I’m applying for jobs, but they keep wanting to know my salary expectations. How do I answer them?
– Not Good at Negotiating
Dear Really Awful Negotiator,
I’ve been in that position before. At my last job I accidentally lowballed myself. I thought we were just saying random numbers out loud so I yelled “12!” And that became my salary. Not $12,000 … $12. To be fair, that was a lot more money than my last job before that as a professional wishing well pillager.
Based on my experience, I’m guessing you’ll have some sort of standoff for who will say the first number. Make sure you don’t lose. DON’T EVER TALK FIRST, and do not, I repeat DO NOT blink. Blinking is a clear sign of weakness. I once went two days without blinking. I almost got the job too, but apparently you can’t practice medicine without a license or a medical degree. Yet another thing they should’ve said in the job posting.
[ed. note: Do not, under any circumstances, try this at home, take this advice seriously, or think even for a moment that a blinking contest constitutes passable negotiation skills. We post the Ask Mike series because we enjoy making fun of him, not because he has good ideas.]