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EP 1085 Employers try a lot of different strategies to “finesse you” when discussing salary. 

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I wanted to talk with you today about 1 of those employer strategies when they are speaking with you during their interviews, or afterwords that's designed there designed to get you to compromise on money.

1st of all, I want you to think that from the employer's standpoint their goal is to get you for as little as possible and, from your standpoint you are trying to earn as much is possible. Often, what employers will wind up doing is (initially I will say this facetiously) is a variation of, "show me the hand." There show you their hand and do in a way that's designed to talk you down.

For example, they will say, "Oh, the economy is awful!" Or, "We saw this other person. They are really good. We are thinking about you, but they're willing to take less than you." There are lots of these things that employers will say that are designed to "finesse you." They will say things like, "Oh, we're not doing that well. Our quarterly results…"

Here are a few facts. The 1st one is that's their problem. In the case of any other person, number 2 is that if they really think that person is better, they should hire them. If they are the best qualified person for them to hire, that is the right person for them to bring on board. The $5000 more, or the $10,000 more that you are asking for will be made up in the way of productivity, and they would not be raising the subject unless they were thinking favorably of you. They are trying to talk you down.

I'll simply say if they raise the subject of corporate earnings ("Oh! Where having a down quarter this quarter.") you don't really know how much they're making and if this group is one that is going to be cut or the risk of being cut, why would you want to join them anyway? You also really don't know what they're thinking, although I do think the really signaling something to you by having this conversation.

Don't worry about what you're thinking about other people. It's a deflection that's designed to distract you. You always have to be thinking that your value the value you've assessed yourself for, is really the correct value., If you haven't done your research, that's one thing. But I'm working with the assumption that you have.

You have to think positively in terms of how you are presenting yourself and your potential effectiveness. That's because, frankly, if you don't have the value they would be raising. This is the subject. So don't fall for their game.

Instead, state very clearly, if they raise the subject of the other person, "I don't wish to be rude but take a look at my value in the market. On the firm seem to think I'm worth that amount of money and if you think the other person is better, you should hire them. However, if you decide that on the right person for you and frankly, this seems like a great opportunity for me, I just want you to make your strongest offer."

This approach applies to business owners as well.

Have you ever gone into a negotiation where you try to sell a product or service and the buyer basically says something to the effect of, "I have 3 other proposals and to her for less than you."

"Great! You should buy 1 of them if you think that's what's best for you. But, if you're looking for someone who can…" And then you start reselling it.

All these kind of deflections that come up are all designed to "finesse you" into taking less than real value. Don't fall for it. Instead of doing that, stand your ground. Do it in a polite way.

Will it work all the time? No! If you take 10% less, if you accept $5000 less than the real value, who is really hurt?

The hiring manager feels like a hero because they got you for less money. You are the one who has to live with the consequence of the decision. At the end of the day, experience tells me that will eat at your insides and will bother you.

Since future raises are going to be based on what you are currently earning, don't fall for their strategy.


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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