Your Best Leverage When Negotiating

By Jeff Altman, The Big Game Hunter
What is your best leverage when negotiating salary?

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There’s a lot of great advice about negotiating salary that begins from the time you start your interview until the time you get your offer.

For example, know your value. Understand that employers expect you to negotiate. I’m not so sure about that one. But there’s information about your industrycoffee shop and company and what firms pay. Asking for more than you want. Demonstrating in your interviews, that you’re worth more than what the increase is that you’re going to be getting. You know that you want to use clear language. And there are other things that you can negotiate in addition to salary.

There’s lots of great advice like that. But ultimately, some firms are just going to say no, and they’re going to take a hard line with you. And they’re telling you something by doing that. What they’re telling you is, you’re just not important to us. We’ve got a price, you’re a commodity. If it’s not you, it’s going to be someone else. So your ultimate leverage, your greatest leverage in the negotiation is your ability to say no, and to send a clear message to them.

Now, the clear message is, ‘hey, look. I get a very clear message that I’m just another body to do this job. And if that’s the way you’re going to woo me on the way in, I can only imagine what it’s going to be like once I’m there, and once I’m performing. So I get it very clearly. Thus, I’m gonna say no to your offer.’

Now, at this point, the deal is blown up, and they may come back to you with an increased offer. ‘What would it take?’ ‘Well, I’ve been telling you all along, I need a range in this area.’ ‘We can’t go that high.’ ‘ Well, you’re under the market and thus, I don’t want to join under the market, knowing that my increases are going to be predicated upon what my salary is once I’m on board. And thus, this is my time, where I’ve got to be insistent.’

Now, again, they may demean you, devalue you, and that’s what they’re doing by not negotiating with you, but someone else is going to hire you. I don’t care if it’s recessionary times, someone else will hire you. And your goal is to get as much as possible at the front end. Because like I said, the back end, once you’re on board, your raises are predicated upon your salary.

So don’t accept their demeaning offer view and just shoot it down. Send them a very clear message, that you’re not going to be devalued just because they can’t afford it. And thus, move on. That’s your ultimate leverage. That’s your greatest leverage in this situation.

Hope you find this helpful. I’m Jeff Altman. Visit my website, There’s a ton in the blog that I’ll help you. Plus, you can schedule a time for a coaching session with me or a free discovery call where you can figure out whether I’m worth working with. I’d love to help you.

I’ve got great courses that are available through the site, primarily around interviewing currently, but there are more coming so I’ll just simply say visit

Lastly, connect with me on LinkedIn at and subscribe to on YouTube and anywhere else that you find it because there are a lot of places that it appears and No BS Job Search Advice Radio. Have a terrific day and, most importantly, be great!

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

Jeff 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 over 2400 episodes.

Are you interested in 1:1 coaching, interview coaching, advice about networking more effectively, how to negotiate your offer or leadership coaching? People hire me to provide No BS career advice whether that is about a job search, hiring better, leadership, management or support with a workplace issue. Schedule a discovery call at my website, 

My courses are available on my The courses include ones about Informational InterviewsInterviewing, final interview preparation, salary negotiation mistakes to avoidthe top 10 questions to prepare for on any job interview, and starting a new job.

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