Job interviews and negotiating salary

February 25, 2018

Hi all,

I came for the sexual advice and stayed for the career advice... I've lurked for a long time and found that I really like the philosophical approach members here take towards their career.

Question, I'm going to be interviewing for a leadership position soon at a large company. While brushing up on my interview tips, the interwebs is rife with the advice to hold out on giving your desired salary, instead delaying and using other verbal tactics to make the company give their number first. The idea is you're at an advantage this way with the numbers. But it strikes me that this is a somewhat passive and rather lame feeling way to go about things, especially for someone who is trying to make the case that they would be a strong leader of people in their organization. Wouldn't it make more sense to do as much research as possible and then give a number (perhaps padded upwards to negate any possibility of shooting too low), and then standing by it as long as you reasonably can?

In general, what is your approach to negotiating salary?

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Post Information
Title Job interviews and negotiating salary
Author electric_dragon1
Upvotes 8
Comments 26
Date February 25, 2018 2:36 PM UTC (3 years ago)
Subreddit /r/askMRP
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[–]InChargeMan5 points6 points  (1 child) | Copy Link

There are a million ways to look at this. I'll tell you my point of view as someone responsible for attracting and hiring successful employees.

There is no right answer because each person is different. What is the job market, how specialized are you, how good are you, etc... I personally don't care for potential employees who want to try to negotiate. I specifically do not tolerate those who take my offer, shop it around, and come back and tell me XYZ is offering $5k more. My immediate response: GTFO No bullshit, I've done this a number of times. The red flag for me is when people need 3 days to think about it. That means they really are looking for time to shop my offer. Go fuck yourself. I had a guy tell me he wanted $75k, I agreed, gave him the offer, and he came back and wanted more because XYZ would pay more. I told him his offer has been rescinded, good day. I SAID GOOD DAY.

As an employer, I know what my company offers in terms of career advancement, benefits, working environment, etc. If you can't see the value in this, then hit the bricks. Similarly, if you act like a back-alley hooker willing to work for whoever pays you a few cents more, you are a fool. If you are sufficiently valuable, you should be able demand the salary you deem appropriate and focus on where you actually want to work.

Just like women, abundance mentality is everything. If you show up begging like a pussy, the stink of desperation will kill it for you, and if you are hired you are taken advantage of. If you know that they need you, show them why they need you, and give the employer your "salary requirement", it is then up to them. Could you negotiate for more? Maybe, or, you could screw yourself out of your top job (the one with the best career advancement opportunities). A few thousand bucks doesn't change much in your life, but working at the right place, with the right people and with the right opportunities can.

Also, what if you come in saying "My salary requirement is $100k" and they say, well, we are only willing to pay $90k? Are you the prize? If you are the prize you tell them (in a respectful manner) how much you appreciate them taking their time, how you think it is a cool company, how you have a lot of vision for how you could fit in, but at this point you need to end the interview, as you don't want to waste any of your time or theirs. Shake hands, tell them good luck, and walk the fuck out. Just like a hero in an action movie, don't look back. And for fuck's sake do not say "if you change your mind give me a call." You don't mince words, you are a man of action, and you expect that from others. If they don't call you, fine, that is why you had your number. If your number is actually $90k, then you fucked up by saying $100k. If you are valuable, they will call you. They will have fear of missing out. It is all about abundance mentality. The world is full of jobs, and pussy...

EDIT: Another tip: If it is a sufficiently large company, once on-site try to find a guy to be bro's with ASAP. i.e. while hanging near the snack machine waiting for your interview. Pump the fuck out of them for info, get their contact info, try to go to lunch with them, etc. This way you can get the real scoop on this prospective employer and try to get insider info on salary tolerance.

[–]SteelSharpensSteel1 point2 points  (0 children) | Copy Link

This is a good perspective. Abundance mentality is everything. I moved jobs several years ago, and within a few months I had a few offers from the point I decided to move on. My current job I beat out 75 other applicants for. My viewpoint is - they're lucky to have me. And if they don't treat me right, there's a ton of other companies out there that would gladly take me off their hands. I'm at the point now where my network is strong enough that I could call a couple of executives and get a similar job within two weeks.

Be abundant in your mentality and your job search. Be the prize.

