How to Land that Job: Playing Hard to Get?

If you are even remotely aware of the current economy and the current shape it is in, you must know how difficult it is to land a job. Getting that dream job means that you have to stand out from the many other people applying. Employers are receiving record high numbers of resumes because people are that desperate. Even if you have a spotless resume with lots of experience, it can be difficult to stand out to your potential employer. Once you have been included in the group of interviewees, what’s the best course of action to take?

Some Companies ARE Hiring!

My wife just recently found out that her company wants to hire her on full-time in a staff position. This was a great moment. She doesn’t have a letter in writing (yet), but they have made a verbal offer. She didn’t give her verbal consent or agree wholeheartedly right away, but she did express her ambiguous interest in staying there as a staff person. The same night after she heard about this intent by her employer, we talked and decided that she should accept the position. The question remained: Should she play hard to get? Would it be possible to get her employer to offer her better benefits or some compensation to “win” her over?

Is Playing Hard to Get the Best Policy?

Does ‘playing hard to get’ apply to the workforce as well as dating? Can it be just as effective? As far as I can see it, you want to consider both the “pros” and “cons” when thinking about how much interest to show in accepting a position when it has been offered.


  • The best thing about playing hard to get in the work force is that it shows the employer (or potential employer) that you have multiple choices. If you jump at the first offer, the employer may wonder if they made a mistake by hiring you.
  • Holding back any excitement may force the potential employer to offer more compensation either in the form of benefits or salary. Who would say no to either one of those?
  • Showing to the employer that you want to consider all your options can help illustrate that you are deliberate with your actions and therefore an even better fit for the position. It’s best not to be too hasty!


  • Playing hard to get can also run the risk of communicating to the potential employer that you are not completely interested in the position. They may even believe that you are only in it for the money.

While the only major thing against playing hard to get is the chance of showing a disinterest in the position, it may not be worth the risk.

What do you think? Is it likely that the employer will retract the offer? Is it worth the risk?

*featured image provide by: Sean MacEntee

18 Responses to How to Land that Job: Playing Hard to Get?

  1. I would vote against playing hard to get because the company can replace your wife easily thanks to a growing pool of unemployed people!

    Take the offer and build experience, the benefits will come. If it’s only a question of better benefits, why not discuss it with the company? No need to risk a potential full time position.

    • Very good point. I agree. While there may be times where it is beneficial, it doesn’t seem like they are flexible in the benefits.

    • Very true, Miss T. Especially when the salary is a decent one. There are too many people without jobs right now to justify an unnecessary demand. If someone wanted to hire her from a different company, she would have a lot more leverage.

  2. accommodating negotiation Yes, hard to get, No.

    The rules of negotiation say that you should not use competitive negotiation techniques like “hard to get” when setting a good relationship is important. Say you do get more, but using the tactic could set the employee/employer relationship.

    They better approach is to be open to what you want. I’ve been in the hiring position before and you usually don’t want your first choice to pass up, so being up front about getting a little more from the offer commonly works.

    Generally, even if they reject a sweeter deal, they will leave you with an option to take the position.

  3. The best time to negotiate is before you sign the agreement. You should at least attempt to ask for as much as possible. Once you sign, that’s it. Your negotiate power disappears.

    • You’re right Robert. The difficult part is determining how far is too far. Because her offer is fair, we (she) probably won’t push too much.

  4. We will end up not making job offers to candidates that seem disinterested in the position. I would say, express genuine interest (including the reasons why you are interested), and then negotiate from that point. There’s a line between negotiating and stating that you will definitely turn down the job if not offered the salary you would like.