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Negotiate Like an Indian: I taught my friend how to negotiate an $8,000 salary increase

How to negotiate an $8000 increase in salary and a 50% equity boost… even after revealing your salary expectations.

Ramit Sethi

What would you do to get an $8,000 raise?

I taught my friend how to negotiate an $8,000 increase in salary and a 50% boost in equity in 4 hours. And this was after she’s committed the cardinal sin of negotiating: revealing what her salary expectations were.

This is the kind of thing we all know we “should” do…but we don’t do it. Even though we can get the information for “free” online. Hmm….

Bonus: I wrote a huge free guide to salary negotiation and getting paid what you’re worth that goes into even more detail on the strategies described here.

In this video, learn how to:

  • Negotiate with an experienced recruiter
  • Rebound after you undercut yourself
  • Why reading a negotiation book is not enough
  • Know when to be adversarial and when to be cooperative

This video is probably worth $3,000 – $10,000 for my average reader IF YOU IMPLEMENT IT AND IMPLEMENT IT CORRECTLY.

Oh yeah…I have more videos on negotiation (thanks to Chris Whitmore for filming/editing).

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  1. avatar

    I actually hate watching videos for stuff like this – I’d much rather have text that I can review at my leisure, copy into various cloud resources, and use in more efficient ways; also, I frequently read this blog at work so videos are not always convenient. I realize that you probably think videos are effective for the lazy people who are often your target, but I suspect I’m not the only one who feels this way…am I? If not, is there any way we can get transcripts or summaries of stuff like this? Sometimes you’ve put bulleted lists of the key points in a video. How about some love for the non-video-watching readers?

  2. avatar

    What perfect timing! I just received an offer from a company that I would love to work at in a great position. However, the initial offer was a bit of a low-ball for my credentials. I can’t wait to watch this video and put your plan into action. Again, absolutely perfect timing – I’ll be the first to testify how well this works. Thanks, Ramit.

  3. avatar

    I don’t have quite as strong of feelings on this as Chris but I do read this blog at work as well and when there is a video it is nice to have the bulletpoint outline. A 15-minute video is a long one to watch when we could probably get the main point out of 5-10 bullets. I will try to watch it later but like I said I pretty much only read the blog at work.

  4. avatar

    Chris, are you freaking kidding me? This blog has a very small fraction of its contents in video format. And as far as a transcript, get out a pen and paper to jot down the golden nuggets. That’s what I did. The most important bit of information that I got from this video is the person to person interaction during the role play. Granted, I was a bit distracted by the window giving Ramit that halo look the whole time (especially with the light clothing to go with it), but the different tactics that he used as the recruiter really can’t be expressed in text. I am definitely going to use this when I go for my next job.

  5. avatar

    how can we view the ‘tactics’ video? this couldn’t have come at a better time! I’m hopefully getting a call today or tomorrow on a new position, and I’ve made the cardinal mistake of telling them my minimum. I looked at your youtube site and see the video ‘tactics’, but can’t view it. I’m very curious to see what I can do to help myself. Thanks!

  6. avatar

    i wish this would been published 2 weeks earlier!! but is great stuff. Thanks

  7. avatar

    Great venue; negotiation tactics as the economy is starting to fight back in a few areas.

    Powerful conversation techniques almost always deal with redirecting questions like we saw here. I’d like to try and apply these to negotiations with those with more influence than me, to help propel myself, services, business, or possible team ups and affiliation as an owner of businesses or creator of ideas.

    Nice work pulling back into history as well with your friend….you don’t cease to amaze with different skill sets and your tricks of the trade.

  8. avatar

    Excellent value Ramit.

    In the second “interview,” she completely
    1 – flipped the script
    2 – set her boundaries without crossing them
    3 – and showed she was willing to walk away.

    To those complaining about a 15 minute video … Lol.

    I have some feedback on body language, but that’s neither here not there.

  9. avatar

    “I realize that you probably think videos are effective for the lazy people ”

    Yeah…so does the rest of the Internet.

    Awesome post.

  10. avatar

    lol @ “some of my readers, who are very dumb” indeed.

  11. avatar

    This is perfect! Hearing and seeing it made it so much more real to life as opposed to reading a script. I felt like I was back in the car dealership trying to get a good price for my first car.

