"Negotiating" Salary

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mottooscillator
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Re: "Negotiating" Salary

Post by mottooscillator » Wed Aug 14, 2019 8:24 pm

Worth noting here that in California an employer is no longer permitted to ask a candidate their salary history. Moreover, employers are required to make a salary range ("pay scale") available to candidates who ask.

https://leginfo.legislature.ca.gov/face ... nNum=432.3.

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abuss368
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Re: "Negotiating" Salary

Post by abuss368 » Wed Aug 14, 2019 8:29 pm

wilked wrote:
Wed Aug 14, 2019 7:57 pm
abuss368 wrote:
Wed Aug 14, 2019 7:09 pm
Avoid answering the question. Try to get them to offer a figure first. This is key.
Let’s say you’re right.

Is the reason to avoid the question because you don’t know what you are worth? Or is it that you are worried that you are worth more than they are willing to pay?
Once one puts that out they could have been thinking higher (or lower)!
John C. Bogle: "Simplicity is the master key to financial success."

mottooscillator
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Re: "Negotiating" Salary

Post by mottooscillator » Wed Aug 14, 2019 8:36 pm

In my opinion and experience, stating a number first when you are ill-informed as to the company's likely range can have two bad outcomes:

1. You grossly underestimate your value to them as a candidate and lower their expectations or estimation of how to value you as a candidate. This can result in you "leaving money on the table" or signaling that you are underqualified, underinformed, or both.

2. You grossly overestimate your value to them as a candidate to the point where you appear greedy, unreasonable, or both. This can result in a candidate being prematurely removed from consideration.

tibbitts
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Re: "Negotiating" Salary

Post by tibbitts » Wed Aug 14, 2019 8:58 pm

oilrig wrote:
Wed Aug 14, 2019 8:41 am
Im an HR Recruiter and have worked at several mega-corp fortune 500's. We ALWAYS try to get the candidate's salary expectations before setting them up for an interview. I dont care if they tell me their current salary or what range they're looking for, we just need something to go off of to make sure they are in line with our compensation level. When a candidate purposely doesn't tell me their salary expectations, it makes the candidate look suspicious and like they are hiding something. It also makes me think that they are likely underpaid. I think candidate's should do their homework and know what their market value is ahead of time.

I have interviewed for other jobs and when they ask me my salary expectations, I tell them Im making X and looking for Y. A lot of times the company tells me that they can't match that, so we both say thanks and go our separate ways. No time wasted at all!

Recently I interviewed someone that didn't want to disclose their salary expectations, instead he asked what our salary range was. I was honest and told him it was $70-85k, and he said that's within his range. The problem with that is what if we offer him $70k, but in reality he is making $75k and looking for $80k. All of that time wasted when he could have just been upfront with me and given me a specific number!
So if the company won't disclose the salary it will pay, that's okay and practical for the reason you describe, but if the applicant doesn't, he looks suspicious and like [he's] hiding something?

When you talk about $70k jobs particularly, benefits matter a lot. For example, let's say you get an applicant from my employer. The applicant might well be spending over $12k/yr out of that $75k for family health/dental/vision coverage. At some similar employers, the employer might be paying closer to nothing. On the other hand, my employer contributes more to retirement than some similar employers. Benefits are complicated and to evaluate whether you are wasting time with that $75k-earning applicant, you would really have to study his existing benefit plan and life circumstances (dependents, desire to work remotely or have flex time, etc.) very carefully. How would you go about doing that?

hookemhorns
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Re: "Negotiating" Salary

Post by hookemhorns » Wed Aug 14, 2019 9:36 pm

wilked wrote:
Wed Aug 14, 2019 7:57 pm

Let’s say you’re right.

Is the reason to avoid the question because you don’t know what you are worth? Or is it that you are worried that you are worth more than they are willing to pay?
It's pretty basic negotiation game theory. You're forcing the other side to reveal their hand.

If the candidate throws out the number first, the employer will either reject them outright or set that number as the ceiling for compensation. Either way, there is no upside to the candidate providing a number first (outcomes = rejected or compensation capped).

