An offer with an anchor inside is called bait

Anchoring is a cognitive bias that describes the common human tendency to rely too heavily on the first piece of information offered (the “anchor”) when making decisions. PON, Harvard

And now, to wrap up our interview, may I ask you what is your current salary?


Could you at least tell us the level of your general compensation expectations?


We could use a starting point for compensation negotiation, just a basic number, there is no reason to be afraid.

Of course, you are right, but I am afraid, not of you, I am afraid of me. That is why it is you who should give that number.

Yes, but we are here to negotiate on your expectations, right?

No, expectations are always maximal, here:

expectations = education x culture x personality

How can we lower that? I should be stupid, be ignorant or be a simpleton. Would you hire that?

HR should stand for Human Relationships, not for human resources. I am not a resource and neither are you. If only HR would stand for human relationships, what a wonderful world this would be.

I am not a resource. Ore is a resource. Oil is a resource. I am not capital. I am neither expenditure nor investment. I am no part of that illusion called the work force. There is no force in the realms of work.

And neither are you.

An offer without a spoken anchor means two basic things:

  1. How much the company values you
  2. How much the company values the position

The raw absolute number is the answer to how much the company values the position.

The benefits included are answer to how much the company values you.

Each position has a budget based on whatever that position outputs in the overall scheme.

An offer without an anchor is based purely on how much the company thinks it should spend on having a human performing that particular set of skills.

An offer with an anchor inside is based on how much the company thinks it should top the anchor with. Suddenly it is not about responsibilities, skills or experience but simple limbic psychology.

Each person is more or less experienced, each possible candidate is more or less fit for a role. Outside of the salary brackets there are specific benefits, which sometimes simply supplement the bracket, or other times add non-financial value.

An offer without an anchor assumes you are being evaluated at a similar level by others and attempts to differentiate itself.

An offer with an anchor inside assumes you are being evaluated by everyone around the anchor, and there is no differentiation required, since you are being “given” “something extra” in the base package anyway.

Basically when you blurb out what you’re currently making you are placing the hook for yourself inside an otherwise perfectly OK situation. And you don’t see it.

Of course, there are exceptions.

The biggest exception is that a lot of times you are too cramped by the universe shrinking on you to have such pretentious attitudes and considerations. Fine. Act the resource role, then get up on your two feet and use them limbs and big brain to become human again.