Salary Negotiation

6 Things To Avoid in a Salary Negotiation

Have you got a salary negotiation coming up shortly? It can be a nerve-wracking experience but it doesn’t have to be. Here are 6 things to avoid in a salary negotiation.

1. Don’t come unprepared

Firstly, you should prepare for a salary negotiation in the same way you would a job interview. Do your research, prepare any supporting documentation and rehearse the meeting. By being prepared you will be less likely to be fumbled when answering a tricky question. Research the salary range for your role in the industry; asking colleagues and your network to help gather this information. Know your market value and present your case with confidence based on your skills, experience and accomplishments. If you come unprepared you risk of not being able to articulate your proposal and agree to a number you are unhappy with.

2. Avoid emotions

Treat the negotiation as a business meeting. One in which you are negotiating a salary increase based on facts. This includes your value to the organization and the salary range in the industry. Avoid emotions to conduct the meeting in a professional and businesslike manner. Becoming emotional may lead to a negative tone that results in an argument rather than a conversation. Also, stay positive throughout and use body language to convey your positivity. Smile, sit straight but relaxed, make good eye contact and use your hands to emphasize your points. Becoming emotional can result in a lack of focus.

3. Don’t be ungracious

The negotiation meeting isn’t a battle to be won or lost. Start the discussion by thanking your manager for the opportunity to review your salary and express your appreciation for the job. This demonstrates your level of professionalism. Always start and end the conversation on a positive note, mention the things you enjoy about your work and why you are eager to stay working there. Furthermore, employers ultimately want to retain employees who enjoy their work and are motivated and driven to succeed.

4. Don’t reveal your bottom line number

Don’t reveal your bottom line number. As some employers will use your bottom line number as their final offer. Always aim to have the other person give you a number first. This can be tough as employers may ask you directly what your number is at the outset. If they do demand a number try responding with something like, “The market value for people in my position is…..” And always give a salary range.

5. Never accept the first offer

Companies expect you to negotiate. So as rule never accept their first offer. Furthermore, use silence constructively during a meeting and take your time to think about it. And ultimately always ask for more. At a minimum, always say you need time to think over their first offer. This will give you time to develop your negotiating strategy. It may be difficult to hold back saying yes initially but showing restraint will ultimately benefit you.

6. Don’t rule out non-salary options

Finally, often in salary negotiations, the conversation will turn to other forms of compensation. If your employer won’t budge on salary for whatever reason, you may have to be flexible and consider non-salary options. Don’t rule these out. Have some suggestions for alternatives to a salary increase ready to discuss. These might be:

  • Extra annual leave days
  • Flexible working hours/remote working opportunities
  • Healthcare/dental care
  • Covering the cost of education


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