If the candidate waits to discuss comp until receiving an employment offer, the candidate can set the anchor point and negotiate down from there. If an employer knows they want the candidate, they will flex some especially if they truly want the candidate. Worst case, the candidate accepts whatever the employer originally had in mind. (outcomes = employer's highest offer, somewhere in between, or employer's initial offer).

The above being said, if it's a government employer, large corporation, or the candidate's first job the employer might truly have a narrow comp band in mind. You need to know how much bargaining power you have and whether to engage in negotiation. I don't negotiate prices at Walmart because I know they have the bargaining power. The same is not true for a house or other large purchase.

HEDGEFUNDIE
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Re: "Negotiating" Salary

Post by HEDGEFUNDIE » Wed Aug 14, 2019 9:40 pm

As a soon to be first time hiring manager, it warms my heart that so many people are misinformed about salary negotiation.

It will make my budget allocation so much easier.

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abuss368
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Re: "Negotiating" Salary

Post by abuss368 » Wed Aug 14, 2019 9:46 pm

HEDGEFUNDIE wrote:
Wed Aug 14, 2019 9:40 pm
As a soon to be first time hiring manager, it warms my heart that so many people are misinformed about salary negotiation.

It will make my budget allocation so much easier.
Would benefit the forum if you would consider providing valuable insight and advice.
John C. Bogle: "Simplicity is the master key to financial success."

HEDGEFUNDIE
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Re: "Negotiating" Salary

Post by HEDGEFUNDIE » Wed Aug 14, 2019 10:36 pm

abuss368 wrote:
Wed Aug 14, 2019 9:46 pm
HEDGEFUNDIE wrote:
Wed Aug 14, 2019 9:40 pm
As a soon to be first time hiring manager, it warms my heart that so many people are misinformed about salary negotiation.

It will make my budget allocation so much easier.
Would benefit the forum if you would consider providing valuable insight and advice.
Already done above.

tibbitts
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Re: "Negotiating" Salary

Post by tibbitts » Wed Aug 14, 2019 10:45 pm

HEDGEFUNDIE wrote:
Wed Aug 14, 2019 9:40 pm
As a soon to be first time hiring manager, it warms my heart that so many people are misinformed about salary negotiation.

It will make my budget allocation so much easier.
People aren't misinformed at all, they are simply expressing their personal experiences. Even someone who has hired hundreds of employees has extremely limited experience, because they've usually worked in a very limited number of industries/companies. What threads like this one (and there have been a lot of them) have taught me is that what works for some people result in complete failure for others, for no foreseeable reasons.

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abuss368
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Re: "Negotiating" Salary

Post by abuss368 » Wed Aug 14, 2019 10:50 pm

HEDGEFUNDIE wrote:
Wed Aug 14, 2019 10:36 pm
abuss368 wrote:
Wed Aug 14, 2019 9:46 pm
HEDGEFUNDIE wrote:
Wed Aug 14, 2019 9:40 pm
As a soon to be first time hiring manager, it warms my heart that so many people are misinformed about salary negotiation.

It will make my budget allocation so much easier.
Would benefit the forum if you would consider providing valuable insight and advice.
Already done above.
Thanks
John C. Bogle: "Simplicity is the master key to financial success."

cheezit
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Re: "Negotiating" Salary

Post by cheezit » Wed Aug 14, 2019 11:42 pm

wilked wrote:
Wed Aug 14, 2019 7:57 pm
Is the reason to avoid the question because you don’t know what you are worth? Or is it that you are worried that you are worth more than they are willing to pay?
The reason to avoid the question is to try to extract the maximum amount of employer surplus possible in the case of a wide salary range for the position while minimizing the chance of excluding yourself from consideration prematurely. An example with easy round numbers: if a position has a range of $100k to $150k, and the candidate would settle for $110k but wants $160k, and at the end of the interview process the green light is given to hire the candidate with a salary up to $140k, the candidate might have screwed themselves out of $20k or $30k/year of base salary if they gave a number early and picked the number they would settle for, or screwed themselves out of consideration for the position entirely if they gave the number they actually want.

