Tag Archives: negotiating salary

You have to prove you are worth more than you are being paid

“I am earning $115,000 per year. But I don’t want to be a food scientist anymore. I want to be a Java programmer. I’d like to earn about the same salary, but I’d consider less. Maybe $80,000 per year. I also want to move to Pennsylvania. I don’t like Texas. I almost got a PhD degree so I am sure someone will want me. Can you find me a job?”

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is vzZmKckcoj_eidQS9_xsdcG713VbYAaNiildV0rjcVKH7BmR9VMbpinqwFiddEJ1pJ2zMNGgWOorxGWm3brBV-9HlDR4BiqRgtKw_2aSLoMHYpIzaOYm_hNlpGGwc3Oa5wqzEZSP

At that time Java programmers with 2 years experience were earning $60,000 per year. They had no Java experience. They were studying it. Their goal was to get certified and then move to their new career. Their degree was unrelated to programming. Dropping from $115,000 per year to $80,000 per year seemed to them to be a sure way to interest an employer. I had to let them know that they weren’t worth anywhere near that as a programmer. 

Their problem was that they wanted to be hired at top dollar before they had a track record. And, yes, he did get hired. Just not at those terms. They realized the reality of the situation.

No employer can stay in business when they overpaid their employees. If their expenses are high, they have to charge more. Then their competitors take all their customers away. No customers, no business, no jobs. 

In order to be hired you have to be the best bargain of all the people who apply. You need to have proof that you will do more excellent work for less money than anyone else. That doesn’t mean you have to be the lowest paid. You have to be the best bargain.

A great salesperson will be paid three times what a mediocre one is. Yet, everyone wants a great salesperson and will pay for them. You may pay them three times as much, but they bring in 10 times the profit. That’s because high volume cuts your overhead costs. Great salesmen are worth a lot more. Did you notice the ugly fact that great salesmen are worth 10 times more, but are only paid 3 times more?

What about network technicians? If you can improve computer response time by ½ second per entry by 1000 clerks, you can save $100,000 per year for your company. If you can keep the computers of 1000 clerks from going down for 10 minutes each week, you are saving the company 166 man hours per week. That will allow them to save the wages of 4 clerks. A great network technician is worth much more than the one who allows network problems to continue. The ugly fact is that a great network technician is only paid 2 or 3 times what a barely acceptable one is paid, yet his contribution is 10 times greater.

You need to document what makes you great. Present it to your boss when you do it. When you are looking for a job, put dollars produced and saved in your resume. If you prove you are worth more than you are being paid, there will be less resistance to paying you more. Prove you are worth ten times more, then accept wages two or three times higher. It’s ugly, but that’s the way it works. 

Something To Do Today

Think about what work you have done over the last week or two. What are a few things that can make you worth 10 times more?

8 steps to start a salary bidding war


No, $82,500 plus free healthcare.

We’ll pay $85,400 plus healthcare plus 401k matching.

Recruiters hate it.  Job hunters love it.  I’m insane for telling you about it.

2 or 3 simultaneous job offers can be exciting and pay well.  How do you get people making offers to keep raising the salary and benefits? Luck is only part of it.  Here are some other ways to make it happen:

  • Make a list of companies you want to move to.
  • Submit resumes 2 months before you plan to quit. Call hiring managers.
  • In interviews let them know when you want to start your new job.
  • Always ask what the next interview or job hiring step is.
  • Stay on top of every potential job.
  • Let the recruiters know what step you are in at other companies.
  • Be fair.  Disclose the offers to everyone.
  • When you make a commitment, stop accepting offers.


A lot of companies refuse to play the bidding game. They make their best offer first.  They also offer more than just more money.  They offer a career cannon that will propel you where you want to go.

Don’t get so caught up in a bidding war that you forget that a quality offer at a quality company is a better long term bet.

Something to do today

Make a list of 10 or 20 companies you want to go to work for.  Make an action list so you can do a great job of applying to all of them in a week.


Later: Top secret job hunting

Read want ads even if you are NOT job hunting

Free career intelligence

How to turn your dishwasher into a snowplow

10 salary negotiation myths

Well, almost 10 myths.  I would say myth #5 is a myth.  See my column for today.

The others are pretty good if taken in context that some companies just do not negotiate.

Read the 10 myths here.

How to be ruined or win with the money question

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

4 ways to prepare for an interview to get ten percent more

In theory, there is no difference between theory and practice, In practice, there is. (Chuck Reid)

Every manager wants to find someone with:

  • Less experience
  • More raw ability
  • More talent
  • Bigger potential profits
  • Lower pay

Everyone is looking for the same magical person.  They get twice as much done, and you only pay them a little more. You can pay them 10 percent more than their peers and still be paying them less than they really and truly are worth. That means more profit and a bigger bonus for management.