  12. avatar
    Mark Barnes

    So wait, I spent 15 minutes going through a video where the conversation was about the tactics. But the tactics and how she exactly save $8K was not revealed beyond a short 30s segment.

    Is there a part two to this? Otherwise I feel cheated and would like my 15 minutes back.

  13. avatar
    Ramit Sethi

    HAHA. Mark, I’m sorry you feel cheated for free content that is helping tons of people who can actually apply concepts to their own situation, rather than having it spoon-fed to them. I’m also sorry you can’t read the text below the video. You probably aren’t a good fit for this site.

  14. avatar
    Mike Stankavich

    To those who complain about not being able to watch videos at work, I have one word: headphones 🙂

    Although it has been over 10 years since I negotiated my salary, I couldn’t agree more with the tactics presented here. The big problem is fear – if I walk away, will they round file me?

    Although it may not seem like that’s a big risk if you have never participated in the hiring process, the truth is that it’s actually very difficult to find candidates that offer the right skill set and have the right personality to fit into the hiring company’s culture.

    By the time that they say they want to hire you, they are invested enough that it’s very unlikely that they will drop you if you don’t roll over at the first hint of pressure. And if they are really that hard core, do you want to work for them? I don’t.

  15. avatar

    I went to a prestigious women’s college and was pretty much steeped in feminism. I knew all about how women don’t negotiate. And then, what did I do? When offered my first job, the figure was much more than I expected at entry, though still not an out of this world salary, but I jumped on it and didn’t ask any questions. I was too afraid to, like they would back out and they wouldn’t give it to me. I knew pretty soon after that I was a fool (though, as I said, it was still a good salary, I just could have probably got them to go higher).

    It was such a mistake that I know I won’t make it again. I’m already preparing for the day that I’m in that situation again. I also know a bit more about how much someone in my position is worth – as a recent grad I didn’t expect anyone to want to pay me to do anything.

    But what is the next step if they give you a figure – clearly they want you, and clearly they won’t go lower than that number. How do you get them to go higher? Obviously I have research to do. Can’t wait to see the rest of the videos.

  16. avatar
    Mr. Loan

    I agree, bullet points would be nice to swim through. Although videos may leave a more lasting impression.

  17. avatar

    Good video, looking forward to the follow-ups.

    One thing I keep in mind is that most established companies have published internal ranges for every position. Something like “Widget Maker: $15-25K. Senior Widget Maker: $23-35K.” Every manager knows these ranges. HR often enforces them (can’t be hired below range, and takes exceptional circumstances to be hired or raised above range).

    Is it reasonable to try to get them to divulge this information? And if so, could that hurt more than help?

    For example, let’s say I’m shooting for $150-160K, and they offer $140K. If I have the guts, I could play hard ball or negotiate for more equity or simply walk.

    But if I know their official range for my position is only $125-140K, then their offer says they think I’m going to be outstanding in that position and my next step will be promotion to the next level (whose range might entail a jump past my desired minimum).

    Does knowing that put me in a weaker negotiating position?

  18. avatar

    Great video. I wish i saw this a year ago when i was doing my negotiation for my current job.

  19. avatar
    Andrew Barbour


    You have confidence enough in your postings to know it’s good material and your more thoughtful ones will know it too…. so you shouldn’t feel any need to defend yourself.

    By the way…. if a reader is not especially adept at identifying wisdom, then he’s probably *exactly* the sort of person who could benefit from a good teacher like yourself 🙂 He knows enough to come here for ideas; that’s a good first step, right?

  20. avatar

    If they kept pestering for an amount, would naming an obscene amount for expected salary be a possible tactic too?

    On the one hand, I think that doing so would get them to name a ballpark of the salary range or do you think that it would get me dismissed from being a possible candidate because they are taking me seriously (or cannot take a joke)?

  21. avatar
    Ramit Sethi

    A, that’s one of the worst possible things you can do. Would you really want to joke about your job/salary?

  22. avatar

    This video was great for a lazy person like myself! Thanks!!

