Susan Miller on Salary Negotiations

Our August horoscopes went up! You’d be forgiven if you stopped checking because it took forever for Susan Miller to give us the thousands of words of free content we expect from her on a regular and timely basis this month. But it’s there now, including some interesting advice in regards to salary negotiations:

If you have been interviewing for a new position, you may have come to the point in talks when salary come up. Don’t force the issue — timing is everything in the interview process — but IF the topic of salary comes up, first, find out what the employer wants to give you. Do not be the first to name a price. If the offer is not enough, gently suggest a salary close to what you were expecting. Hopefully the gap between what you were expecting and what you were offered will not be too wide. No matter — this month you can be quite persuasive in presenting your case for more.

That’s kind of fascinating, right? Let the other person make you an offer, then “gently” suggest something “close to what you were expecting.” Seems rather passive and feminine to me, but maybe I’m reading too much into it. People do not often advise men to be gentle, unless they’re handling infants or fine china. Why not ask for exactly what you were expecting and then settle for something close if you must?

Considering the question does make me wonder where I have in the past gotten my advice on how to ask for more money. I have done best sometimes by not playing games. Once an HR office called to offer me a job for $27,000, and I said, instinctively, “I can’t take less than $28,000.” They said fine and that was it. Other times I have had more of an elaborate game plan and rationale and that has also worked. My success rate in asking for more money over the course of my life as a wage-slave has been about 75–80%? Maybe even higher? But then, I’ve never asked for a lot. Maybe if I had been more ambitious and aggressive about it, my success rate would be lower but my successes themselves would be a lot more notable. What are your strategies? Do they work?

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