Want to get a big raise? Science says this crazy idea actually works

I bet you've never tried this one.

Absurdly Driven looks at the world of business with a skeptical eye and a firmly rooted tongue in cheek.

It's often a nervous moment.

No one really enjoys talking about money. It's worse when you want to get as much as you can and the person you're talking to wants to give you as little as possible.

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Salary negotiations during a job interview, especially in person, can be painfully disturbing.

How, then, can you get the raise that truly reflects your worth? Or, rather, the raise that truly reflects how much you dream of being paid.

Well, the Association For Psychological Science has an idea for you: Ask for a completely ludicrous amount of money.

You think you'd like $75,000. Ask for $130,000. And watch the reaction.

The idea is that you should say it with a little glint in your eye and perhaps a spreading of your nostrils to show that you're perhaps kidding a little. Or, perhaps, use whatever physical tic you have for signaling that you're joking.

University of Idaho psychological scientist Todd J. Thorsteinson really believes this can work.

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"Incorporating a joking comment about implausible salary expectations may be a relatively easy way for job candidates to establish a high anchor and minimize negative reactions from employers," he said.

Naturally, psychologists have a special term for such posturing. It's called anchoring.

The idea is that if a potential employer sees a huge number, it automatically prevents them from offering something derisory. Or, at least, derisory to the applicant.

It might also make them feel more unsure about what salary you're currently making.

Experiments have backed this up. In one, those that uttered the sentence "I would like $100,000, but really I am just looking for something that is fair" got more than $3,000 higher an offer than those who said "I would work for $1, but really I am just looking for something that is fair."

I hope that one or two readers might try this to see if it works.

In the words of the President-elect, what have you got to lose?

There is one caveat, of course. If you're not very good at sounding like you're joking -- if you're an actuary or a proctologist or my dentist, for example -- you might be taken with extreme seriousness.

This could lead the whole negotiation to drift in a downward direction with your prospective new employer thinking: "This person is a loon."

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