Most Common Salary Negotiation Mistakes

Salary negotiation is an important skill for workers of all experience levels to develop. This skill will enable you to earn the salary that matches your experience, educational background, and job skills.

Although there are many important tips to follow when negotiating salaries, the following are 10 common salary negotiation mistakes. It is important to avoid these techniques because an employer could offer you less than you expect or rescind the job offer all together.

  • Settling/Not Negotiating. It is unwise to refuse to negotiate and accept an initial offer. Women and young adults frequently refuse to negotiate with employers because it can be uncomfortable and intimidating. Refusing to negotiate can lead to lower future raises and smaller retirement fund contributions. Likewise, accepting an unfair offer can cause personal distress that could eventually lead to work problems.

  • Revealing How Much You Would Accept. Never reveal to an employer what you consider an acceptable salary. This can be difficult since many companies request salary requirements and history during the application process or first interview. You should be prepared to appropriately answer these questions if asked. If you divulge these details, it will be difficult to negotiate for a higher salary if hired. Be cautious to agree to a specific salary during the interview.

  • Focusing on Need/Greed Rather Than Value. Many people make the mistake of trying to convince employers they should receive the salary accommodating their needs when they should focus on qualifications. Be prepared with arguments about how you will contribute to the company during salary negotiations.

  • Weak Research or Negotiation Preparation. There are plenty of resources readily available to learn more about salary negotiation, including websites, books, and professional associations. Also, take time to learn more about your new companies' performance requirements for salary increases and average salaries for other employees. Whether you plan to negotiate or not, it is useful to be aware of how much other professionals with similar qualifications and experience earn in your field.

  • Making a Salary Pitch Too Early. Before receiving a job offer, you should not begin negotiating for a future salary. This should not begin until an offer has been made. Once it has been made, it is acceptable to ask questions about wages and benefits. Some employers do not look favorably upon candidates who seem too concerned about their salary. Brining up salary too early in the interview process can also backfire for job candidates since they could be asked about salary expectations and not be offered the salary they sought.

  • Accepting Job Offer Too Quickly. Most people do not enjoy looking for a new job. As a result, many people accept the first job offer they receive. However, if you receive a job offer, take some time to think over the offer. Most companies will allow you to take time to consider the offer. Since the company wants you to be part of their organization, you should use this as leverage to secure an acceptable job offer. Be sure not to take more time than you request to make the decision.

  • Declining Job Offer Too Quickly. Many people make the mistake of rejecting job offers after being offered salaries below their expectations. This may be a good idea if the offer is well below average salaries for professionals with similar experience and qualifications as you, but often salary offers are accompanied with excellent benefits and opportunities for bonuses. It is not uncommon for companies that pay low base salaries to offer big bonuses and large quantities of company stock shares. Plus, you can negotiate with the company for a higher starting salary.

  • Asking For Too Many Changes in Counteroffer. A counteroffer can be made if you receive a job offer below your expectations. However, making too many demands can be counterproductive. If the company making the offer will not budge on salary, you can seek more vacation days, a bigger signing bonus, etc, but again, do not make excessive demands. Select only a couple of requests in your counterproposal.

  • Taking Salary Negotiations Personally. As with most business situations, it is unwise to be personally insulted from a salary offer below your expectations. Remember, the employer wants you to be a part of the organization. If after negations you decide to pursue other opportunities, be professional and avoid saying anything rude or inappropriate since you could change your mind.

  • Not Asking for Final Offer in Writing. If you are satisfied with a salary offer, request it in writing from your new employer. A professional manager should not have a problem with this request. If he or she does, you might want to reconsider working for the company.

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