Alice came in and told us she wanted $110,000 per year minimum or she wouldn’t even consider another job. We tried to get her to be reasonable. Because of her previous salary, $95,000 or less was much more reasonable. As recruiters we decided to send her anyway. When it got to negotiations the company was not willing to go anywhere near $110,000. We called Alice and told her to forget it. She panicked, “What do you mean you turned them down for me? I would gladly take $92,000. What were you thinking?”
We were thinking exactly what she told us. Therein lies the problem when you are looking for a job:
Ask for too little and they will pay you too little. Ask too much and they might not even make you an offer.
Alice was lucky on two counts, first that we let her interview for the job, and second that the company made any offer at all.
How to win (or not lose) on the money question
Be honest with your recruiter. Tell him the truth so he can negotiate for you. If you change your mind up or down, tell him immediately. Give him a chance to negotiate for you in good faith.
Give the employer a sandwich. Soft bread slices with meat in-between. The soft bread on each side of the meat is a compliment on their company and job. The meat is to tell them what you have made in the past. Tell them the facts.
Try saying, “I really like this company and job. I would love to work for you. In my last job I earned $58,000 last year. I certainly would not want to work for less. What I would like is to be able to entertain your best offer. I certainly want to work for you.” Did you notice the bread, meat, bread lines?
Then let them go back and discuss what to offer you.
Telling people the truth is the way to get the best offer. Tell them what they need to hear, not necessarily what they ask.
Something to do today
Try to figure out what other people are making at your same job. It can be a real eye opener. I have seen people paid half of what they should be earning sho are happy as clams. Others earning 20% more than anyone else in a similar job feel underpaid.
Later: I refuse to say what I get paid
3 kinds of death
20 second interview prime time