Hedgefundie has brought up the concept of anchoring. I am skeptical that the typical candidate can use this effect to their advantage in salary negotiations for three reasons:
1) If anchoring worked well in negotiating salary, employers would be chomping at the bit to give a number first to anchor the negotiations where they want them
2) The employer is usually already anchored pretty well before the candidate has a chance to throw out a number, precluding the candidate from actually anchoring anything when they give a number
3) In my personal and professional circles, I have run into at least half a dozen examples of people getting bitten by giving a number out early, and exactly one example of successful anchoring. The successful anchorer had interesting circumstances - he was an EE who had worked in semiconductor verification at a chip company for years who was interviewing with a hardware startup. The folks at the startup were all either programmers or business guys, and he was their first EE hire. They had no legitimate idea what the market for EEs in the bay area was before he gave them a number, and he later found out that he had caused them to re-evaluate their range for the position and bring it drastically upwards before making him an offer (which he accepted) because they had simply misjudged the market.

That all being said, my personal belief is that none of the strategy in the world is worth a hoot if you don't have a good BATNA, preferably in the form of one or more other live offers. Obviously, not everybody can swing this depending on your personal circumstances, the state of your industry, and the nature of the opportunity you're looking at.

HEDGEFUNDIE
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Re: "Negotiating" Salary

Post by HEDGEFUNDIE » Wed Aug 14, 2019 11:59 pm

cheezit wrote:
Wed Aug 14, 2019 11:42 pm
wilked wrote:
Wed Aug 14, 2019 7:57 pm
Is the reason to avoid the question because you don’t know what you are worth? Or is it that you are worried that you are worth more than they are willing to pay?
The reason to avoid the question is to try to extract the maximum amount of employer surplus possible in the case of a wide salary range for the position while minimizing the chance of excluding yourself from consideration prematurely. An example with easy round numbers: if a position has a range of $100k to $150k, and the candidate would settle for $110k but wants $160k, and at the end of the interview process the green light is given to hire the candidate with a salary up to $140k, the candidate might have screwed themselves out of $20k or $30k/year of base salary if they gave a number early and picked the number they would settle for, or screwed themselves out of consideration for the position entirely if they gave the number they actually want.
If I was interviewing a rock star candidate who threw out 160 even though the top end of my range was 150, she would not be immediately out of consideration. I would fight internally for the position to be upleveled (it’s happened to me as a candidate several times).

Which is also the reason why the hiring manager is not necessarily already anchored on a number. She may be anchored on a range for a particular level, but may find herself “anchored” to a particular candidate instead.

wilked
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Re: "Negotiating" Salary

Post by wilked » Thu Aug 15, 2019 4:33 am

cheezit wrote:
Wed Aug 14, 2019 11:42 pm
wilked wrote:
Wed Aug 14, 2019 7:57 pm
Is the reason to avoid the question because you don’t know what you are worth? Or is it that you are worried that you are worth more than they are willing to pay?
The reason to avoid the question is to try to extract the maximum amount of employer surplus possible in the case of a wide salary range for the position while minimizing the chance of excluding yourself from consideration prematurely. An example with easy round numbers: if a position has a range of $100k to $150k, and the candidate would settle for $110k but wants $160k, and at the end of the interview process the green light is given to hire the candidate with a salary up to $140k, the candidate might have screwed themselves out of $20k or $30k/year of base salary if they gave a number early and picked the number they would settle for, or screwed themselves out of consideration for the position entirely if they gave the number they actually want.
I’m this scenario I would again want to give the first number. When asked I would say that total compensation Is what is important to me, but if pressed for a number would be looking for a salary of at least $150k. Say it with confidence and don’t try and defend it.

If I let the employer give the first number and they come back with $110k I am likely to end up at a lower salary than had I started the negotiation.

As Hedgefundie above indicates, even if the range for the job was $80-120k I doubt I’ve priced myself out of discussion. Worst case they come back and say that is above the salary range, in which case I can ask how far above and we can start figuring out (from a total comp perspective) how we can make this work, including potentially leveling the job up.

