Facebook Salary Negotiation

Table of Contents

  • Facebook Offer Compensation Components
  • 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:

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.

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 Facebook is paid bi-weekly in the United States and monthly in the United Kingdom.

Signing Bonus

Not all Facebook 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 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.”

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 Facebook 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.”

Facebook is typically very willing to negotiate equity. The equity band is larger than for other components like base salary, and it is also easier to go “above band” if you are a particularly strong candidate with competitive cross offers. That said, there are some key tactics to be aware of when negotiating equity with Facebook, which are covered in negotiation tips below.

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:

“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.

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.

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:

  • 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”

If you have not yet received an offer from Facebook there are a few critical mistakes to avoid:

  1. 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”.
  2. 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.”

With that out of the way, let’s discuss the process for Facebook L3/L4 tech employees.

  1. After completing your onsite interview, you will often hear back from your recruiter within a few days.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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
  5. We recommend you take time to digest the initial offer and consider the best point of leverage for your counter offer discussion
  6. 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. The goal is to get the recruiter to take your counter-offer back to the compensation committee
  7. 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)

There are two primary differences between junior and senior negotiations at Facebook:

  1. 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.
  2. 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.

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. We guide candidates on how to leverage these cross offers without receiving a 25% write down.

Comp committee: 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.

OPT: 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.

Remote 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.