Overshoot On Your Salary Request To Get The Best Offer

Asking for a ridiculously high salary — even when offered as a joke — can get you a much higher salary offer than if you stay within the typical salary range for a job, the Harvard Business Review suggests.

Photo by Ross Breadmore.

In a recent simulation, job candidates who jokingly said they'd like to earn $US100,000 for an administrative assistant job were offered 9 per cent more than those who said their previous salary level as $US29,000. Todd J. Thorsteinson of the University of Idaho, the researcher, said:

In a negotiation, an initial offer-even one offered in jest-can serve as an "anchor", affecting the eventual outcome.

While this was just a simulation and ridiculous joking might not be appropriate for your job search or salary negotiations, especially in a tight job market, starting on the higher end of a salary level when you know that the employer is interested in you may set this anchor for a higher salary, perhaps. Thoughts?

Go Ahead and Ask for an Absurdly High Salary [Harvard Business Review]


    As someone who employs an increasing number of staff (our iOS development & web application studio has doubled in size in the last 18 months to nearly 10 staff this year), here's something else to consider:

    If I am interviewing a potential employee, I also want to make sure that the investment (training, mentoring, etc) that we put into any employee will pay off through a long-lasting relationship and that we are not just a brief "stopping-off point" in someone's career.

    So, if an applicant pitches an *insane* salary compared to the job being offered, then I have to at least consider that either the applicant is too high-powered for the job (and so will get bored or troublesome in the long run), or that they just think more highly of themselves than the reality of what they bring to the table.

    An employee is worth $X to a business based on their savings/sales/productivity throughout the period of time that they are to be associated with that business. Finding that number is what the negotiation should be about.

    Government and academia may be different - and I wonder if any of the good folk at Harvard Business Review have actually been on either side of the private job market equation.

    In an interview situation, as soon as I get a sniff that a candidate isn't going to be realistic or reasonable about their expectations I've pretty much moved on to the next opportunity in my head ... and I expect candidates to do the same with job interviews.

    Starting a working relationship with a bulls**t power-play almost never works out well, but do it with mutual respect and communication and that's something that you can build on in years to come.

      would you mind giving us the name of your company as it'll be good for the technical folks who read Lifehacker to know which company to avoid. That's if you have the guts too.

        Click his name.

        really? what are you? 5?

        all his points were valid. infact they were all pretty much common sense.

        "In a recent simulation, job candidates who jokingly said they’d like to earn $US100,000 for an administrative assistant job were offered 9 per cent more than those who said their previous salary level as $US29,000."

        doesn't make much sense, unless everyone in the simulation was making $29k.

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