One of the things I was most surprised by when I got into the jobs business over a decade ago was the prevalence and practice of age discrimination in hiring right here in the USA. Oh, sure... we're not like some overseas markets where job ads explicitly demand youth, or a particular gender, or beauty(!), in the applicant, but there it is...
The Ten Commandments of Salary Negotiation (Part 7): Salary expert Jack Chapman offers 10 lessons on salary negotiation in the vein of the Ten Commandments.
Don't play it cool.
Most people have the erroneous assumption that in job interviews and negotiations they should "not appear too eager." "I don't want to look desperate," they say. In some types of negotiations, purchasing a car for instance, “playing it cool” pays off. Showing how much you really want those wheels costs you some negotiating leverage.
In a job search, however, people hire enthusiasm over cool.
Does it motivate an employer to offer you less if he knows that you're eager to take the job? It could, but mostly it doesn't. The fact that an employer knows that you really want a job can even make him increase the offer in hopes of attracting and retaining such enthusiastic help.
Similarly, knowing an employer is sold on you gives you leverage. It's important that your attitude is well matched to your natural personality and that it is expressed in a manner consistent with that personality.
Some people are lovable. Some people are funny. Some are quiet as a mouse. Any type can be "just the right" style for a given hiring-decision maker. Hiring is a haphazard, prejudiced, imprecise art — certainly not a science. Hardly anyone is actually trained in how to do it.
This means that emotions will play a big part in getting hired and getting paid well.
This short, real-life story illustrates the point: Bret noticed three telltale signs his currency ran high with the hiring-decision maker. He spoke as if Bret was already a part of the company; he returned a couple of times in the interview to talk about their common alma mater; he said that the combination of graphics and teaching was rare and a great fit. Bret joined in and shared how excited he was about the fit, too. Then he used the "What's the best you can do?" strategy to capitalize on that personal chemistry and pushed the hiring-decision maker another $4,800 to the top of his range.
Read other installments in this series:
Part 1: Salary Negotiation Tips: Thou Shalt Not Speak Too Soon
Part 2: Salary Negotiation Tips: Thou Shalt Not Regret Salary Disclosure
Part 3: Salary Negotiation Tips: Let the Employer Make the First Salary Offer
Part 4: Salary Negotiation Tips: Thou Shalt Not Agree
Part 5: Salary Negotiation Tips: Know How Much Money You’re Worth
Part 6: Salary Negotiation Tips: Thou Shalt Covet Thine Own Benefits and Perks
Part 7: Salary Negotiation Tips: This Is the Job Thou Coveteth
Part 8: Salary Negotiation Tips: Thou Shalt Not Worry about Earthly Economy
Part 9: Salary Negotiation Tips: Thou Shalt Not Take the Name of Thy Salary in Vain
Part 10: Salary Negotiation Tips: Honor Thy Wealth and Prosperity