stop offering to take less money

There’s a weird sales tactic going on with some job applicants: I’ve received a few resumes recently from people who — in their cover letter, their very first contact with us — say that they’d be willing to do the job for less than the posted salary. This is clearly meant as a way to sell themselves, by pitching us on the idea that we’d save on their salary.

This strikes me as a very bad idea. I’m going to hire the best person for the job, within the limits of what I can afford … and if I’ve posted a salary (which I have in these cases), I can afford to pay that. I’m not going to take a lesser candidate just because he or she is cheaper. So their statement isn’t going to influence my decision.

But if I end up hiring one of the people who announces from the outset that they’ll take less money, you can bet I’m going to take them up that offer to work for less. This might be the worst negotiation technique I’ve ever encountered.