It’s odd to me that people still seem to be in the dark about this, as it’s fairly well documented.

First google hit from a Harvard study
“backing up prior bargaining studies, those who made first offers did better in economic terms than those who did not.”
https://www.pon.harvard.edu/daily/dealm ... otiations/

They also note that it is uncomfortable to make the first offer, which is true, but it is easier with practice and I’ll take a little discomfort for the salary increase

BarDownHockey
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Re: "Negotiating" Salary

Post by BarDownHockey » Thu Aug 15, 2019 5:38 am

One thing that hasn’t been discussed here is that salary is only one part of the equation. Bonus, stock and most importantly the benefits package are all part of the employee compensation package. There’s a big difference between a company that fully pays for health insurance (I.e. no monthly premium) vs a company that has a $600 / month health insurance premium. Same with 401k match (or not), etc. Those differences can add up to five figure differences in total comp. If you expect a interviewee to reveal their desired salary upfront before you even begin the interviewing process, they cannot provide an accurate number because what’s included in the total package can greatly swing what a candidate would be willing to accept for base salary.

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RickBoglehead
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Re: "Negotiating" Salary

Post by RickBoglehead » Thu Aug 15, 2019 7:06 am

BarDownHockey wrote:
Thu Aug 15, 2019 5:38 am
One thing that hasn’t been discussed here is that salary is only one part of the equation. Bonus, stock and most importantly the benefits package are all part of the employee compensation package. There’s a big difference between a company that fully pays for health insurance (I.e. no monthly premium) vs a company that has a $600 / month health insurance premium. Same with 401k match (or not), etc. Those differences can add up to five figure differences in total comp. If you expect a interviewee to reveal their desired salary upfront before you even begin the interviewing process, they cannot provide an accurate number because what’s included in the total package can greatly swing what a candidate would be willing to accept for base salary.
See my earlier post discussing exactly this. :wink:
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mako171
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Re: "Negotiating" Salary

Post by mako171 » Thu Aug 15, 2019 7:09 am

wilked wrote:
Thu Aug 15, 2019 4:33 am
cheezit wrote:
Wed Aug 14, 2019 11:42 pm
wilked wrote:
Wed Aug 14, 2019 7:57 pm
Is the reason to avoid the question because you don’t know what you are worth? Or is it that you are worried that you are worth more than they are willing to pay?
The reason to avoid the question is to try to extract the maximum amount of employer surplus possible in the case of a wide salary range for the position while minimizing the chance of excluding yourself from consideration prematurely. An example with easy round numbers: if a position has a range of $100k to $150k, and the candidate would settle for $110k but wants $160k, and at the end of the interview process the green light is given to hire the candidate with a salary up to $140k, the candidate might have screwed themselves out of $20k or $30k/year of base salary if they gave a number early and picked the number they would settle for, or screwed themselves out of consideration for the position entirely if they gave the number they actually want.
I’m this scenario I would again want to give the first number. When asked I would say that total compensation Is what is important to me, but if pressed for a number would be looking for a salary of at least $150k. Say it with confidence and don’t try and defend it.

If I let the employer give the first number and they come back with $110k I am likely to end up at a lower salary than had I started the negotiation.

As Hedgefundie above indicates, even if the range for the job was $80-120k I doubt I’ve priced myself out of discussion. Worst case they come back and say that is above the salary range, in which case I can ask how far above and we can start figuring out (from a total comp perspective) how we can make this work, including potentially leveling the job up.

It’s odd to me that people still seem to be in the dark about this, as it’s fairly well documented.

First google hit from a Harvard study
“backing up prior bargaining studies, those who made first offers did better in economic terms than those who did not.”
https://www.pon.harvard.edu/daily/dealm ... otiations/

They also note that it is uncomfortable to make the first offer, which is true, but it is easier with practice and I’ll take a little discomfort for the salary increase
Yes this. The quoted cheezit example is flawed. If the person in the example wanted 160, they should say 160. Why would they open the negotiations at the amount they would “settle for?” No one gets what they don’t ask for.

