The elephant in the room

In every conversation you have with a potential employer, there is an elephant in the room that you need to be prepared for. There are 12 pointers that will help you with the elephant.


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What is it? Salary negotiation? Whoo. And I'll simply say, for most of you, you spend all your time on everything that takes place before we get to a negotiation. You fixate on your resume and cover letter. You practice interviewing, and that's great. But then you spend no time preparing to negotiate. And thus you get to that moment, and you're completely unprepared and taken advantage of.

I came across an article by that name, "The Elephant in the Room: Salary Negotiation." I'll have a link to it in the notes. And they highlighted a couple of points that I think are fabulous, that I want to share with you.

Never start the negotiation with what you want. Don't feel obligated to share what your current salary is. Reframe the conversation to discuss what your expectations are for the role. And that's easy to do in places where they can't ask you your legal ask for salary. And it's harder to do in places where they still can. But there are ways that I've covered in other videos to deflect that conversation. And the simplest way i can say is by responding with, "It's too early for me to talk about what I'm looking for. You know, the fact of the matter is I haven't met my boss ,don't have a clear sense of what the expectations are the role, what the demands are going to be, what my team is going to be like, I can't really assess what I'll be looking for at this stage" because HR is asking you because they want to make it as finite as possible. So deflect conversations about what you're looking for.

Number two, if they ask you for a number, ask for a salary band. Make note of it and think about it. That's the salary range for the position. Always ask for more than what you need. Remember, often they'll ask you what do you need to take this job and that translates into the least amount of money that you find acceptable. Always go for more.

Don't let imposter syndrome gets you, you are valuable. You're doing real work, and deserve to be paid fairly for. So true.

Research salaries in your industry, region, experience level to make an informed decision about your salary range. And I'm going to remind you, there is a range even within all of these. So don't always think in terms of the highest number, although you should try to get it. Think in terms of the range of numbers that will be acceptable to you for your market area. Try to understand the market rate for your area and fully remote companies, as well. Much the same thing as I just spoke about.

Salary isn't the only thing that can be negotiated. For example, total compensation equals base salary, plus equity shares plus performance bonus and signing bonus. Sometimes these can be negotiated, too. If you aren't able to get what you want as a base salary, try to get an increase in other areas like vacation days, commission, work schedule (4 day week, maybe) and other things. The negotiation sweetspot (I love this one beacuse it is very true), is when the company has decided they want to hire you but before you get the offer before you accept the offer. This way, you can still use your leverage before jumping through the more formal employment hoops, like, you know, company performance, individual performance reviews. Things like that. That one, that last part, I don't buy into entirely. I think the first thing is, you know, you do have a sweet spot here. And the sweet spot is before you accept the offer, and when they've made it, where you've got some leverage because they've decided that you were the best person they found for this role.

You don't have to make a decision on an offer on the spot. Give yourself some time to confer with other people like your family and mentors and compare other offers. Practice several negotiating scenarios so you feel more prepared and confident in the moment. And, again, that's part of what I always talk about is practice.

Know your number and say your number confidently and stick to it.

These are 12 great points I think will help you. Hope you found this helpful. I'm Jeff Altman. Visit there's a lot more there to help you. If you don't need a lot more now, you may need it in the future. Put that address into your phone so this way you can retrieve it when you might be able to use it.

I also want to say if you're interested in a one on one coaching, at the site, you can schedule time for a free discovery call or schedule time for coaching. I would love to help you. And connect with me on LinkedIn, as well at

Hope you have a terrific day and most importantly, be great. Take care.


Jeff Altman, The Big Game HunterJeff Altman, The Big Game Hunter is a coach who worked as a recruiter for what seems like one hundred years. His work involves career coaching, as well as executive job search coaching, job coaching, and interview coaching. He is the host of “No BS Job Search Advice Radio,” the #1 podcast in iTunes for job search with more than 2000 episodes.

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