Personally, my airline of choice is United. Not because of their safety record or on-time departures or low instances of lost baggage (I’m guessing they’re pretty much on a par with most of the others in those areas), but, according to a recent article in Airline Pilot Central, they pay their pilots more than any of the other carriers.

That’s good. I want my pilots happy and well-paid. Depressed, disgruntled people aren’t the ones I want flying me anywhere!

Of course, pretty much every one of us (in the 99%, anyway) would like to be making more money. I’m often asked, “How do I negotiate a raise?”, or “What should I say when I’m asked about salary requirements during a job interview?” And, with most questions like these, there’s no one-size-fits-all, cookie-cutter answer. However, there are a couple of things that might help.

First of all is to turn it around and ask the interviewer what they typically pay for someone in that position. The other is “anchoring” the conversation with a high number. For many years I worked in radio. Typically, when interviewing for a new station, I would be asked what my salary requirements were, and I’d respond with a number somewhat higher than I was making at my former job. Then we’d negotiate down from that number. Invariably, I’d subsequently find out that my opening demand was (well) below what they were willing to pay. It finally dawned on me, that if I had to give a number, give a high one (with corresponding factual evidence of why I deserved it), and we could negotiate up from there.

When an offer is made, no matter what it is, ask for some time to think it over. That simple request can often result in an increase from the original number.

And, as in comedy, the most important thing is… …timing, especially when asking for a raise. Maybe after you’ve done a particularly good job on a project, or when new funding is available, or at the beginning of the new fiscal year. Plan your request accordingly.

And, as a personal note to Chesley Burnett Sullenburger (now you know why he wants everybody to call him “Sully”), if you didn’t negotiate a HUGE salary increase after your Miracle on the Hudson landing, you REALLY need to take a negotiating seminar.