  23. avatar
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    […] How to Negotiate Like an Indian: How to Get an $8000 Salary Raise – Ramit is one of my favorite personal finance writers on the net. He epitomizes my belief of focusing on big wins, where you can take actions in precise areas of your life to have a huge impact. A couple hours carefully invested in the right area (such as salary negotiation) can make up for thousands of smaller wins. […]

  24. avatar

    Great information as always. I hope I can use this information one day. Over the course of a year, I negotiated a 35% salary increase at my company. I volunteered for every assignment, came in early, stayed a little later and earned additional certifications. I believe that if you have a great attitude and consistently put forth your best effort, your company will reward your effort. The key is to understand that you were hired to 1)solve problems 2) save/make money.

  25. avatar
    Mike Waling

    Fantastic video! I love how she saw a weakness in her skills and proactively eliminated that weakness by seeking out advice from others. I’m smitten!

    I can also relate to her story. When I graduated from college I did the same thing! I made the mistake of putting a minimum salary on the online application form (the company made all potential hires do this). And then, when I was finally extended an offer — surprise! — it was for the EXACT amount I put on the form.

    So here’s a question: what should you do when the company requires you to enter a minimum salary on their online application form?

  26. avatar

    Mike – honestly, my company did that and I just skipped it. I decided that that was something we could talk about during the interview process. That didn’t stop me from making the mistake of taking the first offer, but at least it didn’t limit the salary to what I thought it would be (which was 10k less than they offered).

  27. avatar
    Mike Waling

    Thanks for the advice Sarah!

    I guess my concern is what to do when companies make this a required field (the dreaded *asterisk!) In this case, is it a good idea to enter $0.00? Or maybe best to aim high and cross your fingers?

  28. avatar
    Ramit Sethi

    LEAVE IT BLANK! Or put TBD or (worst case) $0. I don’t care who puts an asterisk. Just because someone “says” something is required doesn’t mean it’s actually required. I require you to send me $50,000 and two hot twins. Thanks Mike I really appreciate it.

  29. avatar

    It’s true women tend to undercut themselves

    I received $10K more on my position. I will add=waiting. I told my recruter I was not expecting XYZ, and he said how about ZZZ. I said let me think about it. I called the next day and accepting. (10K more in 5 minutes)

    Don’t always jump on the first answer they give you.

    You cannot undercut this women — Hi-ya!

  30. avatar

    Great Post, Thanks! Ramit.

    I am very new to your site and just 1 week into your Book. But already have boosted up my confidence and have better vision and goals with money matters.

  31. avatar
    Natalie Karr

    Hi Ramit,

    Really wish I had seen this years ago when I accepted the first offer that came my way (which was definitely lower than what I wanted!). However, when I was hired there was no discussion of salary. I had my interviews and was emailed a contract with a salary noted in it. How do you suggest countering that?

  32. avatar
    Ramit Sethi

    Heh there was no discussion of salary because they expected you to be a sucker and take it. That’s ok — lesson learned. Next time remember, YOU control the negotiation. Bring it up on your own.

  33. avatar

    One of the standard questions they have asked me is my current salary.

    They generally ask this question even before the negotiation and sometimes even before the technical interviews. Is it OK to reveal the current salary. If not what are the ways to hedge that question.

    I remember in my last job change I had like 8 interviews lined up. the first interview was with a VP( which I came to know later). The third question he asked me after the niceties was what is your current salary. I was suddenly taken aback. I actually asked him if he was with the HR as he earlier had only introduced me by his name. He told me he was the R&D VP. So I answered the question. In the final offer they gave me the exact same number since I had already been laid off my last job!

  34. avatar
    Ramit Sethi

    Of course they did. That’s exactly what I would have done in their position, too.

    As a candidate, the answer is, no, you don’t have to reveal current salary. I’ll show you how to negotiate that question, and others, over time. Especially in the Boot Camp.

  35. avatar

    I had an HR rep ask me my salary one time and I answered (I also added $10k to the number) but the position I was going for was a step-up so it should’ve paid more than my then salary. I knew what the industry range was for my region so I told them I needed $15k above my “current” salary to make the move. The HR rep said, “I don’t know anyone who will give you that much above your current salary.” I asked what my current salary had to do w/this position and that I might as well stay with my own company if that was the case. In the end they offered me $12k above my “current salary” (actually $22k above) plus stock options. Maybe you could tell the person that you’ll tell them your salary if they tell you theirs.

  36. avatar
    Financial Samurai

    Ramit – Would you still respond to her of she went to Cal instead? 🙂

    I may have to link to this post b/c it reminds me of my absolute favorite comedian of all time!

