May 2022 Update: with the recent stock market crash + hiring pullback, negotiations are quickly becoming more difficult. We’re still able to secure substantial increases (and have seen 0 rescinded offers), but our negotiation strategies have had to evolve. Some simpler approaches that people may have used in the booming 2021 market are no longer viable - make sure you have the latest strategies and data.
The goal of this guide is to equip you with the essential pieces of information you need for your upcoming Facebook (or Meta) negotiation based on our experience with nearly 100 FBnegotiations. Facebook is one of the highest paying tech companies, and if you play your cards right, it can be one of the best companies to negotiate with. If your situation is unique or you want 1:1 support to ensure you maximize your compensation, sign up for a free consultation with our negotiation team.
Table of Contents
- Facebook Offer Compensation Components
- Industry Compensation Data
- Facebook Negotiation Process
- Facebook-Specific Negotiation Advice
Facebook Offer Compensation Components
Before starting any negotiation, it is critical you fully understand the compensation components offered. A typical job offer for a tech role at Facebook (e.g. Software Engineer) should contain the following monetary components:
- Base Salary
- Signing Bonus
- Equity (also known as Restricted Stock Units - RSUs)
- Performance Bonus
- Stock Refreshers
This is what an example Facebook IC5 offer looks like over a 4-year period:
|Year 1||Year 2||Year 3||Year 4|
|Stock Refreshers||Not specified||Not specified||Not specified||Not specified|
The high-level overview of compensation is important as recruiters often leave out key components (e.g. signing bonus). But, there are also some key differences within these components at Facebook vs other FAANG companies.
Facebook Base Salary
Facebook's base salary component is inline with other big tech companies. There is a base salary band associated with each role/level/location. The size of the band increases with seniority - at junior levels it is quite narrow. It is certainly possible to negotiate this component, but the increase will typically be smaller than equity and signing bonus increases. Base salary at Meta is paid bi-weekly in the United States and monthly in the United Kingdom.
Facebook Signing Bonus
Not all Meta offer letters include a signing bonus by default. It's a common recruiter trick to leave it out of the initial job offer. This can have a big impact on your total compensation at Facebook because they have one of the highest signing bonuses in the industry.
For most technical roles at Facebook, it is possible to negotiate a higher signing bonus even if it's not in your initial offer. The two most helpful pieces of leverage are 1) competing offers 2) retention bonuses at your current company. Many L5 software engineers we've worked with at Rora have been able to negotiate a $100K signing bonus with Facebook. For reference, at Google it is rare to get above $50K (though $75K is technically possible) for the L5 level.
Facebook will pay your signing bonus in your first month of employment - unlike Amazon which is prorated. They do require you to repay a portion of your signing bonus if you leave before the 1-year anniversary. Below I've included the wording from a L5 Facebook offer we negotiated recently.
"Sign-on Bonus. The Company will pay you a one-time, non-recurring sign-on bonus of $95,000 to be paid within thirty (30) days after your Start Date, subject to applicable withholdings. You will not actually earn the sign-on bonus unless you remain a full-time employee with the Company through and until the one-year anniversary of your Start Date. In the event you resign or your employment with the Company terminates for cause prior to the one-year anniversary of your Start Date, you will immediately repay a prorated portion of the sign-on bonus to the Company."
Sign-on Bonus. The Company will pay you a one-time, non-recurring sign-on bonus of $95,000 to be paid within thirty (30) days after your Start Date, subject to applicable withholdings. You will not actually earn the sign-on bonus unless you remain a full-time employee with the Company through and until the one-year anniversary of your Start Date. In the event you resign or your employment with the Company terminates for cause prior to the one-year anniversary of your Start Date, you will immediately repay a prorated portion of the sign-on bonus to the Company.
