“Don’t sell yourself short Judge…you’re a tremendous slouch.” – Ty Webb

Do you have a good idea of your true “worth” in the job market? Gainfully employed or between gigs, it’s a critical nugget of information to have before the time comes when you are asked.

In your professional lifetime, if you work for someone else (i.e., 99% of us), the occasions where you have negotiating leverage are few and far between. One of these rare instances is when you are being actively pursued by another employer. You’re setting the table for a (hopefully) successful career in a new place of business; as exciting and intoxicating as it is to be “wanted,” make sure the buzz doesn’t numb you. Are you ready?

  • Do your homework ~ Online resources like GlassDoor, Salary.com, etc., make salary information fairly accessible; what you’re looking for is benchmark data: 
    • Average pay at other companies in their industry
    • Average pay for professionals with your level of experience and education
    • Average pay for professionals in your field in their area of the country
  • “Ask for stuff” ~ Simple but powerful advice from Kris Dunn; we generally hate rejection, so the thought of asking for something and getting “No!” in return can be inhibiting. You may not get what you ask for, but I can guarantee you won’t get it if you don’t ask for it. Telecommuting, vacation time, incentives, benefits, etc. – ask now or forever hold your peace.
Example of ineffective negotiation

Example of ineffective negotiation


  • “We can re-evaluate” is still “no.” ~ Make no mistake, once you’re on-board, you have announced to the world that you are pleased with the offer you accepted. Any soft promises lobbed at you during the interview process (i.e., “we don’t have budget for that now, but we can re-evaluate your salary in 6 months”) are farts in the wind.
  • Titles DO matter ~ Until the day comes where titles and salary grades are disconnected, can we all agree that titles matter? Salary, incentives, stock options, benefits, and other privileges are tied to titles. We are a “title” society. You know it, the recruiter knows, the hiring manager knows it.
  • You can say “no,” too ~ It seems like the right job, the right place, the right time, except….you don’t feel that the offer is commensurate with your skill set. Do you settle? Remember, once you accept, the employer (rightfully) expects an enthused and engaged employee. If doubts linger, you may need to walk away. Saying “no” may actually make you a more attractive candidate in some situations – we are a funny bunch of animals, and we want what we can’t have.

We bloggers are a transparent bunch, yes? Obvious examples of personal experiences shaped into words of advice; basically the same concept which parents use.

Good luck to all of you in pursuit of new employment and/or new employers; starting a new job can & should be an exciting time in your life, don’t sell yourself short.


…and be home by 11.

John “Whit” Whitaker is Founder and OH (Original Hardballer); HR Hardball™ is a blunt, self-aware, and sometimes snarky perspective of Human Resources