  37. avatar
    Joes Money

    I’m glad you pointed out the importance of not disclosing your salary requirements. Never a good idea. Always try to get the other party to toss out the first number.

  38. avatar
    Kristen from FiLife

    Nice video…I am going to suggest it to my girlfriends. The advice really hits home when it comes via a real woman with a true story. Thank you for sharing. And nice point about the importance of losing your fear. So often it is our own fear that holds us back.

  39. avatar

    Hi Ramit,
    I just wanted to thankyou for the amount of age appropriate material available on this website…I’m 19 years old and have spent the better part of the last week reading up on advice (all of which seemed to be directed to people in their 40s plus). I’ll definitely be buying your book and will be recommending this website to my uni friends in Aus (I was talking to a few of them the other day and we were all talking about how there was hardly any info for people our age out there).

  40. avatar

    I’m a woman and I negotiated for my first (and only) post-college job. It’s even easier in that situation because you don’t have a past salary history and they can’t expect you to really know your salary “requirement”. So they gave me their offer, I thanked them and told them I would think about it; I came back later in the week asking for a salary amount that was several thousand higher than the offer (I don’t remember the exact numbers). After they discussed it internally, they came back with a new offer with the base salary somewhere in between their number and mine, plus a $2k signing bonus.

  41. avatar

    I disagree a little. Sometimes I name my price to see if employers can afford me. 99% cant and we both dont waste each others time.

  42. avatar
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  43. avatar

    This probably is only starting point while negotiating a salary. What you could also possibly cover is arriving at a value on how much the position is worth – only by arming yourself with that can you figure if a recruiter is lowballing you or being sensible.

  44. avatar


    I am in a position where I’ve been promoted/moved to 2 higher positions. My workload has increased 4x and my salary has only bumped up by 5K. (After making a fuss about it).

    They did sucker me in and they know my worth. Their only comeback is ‘recession/economic’ downturn and no one else has received salary increases, so they are doing me a favour.

    I plan to ask again next year, do you have any tips on moving up in the salary range, specifically when my own collegues on my team are making 20-30K more and 10-20 years older as well. However, I’ve been leading various projects while they haven’t been.

    Being young and talented shouldn’t go against me. This is a Fortune 10 company btw.

  45. avatar

    Ramit – do you have any specific tips for negotiating with a non-profit? I just received a job offer that, while higher than my current salary, is really below what I was hoping for and really need. I got burned in my current job because I accepted a lower offer because of guarantees of 3 and 6 month raises, which then didn’t happen “because of the economy.” I would like to ask for 10% more, and I’m fairly confident the organization doesn’t have another viable candidate, but I’m not sure if the rules are different in NGOs.

    Great video!

  46. avatar
    Ramit Sethi

    Unfortunately, my tip is to throw rationality out the window with nonprofits and negotiation. Sorry :/

  47. avatar

    Hi there,
    Was the video removed? I have a big X and a blank box where the video should be. how sad… 🙁

  48. avatar

    I guess I must be one of your dumb readers! 🙂

    I figured out my problem.

    Question 2…….where is part 2?!

    (i’ll probably be back to say that I found it 😉

  49. avatar

    Practice Practice Practice, as public speaking is to toastmasters, im going to find OR start something equivalent for negotiation to help my self and others out.

  50. avatar

    I am sorry if you won’t like to hear it Ramit, but I’m really disappointed too. The video took fifteen minutes and the only useful info in there was about how to come back at someone if they are asking your price and you don’t yet want to give figures.

    That’s fine if you made it clear that was what the video was about, but you made it sound like you’d be discussing how to rebound after you undercut yourself, and would flesh out the points more, and you basically are saying to Mark above – sorry sucker – I know I said I’d show you this, but really you have to buy it.

    I have shelled out about $1600 in online training in the last year, so I’m not against you making a profit, but misleading people as to what you’ll provide for free isn’t a good launch tactic, especially when it requires us giving up a whopping 15 minutes.

    I trusted you not to waste my time.

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  54. avatar
    Negotiate INDIA

    Indians are best in negotiation. they know how to pull everything out from it. Although video is Awsome, I will implement your tips For negotiations .

  55. avatar
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