Facebook Equity (RSUs)
Facebook, like many big tech companies, vests equity evenly over 4 years. This means if you are granted $800K RSUs, you will receive the following:
- Year 1: 25% ($200K)
- Year 2: 25% ($200K)
- Year 3: 25% ($200K)
- Year 4: 25% ($200K)
The most common vesting schedule for software engineers at Meta is to have vest dates every 3 months. This is second fastest in FAANG only beat by Google's monthly vesting for candidates with >$160K in equity in their starting offer.
The RSUs are subject to a four-year quarterly vesting schedule. Facebook, Inc. has four Quarterly Vesting Dates each year: February 15th, May 15th, August 15th and November 15th.
As you can see in the offer image above, the actual amount of shares you receive is based on dividing the $ value by a "Share Value". This is usually the trailing average closing stock price of the 30 days before your start date. You can get an approximization by looking at the average price of the stock over the past 30 days (image below).
Meta is typically willing to negotiate equity, and the equity band is larger than for other components like base salary. That said, there are some key tactics to be aware of when negotiating equity with Facebook, which are covered in negotiation tips below.
Facebook Performance Bonus
Performance bonuses at Facebook are quite stable. While it is true that they are based on both your performance and the company's performance, the majority of engineers receive their target bonus or higher.
Facebook is quite transparent about target bonuses for each role/level. For example, an L6 software engineer will be given a 20% target bonus. Facebook pays out performance bonuses every 6 months. This is inline with their Performance Summary Cycle (PSC), which means your individual and company multiplier will potentially be different over the course of the year. Here is the wording from a Facebook offer letter:
Bonus. You may be eligible to receive a semi-annual discretionary bonus of up to a target of 20% of your Base Eligible Earnings as defined in Facebook, Inc.'s bonus plan. Based on your performance, you can over-achieve your bonus target pursuant to Facebook, Inc.'s bonus plan.
Facebook's target bonuses are slightly lower than Google for junior levels.
- L3 Facebook = 10% and Google = 15%
- L4 Facebook = 10% and Google = 15%
- L5 Facebook = 15% and Google = 15%
- L6 Facebook = 20% and Google = 20%
- L7 Facebook = 25% and Google = 25%
- L8 Facebook = 30% and Google = 30%
This component is not negotiable, but it's important to include it in your total compensation when comparing to other offers, especially when comparing to companies like Amazon that are much less likely to pay performance bonuses.
Facebook Stock Refreshers
Targets for stock refreshers are not included in the offer letter and therefore are more difficult to evaluate when comparing total compensation between multiple companies. However, as a general rule, Facebook provides one the highest stock refreshers in the industry. Apple (on certain teams) has the highest refreshers followed by Facebook, Google, Amazon, and Microsoft. It is worth asking your recruiter for the range for your role/level, as some are willing to disclose that information.
Industry Compensation Data
Rora has helped negotiate a wide range of offers at Facebook. Candidates of course need to know the latest role-specific salary information like the Facebook data scientist salary or the Facebook technical program manager salary. However, it can also be useful to understand these salary trends at the industry level. Hence, we've compiled that data for different roles setting the senior (L5) level as the benchmark.
|Role (Senior – L5-equivalent level)||Highest Offers in 2021|
|Software Engineer Salary||$425K + $100K signing bonus|
|Product Manager Salary||$370k + $75k signing bonus|
|Data Scientist Salary ||$325k + $50k signing bonus|
|Technical Program Manager Salary||$325k + $50k signing bonus|
|Product Designer Salary||$315k + $40k signing bonus|
|Marketing Salary||$260k + $40k signing bonus|
|User Experience Researcher Salary||$255k + $40k signing bonus|
Remember, the data points above are industry wide, not specific to Facebook. There are many company specifics at play here. For example, Facebook prioritizes design and a Facebook product designer salary tends to be above industry average. However, a Facebook sales salary is often below average.
Facebook Negotiation Process
Candidates often find it helpful to have a high-level overview of the negotiation process. However, this does vary by candidate, with one key vector being seniority. It's helpful to split into junior (E3 and E4) and senior levels (E5+). Here is a quick overview of Facebook levels.
