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Rahul PandeyTech Lead/Manager at Meta, Pinterest, Kosei

Don't Give A Number First

The most important rule of negotiation is "Don't give a number first." Don’t talk about what compensation you’re expecting, and definitely don't share what you were making at your last job.

It’s actually illegal in 22 states for recruiters to ask about your prior compensation (CA, NY, IL): https://www.hrdive.com/news/salary-history-ban-states-list/516662/

Because of the info asymmetry we talked about before, there’s no benefit to you sharing a number, but a lot to lose. Henry Ford (the automaker in Detroit in the early 20th century) illustrated this well. He employed a tactic called "highball negotiation" where he would match the offer given by a landowner, even if it was inflated. Read more about this in "The People's Tycoon: Henry Ford and the American Century" by Steven Watts

Example dialog from the recruiter:

We really need a number before proceeeding”

Sample candidate reply:

At this time, I’m more focused on determining if the role is a good fit. I’m confident we can figure out an agreeable number once we mutually agree that we could work together.