CNBC make it 2024-02-13 10:50:49

The salary negotiation trick that works ‘time and time again,’ says ex-Goldman Sachs recruiter

It’s never been easier to see how much a job will pay before you go into an interview.

More than a dozen states, cities, counties and Washington, D.C. have passed pay disclosure laws, where employers of a certain size are required to list the salary range of an open job. And more than 1 in 4 workers in the U.S. now lives in a place where they’re entitled to see pay ranges on job ads.

But once you have that information, how can you actually leverage pay ranges to negotiate a job offer?

It’s as simple as asking one straightforward question in a job interview, says Chanelle Howell, 31, a New York City-based recruiter who’s interviewed hundreds while working for Goldman Sachs, Bridgewater Associates and through her own consulting company.

She recently gave this example: Say you’re interviewing for a position that states the salary range is $100,000 to $150,000.

In an interview with the hiring manager or recruiter, ask: “Can you tell me what skills and experiences separate the $100,000 candidate from the $150,000 candidate?”

This question will prompt the interviewer to explain their compensation strategy for the role. For example, they might say a candidate in the top end of the range has a certain number of years in the field, managed a certain number of people, led specific projects or is an expert in specific skills.

Use this information to then shape what skills and accomplishments you can discuss based on your own background. The key is to repeat these qualities throughout your interview, Howell says, to help build your case for why you’re a star candidate.

DON’T MISS: The ultimate guide to acing your interview and landing your dream job

Then, “later in the negotiation process, you can use their literal words to justify why you deserve more money,” Howell says. By the time you reach final conversations and get a verbal offer, it’s time to run through how you meet the expectations of a top-paid candidate, then counter the offer with your desired pay at the top end of the range.

“The key is to push your potential employer to quantify exactly why someone deserves that dollar amount and then to create your story around that,” Howell says.

Put another way, “get them to give you the answers.”

What to do if you don’t know the salary range

Even if you don’t live in a state or city where pay range disclosures are required by law, you can still point out that it’s a growing practice and that you’d like to apply it in your situation: “Given new pay transparency laws, a lot of companies are sharing pay ranges with candidates. Can you share the range for this role?”

Howell says she’s seen this strategy work “time and time again” among the people she coaches. One recent client who works in marketing used this framework to negotiate a 20% increase in the initial offer, or a roughly $15,000 to $20,000 boost.

Of course, in addition to presenting herself well during the interview, “she was the best candidate,” Howell adds.

Some job descriptions may list salary ranges that are too wide to be helpful. In those cases, still ask what puts a candidate at the top of the range. For example, a recruiter might say the top of the range is reserved for someone with decades of experience, or a level of seniority you don’t have yet. If that’s the case, Howell recommends asking what the median pay level is expected to be, and what helps a qualified candidate stand out even a little more than that.

And just because you don’t get the very top of the range right away doesn’t mean you won’t work your way there. Howell says it’s possible the posted range includes the salary growth expected of the role after a few years.

Remember that the base pay range doesn’t always consider total compensation, Howell adds. Other elements like a signing bonus, performance-based bonuses and equity can be negotiated at a later stage.

That’s especially important as wage growth has slowed following a post-pandemic rise.

Ultimately, “your first calls with the recruiter or hiring manager are fact-finding missions to use those tidbits of information to build your case at the end and state why you deserve more money,” Howell says.

Want to land your dream job in 2024? Take CNBC’s new online course How to Ace Your Job Interview to learn what hiring managers are really looking for, body language techniques, what to say and not to say, and the best way to talk about pay.

This CEO built his company for $60 in one weekend—it brought in $80 million last year

Noah Kagan’s book “Million Dollar Weekend” isn’t about getting rich quick.

The multimillionaire founder and CEO of discount software firm AppSumo would be the first to tell you that he didn’t become wealthy overnight.

But by acting quickly and decisively when he realized he had a good idea on his hands, he put himself in the position to succeed. It took Kagan, now 41, just a few days in 2010 to found AppSumo, a company which brought in about $80 million in revenue last year.

Kagan’s idea: copying MacHeist, a site that offers discounted software bundles for Apple users, and making a similar service available for PC. Kagan emailed the founder of Imgur, an image-sharing service popular on Reddit, and offered to promote a discounted version of the software in exchange for a percentage of what he sold.

