Let me explain the underpinnings to the question–“What is the least amount of money that you will take to accept our offer?”  There are several different ways to respond.  Whatever you do is fine but it all depends upon where you are from the standpoint of self-confidence, where your skills are, where you are in the market.

Here are a few examples:

One of the responses that I would give (If you are an experienced person and were ever in the position where you were looking for a job, you might answer sarcastically) something along the lines of, “WHATEVER YOU THINK I’M WORTH is EXACTLY what I would need.”  What that sends is a message of, “Screw you.  I’m not to get into this.”

As a beginner, 1 of the things you can say is, “I’m looking for an opportunity.  If you decide on the right person for you, and certainly, this is a great opportunity for me, I’m going to encourage you to make the strongest offer because other people are going to be interested in my credentials as well.”  The key thing in answering this question is that last phrase – – “because others are going to be interested in my credentials as well.”

What you are saying to them is, “I do not want to get into this lower number game.  I would have you make a strong offer for me and make a decision.”  Catch that one?

Here’s another approach. 

“So, what would you need to accept an offer from us?”

“I don’t think that’s the right question because what I need isn’t relevant here.  What I believe I am worth is.  What I’m seeing in the data around the web is such and such.  I’m currently earning this; this is how I value myself based upon what I am seeing.  I would expect to come in within this range or more.” 

Notice that you are demonstrating confidence by saying, “What I need isn’t relevant.”  That knocks out the lowball offer. “What is important to me is what my value is.”

Here’s another way of addressing it. “What I need isn’t relevant here because what “need” implies that you are trying to get me at a bargain price.  I want you to understand that, if you hire me, I’m going to be responsible for X number of million-dollar budget (or X number of million-dollar sales quota).  I expect that you want to take care of someone like me very generously.  After all, if your expectations are someone is going to be responsible for generating (I’m just going to arbitrarily pick a number here) $15 million in sales, you are not going to pay me $50,000 a year.  You want me to be happy.  You want me to feel as though I am an important achiever because frankly, I will be.  That’s the fact of it.  You’re not hiring a loser here.  You are hiring a top performer.  You need to compensate me as a top performer.”

Again, a different level of response and sophistication.

Finally, here’s another one.

Again, I’m not responding to the question of what salary I need to be earning.  I’m responding to the question of what salary would you NEED in order to join us.

“My current compensation is such and such.  I will be looking for an increase of X percent.  That translates into approximately such and such or more.  Again, what I believe is that I’m going to be getting multiple offers at this point; I like this opportunity and I am liking some of the other ones that I am seeing.  The fact of the matter is money is going to be an important variable for me and, I’m going to encourage you to make your strongest offer because I know others will”

Ⓒ The Big Game Hunter, Inc., Asheville, NC 2020



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, all 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 1800 episodes, and is a member of The Forbes Coaches Council.

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

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