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How to Negotiate a Salary

On all-new series Tamar & Vince, Tamar is searching high and low for a new assistant. And while it may be entertaining to watch Tamar in action, the interviewing process tends to be stressful—and when it comes time to talk about money, many people would rather have a root canal than negotiate a salary. So what is the most painless and effective way to handle this process?

“It can be summarized like this: ‘Finish high, go first and start high,” states Jack Chapman, career coach and author of Negotiating Your Salary: How to Make $1000 a Minute .

Here, Chapman offers his strategies on how to receive the most money in your paycheck and benefits package and the most perks of your offer.

Be Honest With Yourself: Are you interviewing for your first job in an industry? Do you have the credentials and the experience to be an executive or do your skills qualify you for a middle management position? While it’s admirable to have high career and financial goals, it’s also important to know where you stand. “Make sure you know how competitive you are before you begin competing for a certain position,” says Chapman.

Do Your Research: Many people are unaware if they are being underpaid, accurately paid or even (gasp!) overpaid at their current job . So before your salary chat takes place, Chapman advises looking up how much other employees with similar job titles in your industry are earning to date. He recommends finding this information on one or more of the following sites:,, and

Mums the Word…At Least In The Beginning: A number of employers ignore the word “salary” during the first interview, and Chapman urges you—as the potential new employee—to keep it that way. “Avoid discussing and disclosing salary information until they are actually making you an offer,” he stresses. “Otherwise you may be screened out or the employer may use the information as a way to make a low-ball offer when the time comes.” So what happens if the employer asks for your salary requirements up front? “Preempt their question by asking him or her what the position pays,” he advises.

Lead The Way: When you hear those magic words—”We’d like to make you an offer!”—that’s your cue to state your number before he or she has a chance to throw a salary your way. “There’s an old saying that the person who speaks first loses,” says Chapman. “But research shows the opposite to be true. If it’s done correctly, the person who goes first will win.” Refer back to your research and say something like, “If I am the right person, I’m sure you pay a competitive salary.” “Logically, if they pay a competitive salary, this number shouldn’t be an issue,” he states.

Aim High: Be brave and give the employer the highest number indicated in your research. “This is a maneuver called anchoring,” explains “Chapman. “We are hard-wired to draw a second number closer to a number that is already ‘out there.’ This is the number one way on how to put more money into your paycheck. This technique works on every kind of negotiation–not just salary negotiations. It simply makes up money out of thin air and puts it in your offer. And while you’re probably thinking that it’s too good to be true, it’s not. This is something that is hard-wired into human beings—it’s how we are physically made up.”