I’m a fan of social experiments, and here’s an interesting study. Researchers at Carnegie Mellon University wanted to determine if sex had a role to play in hiring decisions. Male and female observers, playing the role of decision-makers, watch an interview with male and female participants (job candidates).
When the candidate was asked what he or she thought of the salary for the position, in one scenario the candidate said it was just fine. In the second scenario, the candidate said in a somewhat cocky manner he or she would rather be paid at the top of the salary range for the job and would like to be considered for a year-end bonus.
The women evaluating the tapes said they were less likely to hire both the male and female candidates in the scenarios where they asked for more money.
The men in the study, however, said they’d only be less inclined to hire the female candidate who tried to negotiate. They didn’t penalize the male candidate for doing the same.
Both the men and women rated the female candidate who asked for more money as being highly demanding, while in the scenario where she just accepts the salary offered they gave her high marks for likeability.
The article discusses the result of the experiment and provides some tips for asking for that raise:
* Time your move a few months before your review so the supervisor has a chance to consider the request. Asking at the review is usually too late.
* Prepare by putting a list of your accomplishments together.
* Avoid the empathy trap where you don’t ask for a raise because you understand how the company needs to cut costs.
* Imagine you’re negotiating on someone else’s behalf, as detaching your “self” from the equation lets even the most humble stick up for what they deserve.
Published or updated October 3, 2005.