Notice the Message Behind The Question When Negotiating |

Follow Jeff Altman, The Big Game Hunter on Facebook

There is a message sent with some of the questions and behaviors employers have when negotiating.

Read Full Transcript

I want to talk with you about depersonalizing some of the things that happen during an interview that involve a negotiation or, for that matter, could involve an interview. No matter which 1 it is, job hunters sometimes get really testy and touchy about employer questions. It is though they never heard the line, " It's business. It's not personal." But they personalize everything. As a result, they become offended rather than looking at things as a negotiating ploy.

So, for example, when a firm is talking with you as a candidate pretty early on and they are trying to get a sense of how much you earn and how much we're looking for, and, if they are unwilling to reveal what they are willing to pay, job hunters take it very personally. "Why won't they tell me? I'm upset. You know I just want to know what the job is going to pay. "

Trust me. They will let you know if they don't want to talk with you again. If they don't see your value all at the price they're willing to pay or they can't pay enough to get you. It's really that simple. So rather than freaking out, very simply understand that they will make decisions based upon what you tell them.

So let's say you get to the offer stage. You made it past the thirty seven rounds and jumped through all the hoops that they wanted you to jump through and they've decided on you. Now they're doing some parameters testing and theQy ask, "Would reconsider a position less than the top range that they told you about?"

"WHAT?". And people get all sorts of indignant! "Why wouldn't they. . .!" They just want to know if you would consider something less.

That's because if they can save five or ten thousand dollars, they're happy to do that and you can just very simply respond by saying "Hey, look. You are bigger entity than I am? In. Is there a problem with paying me the amount that's been spoken about?" Make them defend their position proactively rather than flipping out, rather than getting defensive

If they wind up talking about some other elements of the job that winds up not being to your liking, instead of freaking out let's say they talk about a review policy), let's say they talk about a start date that isn't quite to your liking, a lesser salary, or a different review policy or start date estimate, "hat's different here," and make them explain it to you so you understand. It may not change your reaction but I think going for them explaining goes a lot further than turning your insides out, not knowing what's going on, freaking out, taking all these things as personal insults and affronts and going crazy.

Again it's business. It's not personal. They're not doing it to you. What they're trying to do was negotiate the best deal they can for them. You are experiencing the collateral impact. They're not thinking about you.

Once you try to humanize it by asking questions, it calms you down all lots and it makes them explain/justify why they want you to be flexible.

As a reminder, if you make a concession in some way, go for concessions on their side. An earlier review policy. Better benefits . . . something. Make them concede something.

If they're not willing to do that, there's a message in that for you. It's not personal. It may reflect a rigid structure that they can't defeat which you have to decide whether you are comfortable with. You have to start doing some trade offs in in your mind in order to explain to yourself why you would accommodate them and not accept or not required accommodation for them. Whatever you decide is OK; it's not bad intrinsically. It's part of the bargains in the negotiation that each side engages in.

Again, I encourage people to go for obtaining a reciprocal concession. They make something. It doesn't have to be a big deal. It can just be an extra vacation. They can be an extra personal day where the boss looks the other way and it's not counted. Whatever it is, just look for something in return.

Jeff Altman, The Big Game Hunter is a coach who worked as a recruiter for what seems like one hundred years. His work involves life coaching, as well as executive job search coaching and business life coaching. He is the host of “Job Search Radio,” “No BS Job Search Advice Radio,” and his newest show, “No BS Coaching Advice.”

Are you interested in 1:1 coaching, interview coaching, advice about networking more effectively, how to negotiate your offer or leadership coaching?  Email me at and put the word, “Coaching” in the subject line and tell me about your circumstances in the body of the email. offers great advice for job hunters—videos, my books and guides to job hunting, podcasts, articles, PLUS a community for you to ask questions of PLUS the ability to ask me questions where I function as your ally with no conflict of interest answering your questions.  

Connect with me on LinkedIn. Like me on Facebook.

You can order a copy of “Diagnosing Your Job Search Problems” for Kindle and receive free Kindle versions of “No BS Resume Advice” and “Interview Preparation.”

Don’t forget to give the show 5 stars and a good review in iTunes

If you want to know how to win more interviews, order “Winning Interviews.” You’ll learn how to win phone interviews, in-person interviews, the best question to ask on any interview and more.

Would you like to talk through a salary negotiation or potential negotiation you’re involved with? Order and schedule time with me.

Do you have questions or would like advice about networking or any aspect of your search. Order and schedule time with me.

Would you like me to critique your resume. Order a critique from me

For more about LinkedIn, order “Stacked: Double Your Job Interviews, Leverage Recruiters and Unlock LinkedIn.”

Jeff’s Kindle book, “You Can Fix Stupid: No BS Hiring Advice,” is available on Amazon.

About the author

2 Responses
  1. Maurice Levie

    Only the Corleone’s would say “It’s nothing personal, it’s just biznitch”.
    I have had several onsites where literally nothing was revealed. This used to be a hit tactic in the late 90s, and the laundry list of requirements that was asked for was frequently used to push down a rate.
    If I run into this ‘blind wall’ negotiation approach, I’ll run the other way 😉

    1. Jeff Altman

      Maurice, during recessions, the list of requirements goes up and the rates go down. When times are good, firms try to pretend that there is no bargaining. They use tactics to distract job hunters and consultants and cause them to make concessions. It is business. It isn’t personal. They do it to everyone.

Leave a Comment, Thought, Opinion. Speak like you're speaking with someone you love.

%d bloggers like this: