FOUNDER, THE XX PROJECT
Why did you want this XX Project panel conversation to be about how to negotiate salaries and tips for improving your resume? Are these just important topics in general that help people with their careers?
During these challenging times, our community of members have reached out as many are going through career changes and looking to pivot. We created a Slack community with over 100 women looking for new job opportunities whose careers were affected by COVID. When COVID hit, I was flooded with messages from my community asking for advice on marketing themselves and finding a job. I wanted to connect them all to share intel and information to help one another. It’s important during these times to empower our community and give them the professional tools and skills. In honor of women’s history month, I wanted to highlight the best leaders in the space from founders to VC to help inspire women to advance their careers and take the risks needed to catapult their careers and find happiness in their true calling in work. It’s important to be strategic especially in today’s climate, and to know your worth and ask for it.
A Harvard study found that what a job description says the salary is negotiable, there isn’t much of a difference between salaries among genders. But when the description doesn’t say that, men wind up negotiating more and getting paid more. What do you make of that?
As women, we need to get comfortable with discomfort and uncomfortable conversations. We need to speak up for our worth and value, especially now more than ever with the uncertainty and ever-changing climate of business. It’s important to teach women how to negotiate with confidence and to empower one another by sharing insight and intel so we better understand the opportunities out there as we continue to grow and advance to the C-Suite and corporate leadership.
What makes a resume sent to your company really stand out in a good way? And should applicants be crafting their resumes to at least initially be read by a bot and AI, or by a person?
Bev’s hiring process is a bit different from that of other companies. Although we initially score candidates based on their qualifications and past experiences, we also take a deep look at who they are as people and make sure that their values align with our mission. We pride ourselves on straying away from the historic ways of hiring those who look best on paper and instead go after those we believe will grow in their roles and carry the Bev pillars into their day to day lives. Each member of our team is considered a part of the Bev family, and we make sure that each new hire feels the same as well.
How should women deal with pushback?
“I think it comes down to knowing your “why.” If you have conviction in yourself and what you do, you can push through a lot of tough scenarios. For me, it’s been about believing fully and wholeheartedly in what I’m doing. That power has enabled me to move past all the “no’s” and keep going after my vision.”
PARTNER, LIGHTSPEED VENTURE PARTNERS
We’ve read that venture funding for female-led companies was down last year, globally. Looking for funding may not literally involve sending a resume, but it certainly involves negotiation skills. What’s one lesson that you think is transferable to women everywhere, whether they are entrepreneurs or not?
Ask for more than what you think you’re worth – 1.5-2x is normally a good starting point if you tend to ask for too little. Research and make sure it’s not completely out of bounds but never be afraid to ask for more.
Aside from a raise, what other benefits should women keep in mind when negotiating?
In addition to a salary and bonus raise, women should also enquire about additional equity grants for great performance and higher bonus amounts that are contingent on performance benchmarks. Many employers are open to negotiating bonuses that are much higher than 10% of the salary if they can be tied to objective metrics. I’d also ask about education and women’s health benefits such as tuition assistance above the federally mandated amount and benefits for fertility treatments. And of course I’d always ask about 401k matching.
FOUNDER AND CEO, TEA DROPS
How does your company handle salary negotiations? Do you find that different genders have different approaches — and is one approach more effective than another in terms of winning a higher salary?
We hold bi-annual performance reviews. This is a time for us to review individual performance and personal development plans, but also to talk about salary adjustments. We strive to provide clear career journey milestones, and celebrate when those are achieved. I really appreciate when a team member advocates for herself when it comes to salary negotiation, especially if she can point to clear performance OKRs/KPIs that were met. I usually find with salary negotiations that data speaks volumes, and if you can point to tangible performance milestones, usually the negotiation lands in your favor.