Facebook Level Structure
- E3 - Entry Level Software Engineer (often new grads with Bachelor or Masters degree)
- E4 – Software Engineer
- E5 - Senior Software Engineer
- E6 - Staff Software Engineer or Engineering Manager (M1)
- E7 - Senior Staff Software Engineer or Engineering Manager (M2)
- E8 - Principal Software Engineer or Engineering Director (D1)
*Note: Facebook typically refers to engineers as E6 or IC6 not "Staff Software Engineer"
Negotiation Mistakes to Avoid
If you have not yet received an offer from Facebook there are a few critical mistakes to avoid:
- Do not share your current compensation. In many states (e.g. California) it is illegal for companies to ask this, so you are certainly within your rights to say "I do not feel comfortable sharing that information".
- Do not share your compensation expectations. Facebook recruiters will sometimes frame this as "seeing if you are a fit for the role". However, it is in your best interest to deflect this question until Facebook has extended an offer. One possible response is "right now I'm focused on the interview process and don't have a number in mind, but I'm confident we will be able to get to a number that works for both of us."
Facebook L3/L4 Offer Negotiation Process
With that out of the way, let's discuss the process for Facebook L3/L4 tech employees.
- After completing your onsite interview, you will often hear back from your recruiter within a few days.
- At junior levels you are typically being offered a general position vs. joining a specific team. At Facebook team matching is guaranteed (in a process called Bootcamp), so unlike Google they are able to extend offers before you finalize your team.
- On the initial call post-interview (i.e. the offer call), Facebook recruiters usually share the initial offer package. Sometimes when you have competing offers they attempt to withhold it until you give them expectations. It is usually possible to pushback and get the initial offer.
- During the offer call, the recruiter will ask you how you feel about the offer and discuss timelines. Facebook is not typically aggressive on timelines and can often be pushed to extend
- We recommend you take time to digest the initial offer and consider the best point of leverage for your counter offer discussion
- You will then setup your second call with the recruiter to discuss the offer. On that call you will disclose your counter offer. The recruiter will likely push back and at Rora we build a tree diagram unique to your situation with the most likely objections and the optimal responses to those objections. The goal is to get the recruiter to take your counter-offer back to the compensation committee
- Typically you will hear back in 1-3 business days with their "final" offer. It is possible to continue the negotiation at this point, but it often requires new information (e.g. you just received a higher offer from Stripe)
Senior Levels Negotiation Process
There are two primary differences between junior and senior negotiations at Facebook:
- Senior employees are likely to see fewer pressure tactics compared to junior employees. For example, requests for competing offers in writing can be more easily deflected. Generally speaking, recruiters working with these candidates provide more of a white glove service.
- Recruiters will push you more to give them an initial number, rather than providing an offer. Given the importance of senior leaders and the wide range of the salary bands, they are typically hesitant to risk losing a candidate. This means the first number you provide is hugely important for anchoring the negotiation.
Can I Lose my Facebook Offer by Negotiating?
This is by far the number 1 question Rora’s career partners are asked. It is a very common and valid fear, especially considering today’s volatile market conditions. But based on our data, what’s the actual probability that Meta would decide to pull the offer?
First, let’s discuss what benefits Facebook would get from rescinding your offer. The primary reason a hiring manager would elect to rescind an offer would be a fear of liability with their intended hire - i.e., this hire may cause a scandal, this hire will in no way be able to perform their duties, this hire will be detrimental to Facebook, etc. Aside from that, when an offer has been extended, Facebook has already invested a substantial amount of time and money into the candidate they’re giving an offer to, and should have a solid understanding of how this candidate will perform in the role. It would be a net loss for the company to go through all those interviews, conversations, and putting together the offer to then decide that they want to cut ties with the candidate – this is a risk they try to mitigate before giving an offer.
