Money is an uncomfortable topic for a lot of people, which is what makes asking for a raise or negotiating your salary so difficult. However, these conversations are important to have in order for you to get the paycheck you truly deserve and the financial wellness that would allow you to thrive. That said, the next time you find yourself in a negotiating position, avoid making the mistakes listed below to be able to expertly navigate the discussion.
1. Skipping the Negotiation Entirely
As industries grow and demand increasingly complex skillsets, it gets harder to find the right candidates for the right jobs. As a result, workers are in a unique position to negotiate their salaries now more than ever. Despite these high demands in the market, CNBC reports that only 39% of Americans engaged in salary negotiations during their last job offer, with women less likely to try negotiating at all.
Whatever the reason for the reluctance to negotiate, one thing’s for sure: it turns out to be an expensive mistake. Research by Glassdoor reveals that the average American could be earning 13.3%, or $7,528 more, per year than their current salary. The figures you would miss out on can add up over a lifetime, and you would never know it because you never bothered to negotiate. You will hurt your own career down the road, and you’ll most likely end up feeling like you don’t get paid enough for what you do — because you aren’t.
Avoid this mistake by initiating some kind of negotiation when you’re given an offer, even if it seems like the hiring manager isn’t open to it. Chances are, there’s at least a little wiggle room in that number that you’d have to negotiate for.
2. Asking About the Offer Prematurely
On the other end of the spectrum, you would be making a big mistake as well if you jump the gun and bring up negotiations too early. At the end of the interview, when the recruiter asks you if you have any questions, don’t ask about your salary. It’s in bad taste to do this prematurely, as it shows your priority is how much you will get paid. There are certain questions you should absolutely not ask in the early interview process and this is one of them.
Even if the interviewer asks about your salary expectations, be cautious in how you answer this question. Be patient and wait until an offer is given, because only then will the negotiations begin. Take your time to hear out the full salary package so that you and the company can make the best decision for both parties.
3. Not Doing Your Research
One of the worst mistakes you could make when entering a negotiation is not doing your research beforehand. When you don’t know how much you’re worth, you will not be able to tell if a company is lowballing you or offering something that exceeds your market value. It’s essential to know exactly what you bring to the table by finding out the median salaries in your field.
When scoping out the different salaries, don’t forget to compare the skillsets in the industry with what you excel in. When you know your strengths and your points for improvement, you will have a better feel for how much you should be taking home every month.
4. Becoming Too Emotionally Invested
Receiving a less than ideal offer can be frustrating, especially if everything else about the job seems perfect for you. If this happens, it may be hard to suppress shock or anger, and you may end up showing it — but do try your best not to. Special Counsel’s guide to negotiating your salary emphasizes the importance of remaining professional despite any emotional strain you may experience when talking about your wages. After all, discussing your salary package is still part of the overall interview and could inadvertently affect your standing in the company.
Stay on top of your feelings and try to be rational throughout the whole process. Interview expert Scott Rice previously recommended getting rid of any emotional investment from the get-go, as a clear head can help you avoid losing your composure or your temper in front of the interviewer. As an added bonus, your employer will see that you can keep things professional even under tense or difficult circumstances.
5. Feeling Pressured to Accept an Offer
Salary negotiations can be stressful, and situations where you feel pressured are a normal part of the process. However, when you give in to the pressure to accept an offer, you may end up making a hasty or incorrect decision.
You can avoid this situation by politely letting the hiring manager know that you would need more time to consider the offer. Reflect on the interview process and any employer red flags that would be a potential issue in the future. Accepting a figure right there and then will prevent you from taking the time to examine exactly what that number entails. Perspective is especially important in these decisions, and yours will likely be skewed if you’re asked to quickly make a decision in a high-pressure situation.
6. Overlooking the Rest of Your Salary Package
In certain situations, the figure that the interviewer or hiring manager says can be way above what you were expecting — be careful not to immediately say yes. Remember that there is more to your salary package than the money.
Make sure to ask for all the details about your package, such as benefits that you can also negotiate. This may include incentives, health insurance, paid leaves, and 13th month pay. Sometimes a high salary may mean fewer benefits, so it’s always better to examine the fine print and thoroughly ask about an offer before accepting it.
7. Not Recording Anything in Writing
After you reach a satisfactory agreement with the company, safeguard the deal by sealing it with more than a handshake or a promise. Having your agreed upon salary package on paper will guarantee that it’s what you’re really getting when you start working there.
Of course, this is not to say that a company would always have bad intentions, as things can accidentally get mixed up in HR processes, and mistakes can be made. You would not want to be in a position where you have to say “But you said you’d pay me this amount!” Any decent recruitment manager would understand if you asked for the offer on paper as soon as possible, as it can save you both a lot of unnecessary trouble down the road.
8. Being Too Inflexible
While it may be true that you have to be firm and determined when negotiating your salary, it’s a mistake to be inflexible during the whole process. Just discussing your demands and how a salary package fits your needs and lifestyle will leave a bad impression on your interviewer. Instead, focus on the fact that there are two parties negotiating, and the company has its needs as well.
Be meticulous when doing your research and find out what range of salaries they usually offer. Take into consideration the type of company you’re applying for — you may have a higher change for a bigger figure with a multinational corporation than a local startup. Additionally, it’s important to be flexible when it comes to the package, and don’t just focus on the money. If the company can’t offer you a high enough number, try to ask for more paid leaves or remote work options instead. Any employer would happily oblige with a reasonable candidate who presents options that can benefit everyone.
Overall, you can breeze through salary negotiations effectively if you prepare beforehand, keep a level head, and assert yourself but remain flexible during the conversation. A good negotiation always ends with both parties leaving happy, which is possible through a concretized agreement that satisfies or finds compromises for everyone’s needs.
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