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To Get a Higher Salary, Try Using Hostage Negotiator Tactics

Posted Aug 17, 2011 5:30 AM CDT
By Debra Cassens Weiss

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When negotiating a salary, you may want to try tactics used by FBI hostage negotiators.

That is the advice offered by Jim Hopkinson, author of Salary Tutor: Learn the Salary Negotiation Secrets No One Ever Taught You. Writing in the Wall Street Journal (sub. req.), Hopkinson suggests borrowing these hostage negotiator techniques: using minimal encouragement, paraphrasing, mirroring and pausing the conversation.

He offers this example. You are talking to a human resources representative who offers you $75,000. Respond by saying, "I see. So you're saying that the salary for this position would be $75,000." Then pause. Sometimes the person who made the salary offer will rush to fill in the silence and offer a higher amount.

Hopkinson also says job seekers can mimic hostage negotiators by:

• Gathering information ahead of time. Make sure you know what kind of salary is merited for your skills.

• Building trust. Listen to the salary proposal, try to understand the position, then offer your own data supporting higher pay.

• Staying calm. Storming into the boss’s office and threatening to quit isn’t a good idea.

Hopkinson offered more tips in a live chat transcribed at the Wall Street Journal's blog the Juggle.


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