Even in this economy, we have seen clients get increases in their offers from companies of all sizes by making respectful and well-reasoned requests. A company is very unlikely to pull the offer based on negotiation - in our experience across thousands of negotiations, we’ve seen this happen less than 0.5% of the time. And that includes companies that are on hiring slowdown/freezes right now.
Now, there is a fundamental difference between getting an offer rescinded and losing the offer due to headcount. A headcount loss is solely based on the state of Facebook and the necessity of the role within the team. This isn’t common but can occasionally happen if needs at the company shift – and is more common with earlier-stage startups. It does not reflect your interview performance or skill level, and oftentimes companies will try to keep in touch with you and share other opportunities once headcount opens up. If your offer was rescinded, the company would not have any interest in keeping you warm.
Regardless of the low likelihood of getting an offer rescinded, we know that this is a very common fear – and one that often holds candidates back from negotiating! To help mitigate the risk (and increase your confidence while negotiating) - follow these dos and don’ts to lower the probability of your offer getting rescinded:
- Do keep it professional - avoid getting into politics or making jokes that may be poorly received and make your hiring manager think you might be a liability to the company
- Do give justification and reasoning behind your ask for increased compensation – this could be based on your market value, another opportunity you have, specific expertise you bring to the table, or the strong relationship you’ve built with your hiring manager
- Do your first compensation ask over a phone call - in most cases we see a higher rate of success and understanding when the first ask is done over a call versus an email
- Do demonstrate to your hiring manager that you’re a solid candidate who would be a strong hire by creating and collaborating on an impact roadmap (outlining your 30 day, 60 day, and 90 day goals for getting started in your new role and your understanding of the priorities for this position)
- Do your best to understand the necessity of the role on this team - How critical is it? How long has the role been open for? This can help you determine the likelihood of the headcount being lost – and also the leverage you may have in negotiating
Facebook-Specific Negotiation Advice
Here are some important pieces of information to keep in mind when negotiating your Facebook compensation.
Willing to negotiate early
If Facebook knows you are interviewing with other good companies like Google or Amazon, they are sometimes willing to give you your requested numbers (even without competing offers) if you say you are willing to drop out of those processes. This can be a particularly useful strategy if you think these other offers are going to have lower comp (e.g. Google is going to down-level you).
Discounts private company stock
Facebook compensation committee has a policy of discounting cross offers with private company stock by 25%. This is one of many reasons why it is often a bad idea to directly share your cross offer numbers with your recruiter. At Rora, we guide candidates on how to leverage these cross offers without receiving a 25% write down.
At Facebook the compensation team is a group of analysts (not technical) that increase offers based more on market factors (e.g. cross offers) vs technical factors (e.g. your background). Also, it's worth noting that recruiters start getting (and giving) timeline pressure once they bring a request for a higher offer to the comp team. Make sure you are close to finishing other processes before initiating this.
If you are applying for a job directly out of college and using the OPT visa, be aware that Facebook requires 2 years remaining on the visa in order for you to pass the immigration check. There are very rare cases where this can be avoided, but in most cases it is better to focus your efforts on other companies that don't have this strict rule.
Cares most about winning
Of all the companies we negotiate with, Facebook is the most willing to match or beat other offers (if you play your cards right). They have very flexible budgets, much more so than Google, and have recently been on a huge hiring spree where each candidate they lose, makes it that much harder to hit their targets.
Difficult to get "above band" Offers
Despite the aforementioned point on winning talent, Facebook almost never gives above band offers.This is in part because for comparable levels, they usually have the highest compensation in the industry and simply don't need to exceed their predefined band. As a corollary, FBfrequently updates their compensation bands so it's important to have the latest data.
Remote Salaries & Total Compensation
Facebook is very strict on market pricing and as a result does not have a set compensation band for remote workers. Instead, compensation varies based on which city you will be living in.