There are so many ways to sabotage yourself in a salary negotiation.
HR expert Steve Kane stresses that negative answers like “won’t” can really hurt your chances.
But some mistakes are easier to recover from than others.
Business Insider recently asked “Tame Your Terrible Office Tyrant: How to Manage Childish Boss Behaviour and Thrive in Your Job” author Lynn Taylor to pick out the worst possible mistake one can make while trying to negotiate a raise.
She says that it’s important to avoid sounding rude or arrogant during any negotiation.
However, if you’re a generally polite person, there’s one statement that’s much more likely to hurt you. She cited the phrase “I need…” as the worst statement you can make during a wage negotiation.
“By saying you ‘need’ money for personal reasons, you are, by definition, refuting the concept that your contributions are worthy of a higher salary,” she says.
Remember, you’re asking for fair consideration, not a personal favour. Talking about your “needs” may leave the other party doubting both your value and financial competence.
“A negotiation is not won based on what you need — it’s based off of the value you bring,” Kahn says. “So, for example, you don’t want to ask for a salary increase because of the costs of your bills, you want to give them specific evidence of the added experience you bring to the position. This will help them understand the value you bring to the role and justifies them paying you more.”
Instead of proclaiming neediness, Taylor says that individuals should address the following points in any wage negotiation.
- How your work has increasingly contributed to department or company goals
- How your responsibilities have increased significantly
- What concrete achievements you have accomplished
- The market rate for your type of position
“Ideally, a manager wants to feel that you’ve already been doing the work that warrants a higher salary for some period of time … it should not be an aspirational request,” Taylor says. “Savvy interviewers and bosses don’t think in terms of being charitable. While they may be sympathetic to your cause, they must evaluate starting salaries and increases based on business criteria.”
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