Negotiating a job offer & salary in esports

So you’ve started networking in esports and found a potential job lead. You’ve got some good vibes, sent your esports resume off and have been asked about a potential position! You’ve then interviewed for your role and need to discuss salary. That’s absolutely great news! Discussing salary can be an awkward discussion for many. Negotiating a salary is one of the most important steps as it’ll set you up for success in the future as well. Here are some tips from my non esports related jobs that can help you negotiate salary in esports as well.

  1. Know what your worth is
    • This may be quite difficult in esports as the industry is quite immature in terms job availability and knowledge of what people get paid. My general tip would be the following. If you are in IT development and are a good developer, chances are you’d be getting paid regardless if the job were in esports or not. That doesn’t mean you should take a 50% pay cut to be in esports when you can get paid double in say banking or another startup. Make sure you know your worth and don’t get exploited salary wise.
    • The reason why this is #1 is because you NEED to do your research here. Talking to recruiters, checking glassdoor, indeed, asking friends is all invaluable. Make sure you don’t undersell yourself but also be realistic.
  2. Aim high, but not too high
    • This can be extremely difficult without knowing what your worth is and not doing enough research. Let’s say your skillset is quite in demand and you’ve landed an offer. You can aim quite high in your salary expectations for your job offer in esports. However, if you don’t have a lot of leverage and you’re currently struggling it may be better to be realistic or go to another industry first THEN go into esports. Personally, depending on the role. I’d rather hire someone who has real world job experience and an interest in esports rather than someone with no job experience and more esports experience.
    • The second reason to aim high is because more than likely the employer will negotiate down. This allows you wiggle room to discuss your salary and what you feel comfortable with.
  3. Give a number
    • This one comes down to preference but I prefer to give a number. For example, rather than a broad range.. I’ll say an exact number like “$80,000” or whatever you want for your salary. This goes back to doing your research and the employer may think you’ve done quite a bit.
  4. Be prepared to walk away
    • Just like in business deals or pitching your esports business, be prepared to walk away if an offer doesn’t make sense. If you really want to work somewhere but they’re only going to pay you 40% below your worth and you’re unsure if you can make ends meet or not, be prepared to walk away. Chances are, another opportunity will come up and you’ll be able to get a higher paying job later.
  5. If an offer includes equity, be sure to ask A LOT of questions
    • Right now, a lot of companies are offering equity in their esports startups. Asking questions such as the following can help:
      • What is your market cap?
        • This asks what is the value of your company
      • How much will I own of the company as a percentage on a non diluted basis?
        • If they’re offering you 10,000 shares but on a non diluted basis you own .05% of the company for a senior VP role or founder role and they haven’t gone public. Chances are this is not a good offer.
      • How much runway do you have before raising or running out of money?
      • What is your exit strategy?
      • Do you expect to go public?
      • What voting rights or privileges do my shares offer me?
      • When do these vest?
        • Ie do you get shares that you can sell immediately or are there conditions like you can only sell them in 10 years (if the company exists)
  6. Sell yourself
    • This is an important step. If you don’t believe you should get paid a certain amount of money why should the employer? Believe in yourself and feel free to practice with friends or family if needed.
  7. IF you’re nervous, keep it to email.
    • You can keep it on script this way and you don’t have to get sidetracked with someone more experienced. You can also take time to digest your offer and then counter or discuss.
  8. Look at the total compensation offered
    • Generally, recruiters or managers like to sell you on the bigger picture. “Possibilities are limitless”, “We offer great benefits” etc. Sometimes they’re full of it but other times they can are telling the truth. Do your research and compare to other market jobs if possible. For example, if a company says they value work life balance but you have to clock in and out at the exact time and offer 1 week vacation tops, chances are they’re going to make you work. On the other side, if it’s “unlimited vacation” you may be pressured to not take any vacation at all due to the work culture. Doing your research and looking at comparable companies is important here. Ask around!
  9. No is OK
    • If you get rejected or the company can’t come to terms with you, that’s ok. No is part of the process and sometimes you have to move on.
  10. Being nervous is OK
    • Even if it’s your first negotiation or your twentieth, there are some level of nerves always involved especially if emotions get involved. It could be a massive promotion and you may take any offer they throw your way. The best way to negotiate is keep the emotion to a level you can control out of it and look at factually. It either makes sense or it doesn’t. depending on the timing and yourself.

So there you have it. Ten quick tips for negotiating a salary and or job offer in esports. If you have any questions feel free to contact me or leave a comment below.

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