Salary Negotiation Tactics Are Good, Gimmicks Are Bad

by Staff - Original publish date: January 19, 2012

It's great to have negotiating strategies and a plan beforehand. Preparation is key. But people---especially those new to negotiation---must be careful they don't cross that fine line between strategy and gimmickry.

This week's question deals with what to do if you ever come up against a hiring manager who has experienced your strategies in the past. Should you stick with what works? Is using the same thing twice going to hurt your chances instead of help you? Our salary and negotiation expert, Jack Chapman, is here to help as always.

Dear Jack:
The person who is currently in the job I am applying for is actually helping me, and even told me about you! She said she used "The Flinch" on the exact same person who I'm negotiating with, and she used it only nine months ago. Can I use it again on the same person so soon?

Interesting question.

For those who haven't read my book, "The Flinch" is a negotiating tactic I've found to be effective when your interviewer first discloses the salary at which you'll be paid. Essentially I tell clients to repeat the figure given to them out loud in a contemplative tone, and then be quiet for 30 seconds as you mull it over in your head. Not only does this pause give you time to really consider the figure, the break in conversation can work in your favor and occasionally prompts the interviewer to blink first and possibly offer more.

To use it a second time with the same person can either work well or be a disaster. It totally depends on the situation. Newbies to negotiation tend to think this pregnant pause and the repeating of a salary figure is a game. However, seasoned negotiators understand this tactic has to be more than a game. It is a real reflection of your concern and personal, quiet deliberation of your salary needs. Therefore it should never come off as a gimmick.

Here is an additional thought. I always teach people to look at the whole negotiating package. Although many new salary negotiators are pleased to get a lucrative bump using the "Flinch," there is often more to negotiation.

All too often, inexperienced folks stop the negotiation after the "Flinch" works and miss out on other compensations and benefits.

Good luck.

All the best,
Jack Chapman

Career coach and author Jack Chapman, who wrote "Negotiating Your Salary: How to Make $1000 a Minute," is teaming up with to offer a weekly Q & A on all things related to salary negotiation.

Using real questions sent in by actual readers, Jack will help you navigate the choppy waters of interviewing for a job, negotiating a salary and asking for a raise or promotion. Remember all those times you desperately wished you had someone to help you answer all the tough questions that invariably surface around negotiations? Now Jack has your back and he's providing easy to implement, real-life solutions to your salary negotiation dilemmas.

Check back every Tuesday for the FREE advice that could prevent you from losing thousands of dollars in unnegotiated pay, get you the job you want and steer you clear of potential pitfalls during the interview process.

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Jack Chapman is a Career and Salary Coach, and author of "Negotiating Your Salary: How to Make $1000 a Minute." For more negotiating advice go to or e-mail