The 8 Most Common Salary Negotiation Tactics

Posted October 09, 2014 by
Jim Hopkinson

Jim Hopkinson, contributing writer

Within the language of every culture exists a sub-language – a collection of words, phrases, acronyms, slang, and jargon unique to that area of life, which must be deciphered in order to truly gain an understanding. The language of negotiation is no different.

Wikipedia has a great list of negotiation terms and tactics, so let’s highlight some of them and frame them in terms of salary negotiation.

8. Auction

Anyone that has used EBay or watched the reality show Storage Wars is familiar with an auction, a bidding process designed to create competition when multiple parties all want the same thing. As an auction escalates at a frenzied pace, not only do people want what is being bid on, they want to win just for the thrill of winning.

In a salary negotiation, candidates can create an “auction effect” when they have multiple offers. Let’s say you’re a sales executive with an extensive background in photography, and you receive an offer to work at Canon cameras. It’s a fair offer and you’re mulling it over.

Suddenly, you receive a slightly better offer for a similar position at Nikon. They’d really like to have you on board. While an all-out Sotheby’s-style auction for your services might not ensue, suddenly you’ve got a lot more leverage. If you’re in Canon’s shoes and you don’t accept their offer, not only are they going to lose the employee, they’re going to lose them to a heated rival.

7. Brinksmanship

One party aggressively pursues a set of terms to the point that the other party must either agree or walk away — basically, pushing someone to the brink. Take it or leave it.

In a workplace negotiation, things usually don’t get this aggressive. However, you need to be cautious as a jobseeker. It’s always a good idea to negotiate, but if you keep pressing for more money and more perks, the company may eventually say they’ve had enough and come back to you and effectively say, “This offer is the best that we can do, take it or leave it.”

6. Bogey

Negotiators use the bogey tactic to pretend that an issue of little or no importance is very important. Then, later in the negotiation, the issue can be traded for a major concession of actual importance.

This is a technique that candidates can use effectively. The first step is to know what’s important to you in a job. Is it a high salary? A certain title? A flexible work schedule? Bonuses? However, that does not mean you have to reveal how much each of these items actually mean to you to the hiring manager.

Example: After receiving an offer, you realize that the cost of health insurance will be $300/month ($3,600/year) more than what you are paying at your current job. You could present this number as a very important issue early on, and later negotiate an extra week vacation as a concession or perhaps a $2,500 signing bonus toward making up the difference.

The truth? The insurance costs weren’t as important as you let on. Your spouse is close to landing a new job with great benefits, and you can go on their plan a few months from now – it’s the extra vacation time that was actually a higher priority for you.

Continue reading . . .

Article by Jim Hopkinson and courtesy of

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Posted in Career Advice for Job Seekers, Salary, Scholarships and Finances | Tagged Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , ,