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Discussion on: Did you negotiate ($) for your first technical job?

bbenefield89 profile image
Brandon Benefield

Don't say a number until they do. This lets you act with more info about where their head is and don't undersell yourself.

I've always been told to go for this but in reality I've never been able to push the conversation in that direction. It's always the same conversation. "What is your expected salary?"

Now, HR reps and Hiring Managers are going to be much more experienced at negotiating a salary than myself so instead of giving them the chance to find a low-ball figure or maybe a decent number but still on the lower end, I prefer to just give a range starting from my absolute lowest, add $10k to that number, then the "highest" in the range is usually another $20k. For example, in Central Florida the average salary for a Junior is about $62k so my walk-away number is $62k but I tell them somewhere between $72k - $92k.

tofraley profile image
Taylor Fraley

I like that strategy. The one thing I would change is to focus on being an above average developer (which you probably are :)). Then, logically, your walk away price should be some number well above the average.

One thing I like about this approach is I notice the caliber of companies increases. The low-ballers and companies that hire based on the average salary are probably companies that you would not enjoy working at. However, the companies you would enjoy also tend to be the ones who don't use years of experience and as a crutch. They identify good potential and pay above average to hire and nurture those with potential.

NOTE: On the topic of politely not answering the salary question, google Chris Voss + Salary Negotiation.

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tofraley profile image
Taylor Fraley • Edited on

Here's a great video interview with Chris Voss where he addresses the topic of the salary question:

"To answer that question blindly is a little bit like...asking a tailor, 'How much for a suit?'
You don't get mad at the tailor for asking you questions to try to clarify. If you are in an interview where you are not allowed to clarify, you are in the wrong job interview!"

adambrandizzi profile image
Adam Brandizzi

The range strategy never worked for me: the interviewer always told me "Well, of course we are going to choose the lowest pay :)".

I'm a big fan of Patrick McKenzie, and he has great posts on this (the popular choice and my favorite) and he always suggests not proposing a value first. I should do that someday but still need more cold blood for that.