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TomatoTomahto
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Re: "Negotiating" Salary

Post by TomatoTomahto » Thu Aug 15, 2019 7:20 am

mako171 wrote:
Thu Aug 15, 2019 7:09 am
No one gets what they don’t ask for.
Years ago, for exceptional candidates, we would sometimes offer a modest amount more than what was requested, say $5k or $10k. The results were strongly positive; 100% accepted the offer and started with a great attitude, feeling that they were appreciated. Cheap way to motivate new employees.

Maybe employers no longer do this.
Okay, I get it; I won't be political or controversial. The Earth is flat.

mako171
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Re: "Negotiating" Salary

Post by mako171 » Thu Aug 15, 2019 7:28 am

Ha, yah we do this too. I just didn’t want to muddy my point.

I work on the buy side, and 10k is an easy number to tack on the someone’s base. My fun thing thing to do is settle on a number verbally, then send the offer letter for slightly more and say something to the effect of: “hey good news, we are so excited for you to join the team that I was able to get you a few more bucks.”

That goes a long way.

NoGambleNoFuture
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Re: "Negotiating" Salary

Post by NoGambleNoFuture » Thu Aug 15, 2019 8:19 am

HEDGEFUNDIE wrote:
Wed Aug 14, 2019 11:59 pm
cheezit wrote:
Wed Aug 14, 2019 11:42 pm
wilked wrote:
Wed Aug 14, 2019 7:57 pm
Is the reason to avoid the question because you don’t know what you are worth? Or is it that you are worried that you are worth more than they are willing to pay?
The reason to avoid the question is to try to extract the maximum amount of employer surplus possible in the case of a wide salary range for the position while minimizing the chance of excluding yourself from consideration prematurely. An example with easy round numbers: if a position has a range of $100k to $150k, and the candidate would settle for $110k but wants $160k, and at the end of the interview process the green light is given to hire the candidate with a salary up to $140k, the candidate might have screwed themselves out of $20k or $30k/year of base salary if they gave a number early and picked the number they would settle for, or screwed themselves out of consideration for the position entirely if they gave the number they actually want.
If I was interviewing a rock star candidate who threw out 160 even though the top end of my range was 150, she would not be immediately out of consideration. I would fight internally for the position to be upleveled (it’s happened to me as a candidate several times).

Which is also the reason why the hiring manager is not necessarily already anchored on a number. She may be anchored on a range for a particular level, but may find herself “anchored” to a particular candidate instead.
This. Just say 160 then! If your dream comp is within 20%ish of what we have budgeted we’re all good.

If our range for a software engineering role is 120-140 and a candidate says they are looking for 160... that’s not completely outlandish and I can often times make it work from a total compensation perspective if not totally from base then definitely with a combination of factors including signing bonuses, equity, etc.

NoGambleNoFuture
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Re: "Negotiating" Salary

Post by NoGambleNoFuture » Thu Aug 15, 2019 8:22 am

mako171 wrote:
Thu Aug 15, 2019 7:28 am
Ha, yah we do this too. I just didn’t want to muddy my point.

I work on the buy side, and 10k is an easy number to tack on the someone’s base. My fun thing thing to do is settle on a number verbally, then send the offer letter for slightly more and say something to the effect of: “hey good news, we are so excited for you to join the team that I was able to get you a few more bucks.”

That goes a long way.
Ha I do this all the time too. Say an entry level engineer tells me they will accept 90k but hope for 95k and I know I can go to 105... I get the offer for 105 approved and let them know that I know they really really really wanted 95k and I did everything I could to get it for them but was unsuccessful... the manager insisted I give them 105k instead :)

stoptothink
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Re: "Negotiating" Salary

Post by stoptothink » Thu Aug 15, 2019 9:26 am

tibbitts wrote:
Wed Aug 14, 2019 10:45 pm
HEDGEFUNDIE wrote:
Wed Aug 14, 2019 9:40 pm
As a soon to be first time hiring manager, it warms my heart that so many people are misinformed about salary negotiation.