[–]31Olives2 points3 points  (5 children) | Copy Link

I have made many career moves and always got more money or time off. Basically what I wanted. For me it is easy. I don't play games. I state my needs as early as I am asked. Get them to where they ask. Then I give them my requirements plainly and I don't negotiate. I also usually have sense of the market I'm in. I don't care about potentially getting more. I know what I need to move and say it. Always be in position to walk away.


[–]electric_dragon1[S] 0 points1 point  (4 children) | Copy Link

So of the negotiation scenarios you have been in, how many have you walked away from when you didn't get what you wanted?

[–]31Olives1 point2 points  (3 children) | Copy Link


[–]electric_dragon1[S] 0 points1 point  (2 children) | Copy Link

Does this also mean that you don’t pad your salary expectation? Because you don’t intend to negotiate or accept anything other than what you offer?

[–]31Olives0 points1 point  (1 child) | Copy Link

Correct. I always go up from where I am considering the responsibility and market. I research as much as possible to understand the market. When I am comfortable I have done my homework and the time is right, I tell them the required number (or whatever else you need). If the offer does not meet my needs, I decline as respectfully as possible, but plainly. If the offer meets my requirements, I accept with no counter. I don't like games. I am also establishing how I will operate in the future.

[–]electric_dragon1[S] 0 points1 point  (0 children) | Copy Link

Really like it. I also dislike the negotiation game, not just because it's stressful (which it is) but because it feels disingenuous . For the position I am going for specifically it would send bad signals about my leadership ability...

[–]JudgeDoom691 point2 points  (0 children) | Copy Link

When they make you an offer, always reply "can you go any higher with the salary?". Usually they'll bump it up a little to close the deal. If they won't budge, you haven't rejected them, so you're still in a good position to accept the position if you choose.

If you take their first offer, both sides are left unsatisfied. You'll always be wondering if you could have gotten more, and they'll always be wondering if they could have gotten you for less.

[–]creating_my_life1 point2 points  (1 child) | Copy Link

You have to know your walk-away number. And you have to be willing to walk away.

What this means is that your salary is ultimately determined by YOUR SECOND BEST OPTION.

I don't mind bringing up salary first, because I always shoot high. I also know what they're likely to be paying, and the market dynamics.

I also start the salary negotiations fast and early. In THE FIRST interview with either HR or the hiring manager, I simply state something along the lines of, "My understanding is that this role has a base salary of XX per year, bonus, and full benefits. If this isn't your situation, there's no point in us continuing this discussion." It puts it out there VERY quickly.

Yes, I've "lost" a few "opportunities" this way, but if I was never going to accept them, who gives a fuck?

[–]electric_dragon1[S] 0 points1 point  (0 children) | Copy Link

This has become my plan. Find my minimum number and my asking for number. I don't think I'll go into this with a single "take it or leave it" number- I don't mind negotiation, but I will be ready to say no if they cannot make or break that minimum. Asking for number will be the only number that is discussed in the interview and I plan to keep everything in context to that number. Meanwhile there will be the minimum number behind the scenes. And of course my minimum number is a number greater than I am earning now and will keep my family comfortable.

Follow up question, when evaluating a salary how much value do you place on a bonus? I've heard of some guys accepting 10% less salary if there is a 10% bonus, for example. But another way to look at it is that a bonus is a bonus- it is not part of your everyday wages and you shouldn't rely on it. Same question applies to stock options...

[–]Taipanshimshon0 points1 point  (3 children) | Copy Link

I recently walked away from an offer that had one element of the contract that I disagreed with. They wouldn’t change it. Oh well

Then my current job gave me a raise

[–]31Olives0 points1 point  (2 children) | Copy Link

To add one element after reading the Corporateland post. I never talk about what I'm currently paid. It is not relevant. I talk about what I need to move and that is it. If pressed, I give them what I need as the answer and that always is "marked up" from where I am.

[–]Taipanshimshon0 points1 point  (0 children) | Copy Link

The only thing to keep in mind is regional differences if any for your job market

[–]weakandsensitive0 points1 point  (0 children) | Copy Link

I haven't had an issue talking about salary. I know what I'd make a move for. Anything less, can't be bothered.

