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EP 1464 How do recruiters and HR experts catch someone in a bluff during salary negotiations? What will you do to find out their real baseline?

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I shortened the question for the title. The full question is, "How can recruiters and HR professionals catch someone in a bluff during salary negotiations? What would you do to find out there will baseline? "

I'm going to start with the 2nd question 1st. Part of how it is done is that you tell us. From the time of the 1st conversation until the time an offer is going to be extended, you been saying certain things. In the 1st conversation, you may be asked, "How much are you currently earning? How much are you looking for? Do you have anything else going on? What is the rock-bottom base salary, exclusive of bonus that you find acceptable to join the staff of the firm?" Recruiters might ask questions like that in the 1st conversation.

From there, as interviews progress, I recruiter might ask questions that test what is going on with you. "Do you have anything else going on? Where is that in the process?" Here's the real thing you can't head off – – we know much of the behavior that other firms engage in.

You see, recruiters have a pulse on the market for a long time and you are just a novice stepping in. For example, if you say that you are earning $95,000 or $125,000 , and are expecting an offer of $140,000 if you are making $95,000, we think to ourselves, "Sniff sniff. I smell bullshit." That's because firms tend not to do that. They try to get firms for the least amount rather than the most amount confirms just don't give out 50% raises.

So, you are telling us a lot of stuff along the way that allows us to detect BS. Then, from there comes "the wild offer" that is completely out of bounds with reality. I will give you an example of why think it is a wild offer. And $95,000 your person does not do the same work as a $140,000 your person. A $140,000 year person does not do the same work is a $200,000, per year person. Get where I'm coming from?

Organizations have similar, although not identical, wage structures, where they pay for certain tasks. If you are an assistant director or a director in an organization, you tend to be slotted in a certain bandwidth. As such, when you are taking this dramatic increase, from one bad to something that is radically different, we smell BS.

You are telling us a bunch of stuff along the way that allows us to know that you are bluffing.

The classic bluff is, "I have another offer. I need a decision by 4 o'clock this afternoon."

"What's the other offer for? What's keeping you from accepting it? What are you waiting for our offer for if that one is so good?" You better have an answer for that one because that's the ultimate bluff that most people fail at.

"I will take the other offer. It is a good one. I'd like yours better."

"Why do you like our position better?"

What they are doing is extracting from you why you should turn down the other offer.

Like I said at the beginning, you give us a lot of information in the course of interviewing, in the course of conversations, that exposes lies. That tells recruiters, both corporate and third-party, that something is not quite right. Coupled with their own knowledge of the market, it is hard to get away with stuff.


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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