[OT] Salary Negotiations Advice

Merrill Oveson moveson at gmail.com
Fri Apr 16 08:49:23 MDT 2010

The statement of "Whoever states a price first loses"  is absolutely true.
Notice how often you're asked to state the price first in almost all situations.
Example, buying a car.  The dealer asks "So what can you afford to pay
per month?"

I'm certainly no expert - and I've made plenty of mistakes.  But
here's my 2 cents.

My advice: think of compensation beyond just salary.  Think of it as a package.
What other benefits are included, e.g. health insurance (how much do
you pay vs the employer), retirement (matching etc), vacation days,
flextime, etc.
I would also consider such factors as work environment, opportunity
for growth, learning, etc.

So when you're asked "What are your salary expectations?"
The answer could be "Well, it depends.  Can we talk about the other
benefits and potential opportunities?
Once I understand what these are I'll be more able to understand
better myself what my salary expectations are."

This defers the question, buying you time, so that hopefully they'll
reveal their thoughts on salary before you have to.

The real power in negotiations is to have... just that "power."
Remember the control factor.  "He who cares that least controls the

At the end of the war in Vietnam, the North Vietnam negotiators felt
they had the upper hand and were not very willing to negotiate.
The US launched the Christmas bombings, this drove the NV negotiations
running back to the table.

Both the Soviets and US during the cold war built up their nuclear
stockpile, partially in an effort to have something to negotiate with.
The US could have hardly asked the Soviets to disarm, without having a
nuclear stockpile themselves.

Negotiating with terrorist is tough, because they don't care about
anything except their cause.  "When question is asked, what do you
want, often the answer is 'We want you dead.'"

When, my wife and I were shopping for a used Ford Expedition a couple
of years ago.  We visited all the dealerships and said, "This is what
we want to buy.  Please list which used expeditions you have for sale
and the lowest price that you're willing to let that car go for."
We got a lot of "Well how much do you have to spend?"  Our reply "As
much as it takes to get what we what.  We don't know what that number
is.  We're shopping for the best deal."

So the best situation is field as many offers as you can, then
employers are competing for your services.

Unfortunately, most of the time, there are more people looking than
jobs, therefore, the employers have the upper hand and the option of
choosing between several qualified people.
With this is mind, if I don't have a job, I negotiate very carefully,
feeling my way along, because a job (even one that doesn't pay as much
as I feel I'm worth) is better than no job.
And one can always switch jobs.

Studies show that most salary increases come when people switch from
one job to the next - not from a raise from his/her boss.

On Thu, Apr 15, 2010 at 5:27 PM, Nicholas Leippe <nick at leippe.com> wrote:
> While I don't recall off the top of my head exactly what it was, I do
> recall that the advise from the book "what color is your parachute"
> was very good. (Any library or bookstore will have a copy--it's very
> popular).
> I do recall hearing it said that whoever states a price first loses
> the negotiation. I think it's probably true in many cases.
> /*
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