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New job and salary: How to negotiate effectively

Looking for a job can be a challenging experience, but when you get an offer, negotiating salary can almost be tougher. It's a make-or-break event, in which you set your income and related benefits for the near future at least.

There are all sorts of rules and theories of how to best negotiate. Some say make sure the employer first offers a compensation number, but companies often want a prospect to provide a desired salary number or range.

9 unusual jobs that earn $100,000 or more
9 unusual jobs that earn $100,000 or more

According to Columbia Business School researchers, the best strategy is to provide a range, but not just any set of numbers. The trick is to set the bottom of the range at the number you'd actually like and then make the top more aggressive. The technique often led to higher salaries.

Assuming an employer considers you a desirable candidate and that you don't set unrealistic expectations (a fast food restaurant won't pay you $50 an hour), they are unlikely to go below the range, assuming you won't take less, unlike offering a single number only. Furthermore, people are unlikely to offer the bottom number because they don't wish to seem impolite.

So, there's a good chance that you'll be offered more than the low end of the range, which was the number you would have settled for. According to the researcher, make the upper number about 20 percent larger than the lower.

In addition, the approach creates good working dynamics down the road. Just by offering a range, the potential employer generally sees you as being flexible and increases the person's goodwill, even if you're asking for more than they might have wanted to pay at first. Hiring parties also didn't find the people asking for a higher range to be more aggressive than other candidates, which can ensure a better relationship with a superior when you take the job.

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