[–]SteelSharpensSteel0 points1 point  (0 children) | Copy Link

I think it's also very important to know what you're worth as well.

[–]BobbyPeru0 points1 point  (0 children) | Copy Link

You have to listen carefully and read between the lines. They will usually give subtle hints, either verbal or nonverbal that you can use.

There is no hard and fast rule except to read the cues.... mostly everything is negotiable, but there are many factors. For example, if there are hundreds of applicants and a few of you are very close, they might not be as flexible. So, just look at all information available and decide how you want to approach from there.

[–]markpf730 points1 point  (0 children) | Copy Link

As long a you have more than one good option then you are the prize and they will compete over you. Sounds familiar.

[–]Big_Daddy_PDX0 points1 point  (0 children) | Copy Link

Sometimes you need to understand more about their expectations of what they want you to accomplish in the role. You’d also want to be confident that you understand the challenges included (communication, fear, org structures, etc).
The best way to proceed is when YOU know your number. Not a range, but your number. Ideally this would be a full comp number that includes your benefits, bonus, stock, parking costs, etc. so it isn’t a stretch when asked for a salary number that you need more details in the role and the full computer structure to speak accurately.
Companies should also know your number before they put you into screening consideration, but so many recruiters still play by the “just tell us what we want to know and we don’t need to tell you this basic and important information” - so ridiculous. I’d much prefer to tell a candidate that our ideal target is $130K and then find out they are looking for $150K. That way I could tell them they would t get close to their number. I reason to waste everyone’s time. But if your number is $150K and suddenly you have no problem interviewing for a much lower salary, I’ll have concerns.
My standard advice is have a number you want to be paid and broadcast it early. Ideally you’ll get cut from a few interviews, but that’s the point. If you’re willing to interview for a role that’s beneath your number that means you’ve made up a number that exceeds your market value and you risk ethics erosion.

[–]crimson_chris0 points1 point  (0 children) | Copy Link

One thing to note is that base salary is not everything. I took a new job recently and my pay would have been higher than my manager. I took a 1% pay cut but got a 12% signing bonus. I work in tech you can also negotiate for annual bonus % and stock. Be creative. Sometimes a recruiter can't budge on salary but other things are negotiable.

[–]weakandsensitive0 points1 point  (0 children) | Copy Link

20k/year difference doesn't matter in the short run - so long as you have the opportunity to make it up.

I don't bother with salary until we've decided we like each other and want each other.

[–]Iammrp20 points1 point  (1 child) | Copy Link

I agree with the advice to not bring up salary early on. The company is deciding if you are a good fit. If you bring up salary before them you are assuming they already want to hire you and that can come across as arrogant which may cause them to pass altogether. The hiring process is largely emotional and not logical.

In my experience you want them to fall in love with you to the point that the hiring manager has already told his manager that you're a great fit because you can do x and y and z. Once salary comes up the hiring manager will have a harder time negotiating. He can't say no if you are asking the top end of that position. The only way he could pass without losing face is if you are outside the already approved top end.

Tldr: sale yourself first.

[–]InChargeMan0 points1 point  (0 children) | Copy Link

I disagree. Why waste your time dancing like a monkey to get a job if they won't pay what you need. It isn't the first thing you discuss, but don't leave it for last. Also, sometimes it is about how you say something that is more important. I like the term "salary requirement". Now you are dealing in facts, not negotiating. Negotiating is something you do with your adversary to get the upper hand. The new employer is your friend, so you are going to work together to make the job work if possible.

[–]Alpha_Engineer99-1 points0 points  (1 child) | Copy Link

Who ever says a number first loses.

[–]InChargeMan1 point2 points  (0 children) | Copy Link

Not true. For example, if the employer says "our range is X to Y, not a dime more" then where does that leave you? They have already put their line in the sand. It is going to be hard to get them to go higher, this hurts their feels, since they are supposed to be the dominate one in this dynamic. Even if they begrudgingly increase their offer, there will be hard feelings.

Alternatively, if you speak first, tell them your salary requirements as a matter of fact, just like any of the other facts on your resume, then it opens the door for them to internally justify the higher salary before even mentioning it to you. They can easily adjust their range if it has never been publicly stated. Nobody wants to look like a pussy.

You can kill a man, but you can't kill an idea.

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