Love the prospect of joining this start-up but am I adequately compensated?

While there are various salary surveys for traditional industries, the information on compensation in the technology start-up space remains ambiguous. So aside from simply asking friends and associates, check out these tips to do a self-assessment.

The key is to be confident that the founders' have a compensation strategy that reflects their commitment to attract, motivate and retain the best employees.

a) Is the compensation mechanics transparent? Can everyone involved in the decision making part of the hiring process communicate what the company’s compensation mechanics is and how it aligns with the company’s overall values?

b) Do the people involved in making the offer and negotiating salary or equity know how they arrived at the final offer? 

c) Does the compensation structure have clear salary bands and salary/equity mix? Having some solid rules regarding compensation is as critical as a flexible and scalable architecture for an application. The issues will not be apparent when the volume of employees is small but the inconsistency will surface when scaling from the 10th to 50th employee and beyond.

d) If I am willing to take a pay-cut, how I am compensated for that? Do I have sufficient equity to feel valued and have “skin in the game”?

e) Do I know what my job scope is and how I will be measured? Will I be making an impact on growth?


And if it is “negative” to all the above questions and your gut tells you that it is the still the right move - go for it and let me know if my questions are useful in retrospect? :)