obligation to give it to them, and there may be a confidentiality clause attached to the offer from Company B, in which case you would be prevented from sharing details of their offer with anybody.

You have to decide whether Company A is where you want to work, and whether it's worth risking losing the offer from Company B.

If Company A had already given you a formal offer, it might be different. Then you would be negotiating. But for now, they're hoping they won't have to compete against market values for labor in your area. They just want to compete against Company B. You should consider their attitude about it when/if they make you a formal offer.

If you end up with offers from both companies, then you can share details with both sides (assuming there are no restrictions on sharing details, which I'd say would be a show stopper because they want to bind me and I don't even work for them, yet). This will put a little more negotiating power in your corner.

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    The confidentiality clause is a great point. I believe there is one on my offer from B, so I'll refrain from sharing details of B's offer to A. – sir_thursday Sep 29 '16 at 21:23
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    @sir_thursday good catch. You should be able to negotiate around it. "The specifics of my other offer are confidential, however, were you to offer X, Y or Z, I would accept your offer. – Chris G Sep 29 '16 at 21:33
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edited slightly due to Company B's confidential offer. You'll want to verify with the confidentiality clause that my answer doesn't violate it.

It depends on your goals.

If you want the best possible offer from Company A, give them very broad ranges.

Total year 1 compensation is in the range of $300k.

The risk is that Company A has sticker shock and you get no offer.


If you want a definite, though possibly lower, offer from Company A, don't tell them anything.

I'm not at liberty to say more than that their offer was competitive. (they persist) The offer is confidential, and I think it's premature to negotiate salary as you haven't presented an offer yet. (they still persist) Your unwillingness to respect my obligation to not discuss the other offer at this time makes me seriously question whether your company would respect me as an employee.

note it should make you seriously question their ethics and how they would treat you as an employee

The risk is that Company A comes in much lower. Though your counter to leverage your exisitng offer.

I think the $20k starting bonus and $200k in SO is very reasonable. If you can offer $110,000 in base salary, I will accept that offer right now.

You could end up with your preferred company and more money. Though they may not be willing to match. Then you have to decide if your preference is worth the monetary delta.


Since your comment mentions you prefer Company A, the second answer is lower risk, higher reward.

Edited to steal some wording from @HireThisMachine's answer

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I wouldn't share your offer. Once you share they are less incentivized to offer up a competitive number. If they press you for an answer, say something like "They offered an acceptable compensation package for my skills and talents".

If you do decide to share though, don't be wishy-washy, they already have an idea of what the ranges are.

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