[OT] Salary Negotiations Advice

Bryan Sant bryan.sant at gmail.com
Fri Apr 16 12:22:27 MDT 2010

On Thu, Apr 15, 2010 at 5:24 PM, Robert Merrill <robertmerrill at gmail.com> wrote:
> here--how do you go about negotiating pay?
> - Do you force the issue and bring it up first?

I have a formula.

When I'm job hunting, I apply to a lot of different places (at least
five) -- I cast my net wide.  In my experience, the MOST important
part of the the entire process is your interview.  You really need to
work the interview (nothing over the top, but you'd better have good
eye contact, smile frequently, and a firm handshake) and get that
potential employer to lust after you.  I'm sure there are plenty of
people who apply for the same positions that I do, and I'm sure that
they have resumes that are as good or better than mine, but once they
get a chance to interface with me, they're generally more impressed
and interested than they were when I was just a sheet of paper in
their pile of resumes.  Not because I'm so great, but because I
interview well; because I know how important the interview is (while
others may not?).  The interview gives me an opportunity to directly
connect with the people who will choose if they extend me an offer or
not -- so it's a chance to showcase the value you'll provide for their
team, their department, the company, etc.

So, because my perceived value is so much higher after the interview,
I never talk numbers until after I've had at least my first interview.
 If I interview well, and I know they're interested, then it's time to
talk turkey.  If they don't bring it up (which they usually do), then
I will.  You've seen my resume, we've talked face-to-face, now how
much am I worth to you guys?  The "how much am I worth" question is
rhetorical, because I already know how much I want to make.  I'm never
ambivalent.  If they ask, then I hit them between the eyes with the
honest answer of what I want to make, and then we go from there.

> - Do you make them tell you the offer-range before you cough up a number?

I try to find a range before I even apply.  If that's not available,
then I look through other positions that are similar to find a
comparable.  Sometimes, I'll email the contact on a job posting if no
range is specified and directly ask before I send in my resume.
Sounding greedy up front my be to my disadvantage, but I'm applying to
a lot of places, and if you're range is 20k too low, then we're just
wasting each others time.  I need to cut through the BS, and filter
out those who aren't serious about paying me, because I'm serious
about adding value to their organization.

> - Do you go back with a counteroffer no matter what they come to you with?

No.  I know what I want ahead of time.  If the offer is where I want
it to be, then I accept promptly.  I think people appreciate the lack
of chain-yanking BS.

> - Have you ever LOST a gig/job because your negotiations broke down
> and they walked away?

Yes.  That's the way it rolls sometimes.

> I look forward to your straight thoughts, not sanitized "HR-speak"
> that I too-often find myself spewing.
> Thanks!
> Rob Merrill

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