Raise your Commerce to 10 as soon as you can (use all the points you get towards it), then go to a tavern and talk to an officer that you can hire and ask him "How much are you asking?". He will respond with a price. After that, say "Isn't that a little too much for you?". He will reply "I guess you are right" and then offers less. Say "Nah, still too much" ( or something to that effect) and the dialog box will close. However, the next time you speak to him, the price will be the last price he offered. Repeat this until he responds with a negative number (i.e. he will pay you for you to hire him).