Is this true?
Anecdotal - two interviews, several months back.
In one, I didn't really want to work there and added a big, let me say outrageous, premium to my usual expectations (just to get them off my back without declining). They said it was too little, I walked away. Then they got back to me twice, with better offers, ending up above what I would usually have said.
In the other interview I told them my expectations - reasonable this time - and they came right out and said that I would be worth to them more than what I said and hiked the offer up from what I asked.
What does losing mean?
In this context, what does it mean, to lose? Leaving money on the table as an employee? Spending more than you might have had to as an employer?
Then winning means knowing, you didn't leave money on the table; you didn't spend too much. And that is something nobody can know.
It doesn't matter, who mentions the first number, if you do negotiate this way
Everybody will leave the negotiation with this nagging question: "Could I have done better?"
So how can I win?
In the first interview I was willing - actually intended to - walk away. Willingness to step back from a deal puts you in a better position when negotiating, because you obviously can't be pressured as much.
On the other hand there are employers willing to pay an employee's valeue and not just the least amount they can possibly negotiate and still hire you. Winning is easy here.
The pattern though, in both cases is this:
Not playing the game by the commonly accepted rules.
Which are to set two boundaries and step by step find a common place in between.
Instead play a game I call "being okay".
- Find out where you stand and how you value your time. That is your price tag.
- Be okay with that evaluation
- Learn if your potential employer respects that evaluation or if maybe they value even higher than that
- Be okay with their reaction (there's no reason to be upset if they don't value you in the same way)
- If they respect your evaluation, accept, otherwise decline
- Be okay with the outcome
This is what I do and what I am happy with. Your results may vary, but I highly doubt it, if you are genuinely okay in each step.