Then he reached out to Reddit’s founding engineer to ask if he could advertise the deal on the site for free.

“Why not?” Kagan recalls hearing. “Our users love Imgur. They’ll be thrilled to get a discount.”

He paid a developer in Pakistan $48 to build a website with a PayPal button and spent $12 on a domain name. One weekend, $60 down, and he was up and running. The rest, as they say, is history.

If you’re an aspiring entrepreneur, you may be able to ensure that history repeats itself, Kagan says: “Literally, you can copy my model.”

Here are three steps he recommends for anyone looking to start a successful business in 48 hours.  

1. Get started now

Your natural instinct when looking to start a business may be to learn as much as you possibly can. You might spend days taking courses, reading books and watching YouTube videos to build up your expertise. But ultimately, you’re wasting time, Kagan says.

“You’ve got to start today. You can’t keep watching videos,” he says.

What does that mean? It means that you’ll likely have some ideas that don’t quite get off the ground and others that outright fail from the jump. Consider these experiments rather than failures, Kagan says — experiences you can learn from.

Successful entrepreneurs, Kagan writes, “take action first, get real feedback, and learn from that, which is a million times more valuable than any book or course. And quicker!”

2. ‘Practice the skill of asking’

Starting a small business, as Kagan describes it, is really a series of asks — a process you’ll have to get comfortable with if you want to succeed.

“You have to practice the skill of asking,” Kagan says. “Asking someone to be your customer, asking someone to be your partner, asking someone for feedback on your idea.”

The scariest part about asking is the possibility that you’ll be rejected. To assuage that feeling, Kagan reminds himself that, in the grand scheme of his life, none of the people rejecting him will end up being all that important. He even goes so far as to set a rejection goal for himself when rolling out a new idea or initiative.

″‘This is going to suck. Let me aim to get at least 20 rejections,’” he says he tells himself. “That alone helps me accept that I will get rejected and turn it more into a game versus a blow to my self-worth.”

3. Find a problem people will give you money to solve

When launching a business, you shouldn’t be looking to drum up excitement from a product. Rather, you should be looking to find existing demand and satisfy it.

“The most important thing is that you’re solving a problem people are excited to give you money for,” Kagan says. “You have to find a thing.”

Your process may lead you to many things that don’t work. Kagan’s mishaps include forays into online gambling (“no one came”) and lawn care (“no one wanted to give me money”).

When you have a potential hit on your hands, though, you’ll know it, he says, citing his company’s foray into offering discounted alternatives to popular software solutions.

“I asked people if they were interested in a DocuSign alternative,” he says. “I did $3,000 in 24 hours.”

Once you find something that works, double and triple down, Kagan says.

“The best business is the one that works,” he says. “I started three other businesses that did similar things. And when I finally cancelled those and really focused on the one that worked, that’s when my business really took off.”

Want to land your dream job in 2024? Take CNBC’s new online course How to Ace Your Job Interview to learn what hiring managers are really looking for, body language techniques, what to say and not to say, and the best way to talk about pay.

Barbara Corcoran says ‘forget about Florida’ and look elsewhere in the U.S. to buy a home

While previous generations looked forward to moving and retiring to Florida, the younger population is setting their sights on other places. Gen Zers and millennials are relocating to different cities and states across the U.S. and it’s a decision that real estate mogul Barbara Corcoran supports.

In a 2023 “Elvis Duran Show” interview, Corcoran was asked if she thought Florida was still a good place to move and buy a house. Corcoran suggested looking outside of the Sunshine State.

With over 40 years of experience in the business and as a multi-property owner, the “Shark Tank” star knows a thing or two about buying a home.

“Go anywhere that has a poor school district where prices are really low,” she said. Though Corcoran did note that strategy is best for people who aren’t looking for a place to raise a family and want a cheaper property with potentially high value.

“Go anywhere in the South other than the hot spots. There’s always a cheap house to buy, always. But not Florida, forget about Florida,” she added.

One Southern state that is growing in popularity is Texas. The state was the No. 1 state Americans moved to in 2023, according to U-Haul.

The Southern state has become a growing base for different industries, including tech and aerospace. As of 2022, Texas leads the nation as home to the most Fortune 500 companies.

Like in prior interviews and social media commentary, Corcoran doubled down on the fact that she thinks it’s always a good time to invest in real estate and there is no point in waiting.

