Low Ball Technique, Salesman and Job Interviews

“For as long as I can recall, I’ve been an easy mark for the pitches of peddlers, fund-raisers, and operators of one sort or another.”

–          Robert Cialdini- Social Psychologist

Robert Cialdini decided to investigate why he fell for pitches made by salesman, fund raisers/donation seeks. Based on research he came with explanation – which he called as “Low Ball Technique”.

Low ball technique is a tactic for getting people to agree to something. People who agree to an initial request will often still comply when the requester ups the ante.

People who receive only the costly request are less likely to comply with it. For example while selling car salesman will quote low price, you agree to buy car because of low price, then slowly the salesman starts telling you the price of “add-ons” like car stereo for which he starts charging extra, you still agree to buy car because the price quoted for it is low, so don’t mind paying extra for add-ons.

Had salesman quoted a price including price of add-ons initially you might have not brought the car.


I have seen similar phenomenon occurring during job interview. Ex. during interview for the post of HR manager they will tell you that role is of “core” HR function. If that is what you are looking for, you fall for it, and then slowly an interviewer introduces “add-ons”…

… you many at times have to look after admin function!

…you many sometimes have to do X, Y,Z etc.

Since you are already sold on idea of role of HR manager, you don’t mind add-ons.

If the job role had mentioned about “add-ons” in advertisement itself, maybe you could not have attended the interview at all.


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