Hi Anton! Glad you’ve found it useful!
Of course it depends greatly on your specific situation. In general, it’s extremely important to get a good initial offer.
Once you’ve started employment, it would be very hard to get a significant bump.
If you’re relocating from a different country, they will have a leverage:
- immigration status limits your employment options
- relocation expenses have to be repaid in case you leave within 2 years
So you will be stuck with the initial contract.
I can’t really tell about what’s better for you. IMO base salary is what really matters, but depending on your level of tolerance and how long are you going to stay with the company, you can benefit greatly from RSUs (if they perform well :) Sign up bonus is nice, but it’s only 2 years…
Look at the Amazon SDEs income statistics at the location you’re being hired to. Evaluate your current level of expertise and aim to the top 80% of the distribution.
While negotiating an offer, don’t tell them your current salary, you can tell that it’s confidential or some policies forbid you to share it.
Tell them you have an offer from Microsoft (or other known company). Be specific — mention expertise level, benefits breakdown, team and role. You can find a lot of data about roles and terms used at other companies to, make it look realistic based on your current conditions.
When negotiating some people find it more comfortable to say something like “I like the offer, but my wife thinks my family won’t make it” — that’s in order to overcome the feeling of being uncomfortable to “beg” for better contract.