“I think the sooner you get in the market, the sooner you have a chip in the game. You can trade up,” she said. “It’s always a good time [to buy]. You only get one chance to live. You are not buying an investment only, you are buying a home to raise your kids in, to have good times, to cook in your kitchen. You want to get in the market. Prices always long term go up … so why wait?”

When a listener doubted her advice on buying a house right now because of the high interest rates in the U.S., Corcoran said that waiting would do more harm than good in the long run.

“Interest rates will never come down to two to three percent, that’s history, still people believe they will,” she said. “So let’s say they come down to something with a five in front of it, everyone sitting on the sidelines is going to rush the market, bid the pricing up, there’s not enough inventory to go around … everyone is going to pay more to the tune of 10, 15 maybe 20 percent. So why wait?”

Want to land your dream job in 2024? Take CNBC’s new online course How to Ace Your Job Interview to learn what hiring managers are really looking for, body language techniques, what to say and not to say, and the best way to talk about pay.

People on this island in Italy live to 100—here’s a look at their diet for longevity

Sardinia, Italy is one of the world’s five “Blue Zones” — or places around the world where an unusually large number of people live to 100 or longer.

For these vibrant Sardinian senior citizens, what they eat plays an important role in longevity. But you don’t need to live in Italy to get these culinary health benefits.

Here’s how to eat like a Sardinian for a longer life:

1. Use Sardinian-inspired ingredients

Meat is used sparingly, and much of the food in Sardinia is locally grown, and generally free of pesticides, hormones, dyes or sugars.

Here’s exactly what you’ll find on a typical Sardinian menu:

  • Vegetables, greens, salads and bean soups with fennel, fava beans, chickpeas and tomatoes.
  • Goat and sheep’s milk products, which have anti-inflammatory properties and have been found to lower bad cholesterol.
  • Sardinian red wine from the mountaintop regions, which has higher levels of polyphenols than most other wines. Polyphenols are antioxidants that can help protect against ailments like diabetes and heart disease.
  • Their signature flatbread (“carta di musica”), made of high-protein, low-gluten triticum whole grain, which is the main ingredient in Italian pasta.
  • Milk thistle tea, thought to clean the liver, is enjoyed daily.

2. Grow some of your own food

Sardinians like to forage for wild asparagus, wild greens, berries and mushrooms. Don’t do this yourself without the proper training, otherwise you could run the risk of eating something poisonous.

If you don’t have a garden, try allotting a small plot of land for growing the Italian basics: lettuce, tomatoes, basil, parsley and squash. You can also grow these items in pots if you don’t have a garden space.

There’s nothing like the vibrant flavors of food that is eaten shortly after being harvested.

3. Eat out less

Sardinians love to cook. Take the time to enjoy the sounds of chopping onions, mincing garlic, and crushing fresh tomatoes for a delicious Sunday sauce.

You can gradually ease into the habit of cooking at home. If you work full-time, take weekends to do some batch-cooking or meal prep to last two or three days during the week.

Instead of looking at cooking as a chore, relax and embrace the process. Invite your family to help with cleanup and preparation, or have a friend over to share the fun over a glass of Sardinian wine.

4. Move more

Sardinians stay active all day long, especially in their culinary pursuits. They tend to their sheep, milk their goats, forage for wild greens, cook, clean and garden.

While you most likely won’t be herding sheep or searching for mushrooms, you can still find ways to stay active throughout your day.

If you sit in front of the computer all day, set the timer on your phone or smartwatch in 30 to 45 minute intervals so you’ll remember to get up and stretch, or take a walk on your lunch hour.

When you incorporate more movement into your routine, it can help uplift your spirits.

Raeleen D’Agostino Mautner is the author of “45 Ways to Live Like an Italian: Italian-Inspired Self-Care Traditions for Everyday Happiness.” She holds a Ph.D. in psychology and is a citizen of both Italy and the U.S. She is a regular contributor to bilingual (English/Italian) publications and has served as the stress-reduction interventionist for a large cardiac study at Yale. She lives in New Haven, Connecticut.

Want to land your dream job in 2024? Take CNBC’s new online course How to Ace Your Job Interview to learn what hiring managers are really looking for, body language techniques, what to say and not to say, and the best way to talk about pay. Get started today and save 50% with discount code EARLYBIRD.

