Monday, July 25, 2011

Negotiating a Salary (haz click aquí para Español)

"you got to know when to hold em, know when to fold em, know when to walk away and know when to run"

This isn't just good advice for poker. You can apply it to salary negotiations.

Before you search for the job of your dreams, before you take a call from a recruiter, before you step into an office for an interview - you have to answer one question: "How much am I worth"?

That number is based on a few factors:
-education (where you go/went and how far up the ladder does matter)
-experience (internships and where, jobs and where/how long)
-speculation (what you bring to the job, company -- short and long term)

If you don't have a clear response to the above. If you don't understand the response well enough to speak to it...then you walk into every situation behind the eight ball (even before you hit "enter" on that job search, certainly before you agree to call back the recruiter, every time you walk into that interview)

Without knowing how much you are will you know when to hold em, fold em....get it?

For those of you who are thinking - what? WTF? Is this guy really comparing a salary negotiation to gambling?? You better believe it.

I believe in hard work.....merit always counts, but when you meet with a prospective employer - they're "the house" and the house always holds all the cards....the odds are always with the house.

A) If you contacted them - your hand isn't that strong.
B) If the recruiter (third party) called you - your hand just got a little better
C) If the company contacted you - you're in a position of power

In any of the scenarios above.....never, ever talk about money until it's time to talk about money.
They will- at all stages (some right off the bat) want to know how much you want to make. There is only one answer to that question (before an offer is made). The answer is "I am open to discussing a salary that is fair and competitive based on the responsibilities of the position and my experience". If they can't accept that answer....then it's time to "walk away".

If they accept that answer...congratulations! You're "holding em".

If you give them a just lost, "fold em". At this stage how do you know if you just low balled yourself? Maybe they would have been willing to pay you more. Remember -- a few thousand more is not a major impact to the employer, but it can make a major impact on your personal budget.

So, now you know when to hold em, fold em and walk away....but when do you "run"? When they ask you how much you are making in your current job.

What you are making (in your current job) has no relevance to what the salary (of the prospective job) is. Remember...that salary is based on the existing budget (for that job), what's competitive in the market for that job and what you bring to the table (short and long term).

Some employers will ask you what you currently make because a $5-10k increase might be enticing for you to jump ship and join them. That might be enough for you to do so, but think about this -- what if that bump is less (significantly less) than what the salary is budgeted for??

Here' a link for more advice on salary negotiation:

As always - feel free to send me any questions.



  1. oye me encanto tu bloggg!!! esta buenisimo...
    me sirvio ya que un canal esta pensando contactarse conmigo...dato de un amigo que me pidio el telefono....y justo estaba en duda si llamarlos y yo contactarme con ellos...lei justo hoy lo tuyo y me ayudo muchisimo...esperare que ellos me llamen!!! I will get the poweeeer!!!!
    thanks man...!!!

  2. Gracias alegro que la informacion te ayudo!!!

  3. Great post Hugo! It really puts things is perspective.

  4. Thanks Fernando! Some time we undervalue our worth...when we should always be our best "agent".

  5. What school you attend does not matter as much as education, experience and speculation. Negotiation is much more about leadership and confidence.

  6. Excelente informacion y mas en estos momentos que dia con dia hay un pulseo entre el valor del recurso humano y la "crisis economica"...

  7. Muchisimas Gracias, Luis! La “crisis económica mundial” no debe crear incertidumbre en nuestro valor como empleado (y ser humano).