So I finally finished my Stat 514 project.
Setup: suppose you’re a prospective employee being interviewed by an individual who will determine what your starting salary for the job is. What would you do to increase your odds of getting a higher salary offer?
We (Dr. Thorsteinson, Tanya and I) designed a study that involved participants reading a script between an employer and a prospective employee and were asked, after reading the script, what they as the employer would offer the employee as a salary. We looked at three different types of anchoring methods that could lead to a higher offer than if there was no anchor offered. An “anchor” is an irrelevant or random number offered in some situation off of which other people tend to reference. For example, if I gave you a jar full of pennies and asked you how many pennies were in it, you might give me any number of answers. But if I said, “I think there are about 400 pennies in here, what about you?” your guess would be somewhere around 400.
Here were our three scenarios used to compare to a control scenario in which no anchoring number was offered:
1) Irrelevant number: the prospective employee mentions some unrelated number, like the number of employees at his last job.
2) Relevant number: the prospective employee mentions a dollar figure, like a previous salary.
3) Joking comment: the prospective employee jokes that he’d like a very large salary, like $1 million.
So what was the conclusion?
The joking comment significantly increased the offered salary over that offered in the control. The relevant number also significantly increased the offered salary, but not as much as the joking comment.
So when you’re getting interviewed and are asked what you’d like your salary to be, be sure to jokingly ask for $1 million.