Where is it determined to pay them 10 percent more? In the interview.

If you interview well, you will get paid more. It is just a fact of life. There are several places to get better interview skills:

  • Teach a class
  • Lead a group
  • Take an interview preparation class
  • Join Toastmasters.

Teach a class

Many schools and most churches are looking for teachers. It may be a one time one hour visit or a weekly commitment. Often they have a Teacher Preparation class or manual. Volunteer. Even if you do poorly the first time, you can get that teacher preparation book or course and learn to succeed. Teaching a class gives you experience speaking to groups and imparting your expertise. The smoothness you develop will help a lot in interviews.

Lead a group

The Elks Club, Rotary Club, youth sports, Boy and Girl Scouts, 4H, PTA, and every other organized group of people needs leaders. You can lead a small committee or the whole club. The experience you gain dealing with groups will make a big difference in your interview skills and how much you earn.

Take an interview preparation class

They may cost a hefty chunk of change, but they can make a big difference in how much you are paid and how much you earn. Sometimes they will have video recorded practice interviews, group evaluations and individual coaching.

Join Toastmasters

www.toastmasters.org is the best place to go to learn to deal well with groups. They develop your ability to give prepared and unprepared speeches. There are multiple clubs near you. Visit several of them and find a place you fit.

Something to do today

The first thing to do is check out Toastmasters. Then volunteer to lead a group or class somewhere. Develop your interview skills.


Ten percent more in your next job – part two

Henry accepted 30% more salary for a job than he was initially offered.  Acme Corp. ended up paying 30% more. (Yes, the story is true, the names are changed.) Five factors affected it.  I mentioned four of them yesterday.

The five factors are:

  • The company’s finances
  • The other people available for the job
  • The resume
  • The interview
  • Patience

Here’s how it happened.

Acme is doing well financially.  Unfortunately finding highly skilled people for the job is difficult.  Mediocre people earn Acme half the profit that a highly skilled person earns them.  The resume proved that Henry was one of the top people in the country.  The interview confirmed it.  The initial offer was flat out rejected by Henry.  Acme looked around for weeks and couldn’t find anyone of that caliber.  In the meantime Acme was being hurt by waiting to fill the position.  Acme and Henry got together again and came to an agreement.

A very important step was proving how much Henry was worth.  First we used the resume, then the interview. The resume gave absolute, iron clad, irrefutable proof that Henry was one of the best in the country.  We gave verifiable production numbers as well as comparisons to everyone else in his old company.

In the interview the figures were repeated.  Henry also interviews extremely well.

Last of all, Henry rejected a low offer.  He waited without being offended.  After a few weeks it became obvious the company made a mistake.  Henry got his offer at a number he deserved.

You need to make a list of things you have accomplished that prove how much you can be worth to your next company.  If you absolutely prove you will be worth twice what anyone else is, you too will get a lot more money.

Tomorrow is about how to radically increase your interview effectiveness.  I’ll give you three things you can do to prepare for interviews.  Things that could get you 10% more money.

Something to do today

Can you prove how much you are worth to your company?  How many customers did you bring in or save?  How much profit did you generate?  How much money did you save the company?

Make a list.


Later:              Get 10% more at your next job, interviews

Negotiating salary, vacation, perks, and benefits at a new job – really negotiating

Some prices are just too high, no matter how much you may want the prize. The one thing you can’t trade for your heart’s desire is your heart.  (Lois McMaster Bujold)

Really negotiating

Negotiating is the art of getting what you want, while giving up what you want less.

A good recruiter can help you negotiate.  He can find out all the details before the offer is given to you and get important problems fixed. He can give away the things you care less about.  He can negotiate for you before the final offer is put on the table.  A good recruiter can put pressure on a company that you will never see.  If you have a recruiter be blunt and honest with him.  Don’t lie and say I need $80,000 when you are hoping for $60,000.  Tell the recruiter the truth.  Then accept or reject an offer based on its merits, not on your greed for more.

If you don’t have a recruiter, you have to do exactly the same thing, only directly with someone at the company.

   Find out all the details

   Talk about details before a final offer is on the table

   Give away the things you care about less for the things you want the most

   Pressure.  Let them know your priorities and what will make you walk away

   Be blunt and honest

   Tell them what you really want

   Accept or reject an offer on its merits, not based on your greed

Every one of those points is about communication.  Negotiating a salary is about communicating.  Go at it with the desire to understand and inform and you will come out ahead.  If you go in with a desire to rape and pillage, you will lose.

Something to do today

Get the book, How To Win Friends And Influence People.  It may be the best practical book on communicating that was ever written.


Next:   All I want is more money, vacation and benefits

Later:              A crippled ace

An ace who learned