3. TRY THE “BRIEFCASE TECHNIQUE.”
Author and entrepreneur Ramit Sethi recommends a specific technique for answering the salary question. He’s dubbed it the “Briefcase Technique.” You can seehow it’s done in this video, but here’s how Sethi breaks it down:
“So the client says, ‘You know, I’m really just curious. What’s your price here?’ And what you say at that point is, ‘Oh, actually, before we get to that, let me just show you something I put together.’ And you literally pull out, from your briefcase, a [one- to five-page] proposal document. And this proposal … is actually about things you found in their business that you could improve, and exactly how you would go through it.”
With the Briefcase Technique, you’re already offering something to work with. This encourages the employer to determine your value based on your skills, work ethic, and drive—not just a number. It’s not something every job candidate will do, and that’s part of the reason it works so well.
4. AIM HIGH.
But what do you do if the employer pushes the issue? “If you keep getting pushed to name a salary you could mention the higher end of the range,” Carlson says. “Think of the number you mention as the ‘ceiling’ of what your offer would be—it’s unlikely they are going to offer you more than you ask for.”
According to Clarke University, most employers can budget 15 to 20 percent more than they initially offer. This is important to keep in mind if the employer listed a salary range in the job posting or makes you an offer below market rate. Don’t assume there’s no wiggle room and walk away too soon.
Once you have an offer in hand (no sooner, if you can avoid it), Carlson recommends, it’s time to begin your negotiating in earnest.