Don’t miss:

  • This 41-year-old works for herself and bought a house in Sicily for $62,000 — now she splits her time between Italy and the U.S.
  • I talked to 263 of the world’s longest-living people—their 9 ‘non-negotiables’ for a long, happy life
  • If you use these 13 phrases every day, you have higher emotional intelligence ‘than most people’: Psychology experts

This is an adapted excerpt from ”45 Ways to Live Like an Italian: Italian-Inspired Self-Care Traditions for Everyday Happiness,” by Raeleen D’Agostino Mautner published by SourcebooksCopyright © 2023 by Raeleen D’Agostino Mautner.

Skip these 5 household items at Costco—they aren’t worth the bargain, says expert at finding deals

When it comes to Costco, it’s possible to have too much of a good thing.

That’s because the wholesale retailer’s low-cost items are often sold in sizes that may be too large to consume before they spoil or go stale, depending on your household size.

Plus, the company doesn’t price match with competitors, so you could potentially find lower prices on the same items elsewhere, like at rivals Sam’s Club or BJ’s Wholesale Club.

To help you determine what’s worth buying at Costco and what you can skip, CNBC Make It turned to Julie Ramhold, a consumer analyst at

Remember that you’ll need to purchase a $60 membership to buy almost all items at Costco, which can factor into how much you save. Additionally, prices can vary between Costco locations, and in-store prices tend to be cheaper than what’s found online.

1. Breakfast cereal

Costco’s breakfast cereal prices are similar to what you find at other wholesalers, although the selection is limited, says Ramhold.

The store offers brands like Honey Bunches of Oats, Raisin Bran and Cheerios, but doesn’t usually have a wide selection of “fun” sugary cereals, she says.

Typically, cereal comes in two-box packages, which means you’ll be eating “the same thing over and over to ensure you’ll eat it all before it goes stale,” says Ramhold. Ready-to-eat cereal lasts about three months after opening, although it starts to go stale much sooner if the packaging isn’t tightly sealed.

2. Lip balm

Lip balm can last a long time, although estimates differ. Some are good for at least a year once opened, while others with natural ingredients like beeswax, shea butter or coconut oil might get hard or clumpy sooner than that.

And most people don’t tend to go through stick after stick of lip balm in rapid succession, Ramhold says.

“It may sound like a great idea to buy the lip balm in bulk and have a container for every possible room in your home, plus your vehicle,” says Ramhold. “But the truth is that even if you use it habitually, it takes a long time to go through that much lip balm.”

For that reason, unless you’re buying for family or friends, you probably don’t need to grab the nine-count pack of lip balm on Costco shelves. A single stick will do just fine. 

3. Over-the-counter pain medications

Costco has low-price pain medications compared with many pharmacies, and medicines like aspirin and ibuprofen can last a long time, with expiration dates up to three years, depending on the brand.

However, you simply might not need 1,000 pills of, say, Kirkland Signature brand ibuprofen, unless you have a large household, Ramhold says. For a single person, such a large bottle could take years to finish.

“You probably won’t be able to get through an entire bottle of them unless you have chronic pain due to an injury or something like that,” says Ramhold. “It’s best to speak with your doctor to make sure it’s OK to take them that often — some meds can cause liver or stomach issues with prolonged use.”

4. Fresh produce

Costco’s fresh produce is sold in bulk sizes that are typically larger than what you find in regular grocery stores. 

Considering how quickly produce can spoil, a 25-pound bag of white onions or carton of red tomatoes can be impractical for a shopper without a large family to feed. 

Unless you plan to make a lot of pre-cooked meals in advance, you’re likely to waste some of the produce, which would negate the cost savings you’d get from buying in bulk, Ramhold says.

5. Spices

Ground spices have a limited shelf life of about six months, after which they lose their potency. In that case, you probably don’t need to buy Costco’s five-pound tub of garlic powder, even if it’s at a great price.

“For a giant container of chili seasoning, if you’re not planning on making chili every single weekend, you probably don’t want something that big from Costco,” says Ramhold.

Want to land your dream job in 2024? Take CNBC’s new online course How to Ace Your Job Interview to learn what hiring managers are really looking for, body language techniques, what to say and not to say, and the best way to talk about pay.