The Biggest Salary Negotiation Mistake Job Hunters Make |

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EP 1419 Job hunters make a huge mistake in a negotiation with firms and through recruiters.

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I just want to speak to you today about what is is the biggest salary negotiation mistake job. I want to preface this by saying recruiters-- agency recruiters, corporate recruiters, all understand the principle taught from the movie Glenn Gary Glenn Ross, a fabulous movie and play; you've never seen it, watch it sometime. It helped launch Alec Baldwin as an actor. As I just said, there is a scene where you hear Baldwin talks about “the ABC of sales” and ABC stands for, “ always be closing.”

Employers and recruiters understand that you don't close at the end of the sale. You close from the from the very beginning. I am not talking but heavy-handed closing; it can be a very gentle close. So, it really starts off, “what are you looking for in the way of salary? How much are you making,” and how they respond to that knowing what the salary ranges for the position. So, for you is the job hunter, the mistakes you make are really in a series that leads up to the big 1.

The 1st 1 is you don't have an idea of your value in the marketplace. So, what you decide to do is walk in and believe that you are earning X number of dollars and you accept the notion that you are only entitled to Y number of dollars on top of that. That's because you don't research the market for what you do and, as a result, you walk in like a babe in the woods and accept the fact that . . . Well, you don't even notice the fact that they are trying to elicit information from you about what you're looking for. Thus, because you don't have knowledge, you are acting in an ignorant manner, you offer up a salary range because you've always been coached to give a range, right? That’s because you don't really know the market, you take other peoples’ word who have an ulterior motive in the scenario and accepted what they tell you as what your value is. You haven't done wrong on homework or done your own research. You have listened to the recruiter. You listened to the corporation and they've identified the value for you as “that's the price that they're willing to pay” through the corporate side or, from the agency's side, that's the price that they know their client is willing to pay. So, you are getting boxed in at the beginning.

So, most of you arrive and give a salary range. I’m just going to pick two numbers arbitrarily-- $150 to $160 or $100 to $120 and, if you are looking at a job ad and you saw there is a salary range there (I’m going to pick 100 K to 120 K going forward), you zero in on the 120, right and rightly so. You see the range; you want to get the most that you can, but they do the same thing and the result winds up being, when you the offer a range of 100K - $220K, the employer hears the bottom number, knowing that that would be okay and they are always going to be driving you to that point.

So, the mistake really comes down to don't talk about a range. Know your value. Know what the market pays for what you do and, as a result, ask for that number. Be prepared that, it's possible, that they might come in little bit less and that's okay. At the end of the day, what you want to be doing is knowing your real value, knowing what you should be getting, asking for it right then at the beginning of the process, not waiting until the very end when they have already established what they are going to pay and it may not satisfy you.


Jeff Altman, The Big Game Hunter
Jeff Altman, The Big Game Hunter

Jeff Altman, The Big Game Hunter is a career and leadership coach who worked as a recruiter for more than 40 years. He is the host of “No BS Job Search Advice Radio,” the #1 podcast in iTunes for job search with more than 1400 episodes and his newest show, “No BS Coaching Advice.” He is a member of The Forbes Coaches Council. “No BS JobSearch Advice Radio” was recently named a Top 10 podcast for job search. was also recently named a Top 10 YouTube channel for job search.

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Jeff Altman, The Big Game Hunter
Jeff Altman, The Big Game Hunter

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