It will make my budget allocation so much easier.
People aren't misinformed at all, they are simply expressing their personal experiences. Even someone who has hired hundreds of employees has extremely limited experience, because they've usually worked in a very limited number of industries/companies. What threads like this one (and there have been a lot of them) have taught me is that what works for some people result in complete failure for others, for no foreseeable reasons.
This. I've hired hundreds of people in the last 15yrs, but my experience is pretty much the opposite of what other posters (obviously in tech) are throwing out. The only thing I can say for certain, across the board, is to spend some time at least getting a general range for what they position usually pays. As I said earlier, for my department, the pay scale is usually literally listed in the job posting, but most of those who I interview come in completely oblivious and throw out numbers all over the place.

HEDGEFUNDIE
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Re: "Negotiating" Salary

Post by HEDGEFUNDIE » Thu Aug 15, 2019 9:50 am

stoptothink wrote:
Thu Aug 15, 2019 9:26 am
tibbitts wrote:
Wed Aug 14, 2019 10:45 pm
HEDGEFUNDIE wrote:
Wed Aug 14, 2019 9:40 pm
As a soon to be first time hiring manager, it warms my heart that so many people are misinformed about salary negotiation.

It will make my budget allocation so much easier.
People aren't misinformed at all, they are simply expressing their personal experiences. Even someone who has hired hundreds of employees has extremely limited experience, because they've usually worked in a very limited number of industries/companies. What threads like this one (and there have been a lot of them) have taught me is that what works for some people result in complete failure for others, for no foreseeable reasons.
This. I've hired hundreds of people in the last 15yrs, but my experience is pretty much the opposite of what other posters (obviously in tech) are throwing out. The only thing I can say for certain, across the board, is to spend some time at least getting a general range for what they position usually pays. As I said earlier, for my department, the pay scale is usually literally listed in the job posting, but most of those who I interview come in completely oblivious and throw out numbers all over the place.
If your pay scale is already posted in the job listing, then you have followed best practice and given the initial number.

The party that gives out a number first is always in the more powerful position, unless:

1. The number is wildly out of range (high or low) with what the role is worth, or

2. The candidate or the company is not a strong fit for the other party anyway.

For both of the above exceptions, no deal was ever going to be made anyway.

drk
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Re: "Negotiating" Salary

Post by drk » Thu Aug 15, 2019 9:56 am

HEDGEFUNDIE wrote:
Wed Aug 14, 2019 9:40 pm
As a soon to be first time hiring manager, it warms my heart that so many people are misinformed about salary negotiation.

It will make my budget allocation so much easier.
Note that you’re not playing a one-round game when negotiating comp with new-hires. It’s easy to poison the relationship when you approach it that way, even if it feels good to “win” that round.

TheOscarGuy
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Re: "Negotiating" Salary

Post by TheOscarGuy » Thu Aug 15, 2019 11:33 am

shavenyak wrote:
Tue Aug 13, 2019 6:34 pm
I'm asking for my nephew who is interviewing for a job...in short, what would be a wise, professional response to a situation where a prospective employer asks him what he "needs/wants" in compensation before they indicate what they are able/willing to pay? My nephew has a dollar figure in mind based on research, but I can't do better than recommending: "I have a figure in mind but I first need to know what you have in mind." Creative suggestions so that he could potentially maximize his starting salary? Thanks in advance.
Is he in Tech? There is an awesome article online written by a software engineer, that I have referred to several folks now. I think you often should let them talk first. If its early enough in the process, just say I want to talk to the team, learn about what they are looking for, let them interview me first, before talking numbers. Some states have made it illegal to ask for salary to candidates, so HR/recruiters have become smart and ask 'what is your expectation'? I avoid the question as much as possible.

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shavenyak
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Re: "Negotiating" Salary

Post by shavenyak » Thu Aug 15, 2019 4:40 pm

Thanks for all of the responses. Will pass on to my nephew (he isn't in tech)...there's a lot to learn from the responses.

Again, in short, the situation is as simple as it sounded in the original post.

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