Ask For An Absurdly High Salary to Receive Better Pay? Yes, It Works

September 12, 2011  |  

By Alexis Garrett Stodghill

Have you received a job offer? While this is great news in a difficult market, don’t let the slow economy be a reason for selling yourself short. You can still negotiate a high salary, rather than accept a decent offer out of desperation. How?

Researchers have found that even in this competitive employment field, asking for a sum that might seem absurdly high is the best negotiation tactic. The reason? Something called “anchoring,” which sets a price point in the mind of a hiring manager regarding your perceived worth. By throwing out an extremely high “anchor” amount — even in jest — discussions proceed from there instead of a more expected figure. The result is the potential to garner an income that is almost ten percent higher than could be achieved through asking for remuneration in the normal range. reports on this unexpected phenomenon:

Todd Thorsteinson, a University of Idaho psychology and communications professor, recently published the results of a few salary experiments in the Journal of Applied Social Psychology. (Hat tip to Harvard Business Review and lifehacker.)

In the experiments, participants entered into a simulated job salary negotiation—some volunteers were job candidates, others hiring managers. Would-be candidates previously had annual salaries of $29,000 and were offered new jobs as administrative assistants. When the topic of salary came up, some participants were instructed to kiddingly request $100,000—and those who did so wound up getting 9% higher offers, on average ($35,385 vs. $32,463), than those who played it straight.

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