Article #23 From the "What If ..." Library on Salary Negotiation

What If ...

More Phrases to Postpone Salary Discussions

Here are some more ways to postpone salary talk. The first two (namely, “Hell, don’t made no diffr’nce…” and “throw us off track…”) are just about the same as the versions in the book, Negotiating Your Salary: How to Make $1000 a Minute.  Then there are three others that are new.

 Employers often ask about money early--well before it serves you to discuss it.  What do you do? 

If you discuss money too soon, you run the risk of being:
1)    Screened out as "unaffordable" if you want too much. 
2)    Judged to be a  "lightweight" (and possibly losing the job) if you ask for too little. 
3)    Boxed into a low salary. 

Here's how to prepare yourself.

Choose two or three phrases from the article.  Practice saying them to a friend to anchor that assertive feeling in your body.  Otherwise, you might wilt in the heat of the job interview.

The phrases you choose should be compatible with your personality and style. 

Example:  A crusty, shoot-from-the-hip fellow was facing a pay cut after his employer, a company that paid high salaries, closed.
When he was asked about what he was paid at his last job, he looked the employer in the eye and said, "Hell, don't make no differ’nce what I wuz a-makn’ before.  It's what you're gonna to pay me that counts, ain't it?" 

Example: A shy, but charming young woman, who had been very underpaid in her last job, was asked what she was being paid. 

She replied sweetly, "I know you want to know if you can afford me, but I find that discussing salary this early throws us off track.  I can assure you I won't ask for anything outside of my market value, but what interests me most right now is how can I help you here?  Is this job a good fit?  Could we discuss that?" 

The employer agreed, and she wrapped him around her little finger and got the job-without having to discuss salary.

You might also say, "It's difficult to talk about money until I have a good idea of the responsibilities of the job."   Fair enough!  After all, if they just want you to answer the phones, that's one salary range.  If they want you to manage a department of 25 people, and be on call 24/7, well, that's another salary range.

The main idea to get across is that money won't be an issue.  You might say, "I'm sure you pay fair salaries, don't you?"  What can they say?  Oh course we do! 

Another phrase that works well is,  "I'm looking to fit into your salary structure."

If they press the issue, you might say, "I'm really uncomfortable talking about salary at this point.  I'm excited about this job, and I don't want to be screened out because I'm making too much or I'm making too little.  Can we talk about the job?  If the job is a good fit, I'm sure the money will handle itself."

For more about this, see Negotiating Your Salary: How to Make $1000 a Minute, Chapter five.