Salary Negotiations Part Two: More Tips

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Insulted by an Offer?

Now that you understand your value in the workplace thanks to your research, do not let on that you are insulted when an employer "low-balls" you. Do not react to the "bad" offer and avoid betraying your feelings with outraged declarations like: "I am worth so much more!" Likewise, don’t flat out refuse a low offer thereby jeopardizing future opportunities with this company. Instead, "sleep" on all offers. Maybe you love the culture of the company enough to overlook the low offer. Maybe the benefits package makes up for the low starting salary. There may be tradeoffs you should consider before flat out saying refusing the position. Always take time to think about an offer, high or low.

That being said, even if you do think that professional growth will come in time or that the company culture is the perfect fit for you, do not accept the offer if you think that you might end up resenting the low salary. After all, a low starting salary will also affect any future raises or retirement matching contributions because they are often determined based on a percentage of your salary. If there is even a hint of resentment, politely decline the position and continue with your job search efforts.

Swept Away?

You have been looking for a long time and now someone finally makes you an offer. Don’t get swept up in the moment and accept any old offer without giving it some thought first. If you initially accept an offer and then later realize that you hadn’t accounted for this or that, you should not go back to the employer and attempt a renegotiation. You have already accepted what was offered. Negotiating after that would only make you look bad to the employer and ultimately set you off on the wrong footing as you embark on your employment tenure at that company.

Don’t Make It Personal

You are insulted by the offer and you decide that you need to illustrate what your monthly expenses are so that the employer will understand that you could not possibly survive on the salary the company is offering. Avoid this misstep at all costs. The employer doesn’t care what your monthly cell phone bill is or that you need to pay a certain amount of monthly income to child support or alimony. This is tantamount to emotional blackmail. Don’t do it.

Don’t Apologize

If you know what you are worth and you are asking the employer to consider a reasonable salary to employ you, don’t apologize. An apology may weaken your entire argument. You should never apologize for knowing your value.

Likewise, don’t preface your negotiation with a back story or with too much detailed information ("I am worth this because…"). If your number is well researched and reflective of the market you are in, there is no need to justify or rationalize what you are asking for.

Know When To Back Down

Much of a negotiation discussion is rendered pointless when a hiring manager cautions you that the offer is firm and the amount is final and as high as the employer is willing to go for such a position. At that time, it is up to you to make the hard decision.

This is not an invitation to ramp up negotiations. In fact, continuing to negotiate at this point will reflect badly on you.

Likewise, don’t just negotiate for the fun of it. Presenting a high number for the sake of getting more money out of the company may end all negotiations the moment an unrealistic number is presented. Instead, make sure that number is based on hard evidence obtained from research. That way, if the person doing the hiring challenges the rate, you can show them the numbers.

Other Tips

Don’t involve others: Avoid suggesting or even hinting that you are in demand, particularly with another employer or hiring manager. The employer you are interviewing with may call your bluff and pass on you.

Always be polite. Even if you are insulted by a job offer, smile and leave the negotiation feeling like you haven’t burned a bridge. Avoid negative behavior at all costs.

Avoid using absolute phrases such as: my final offer, my bottom line, my last offer. This language can sound threatening and create a negative negotiation atmosphere, and could even signal the end of a negotiation.

If you are presented with a final number that is lower than what you expected or wanted and you want the position anyway, try to negotiate other employee benefits such as more vacation time, better health or dental, a flexible schedule and so on.

Finally, the most important tip for negotiating salary: No matter what, be calm, confident and, above all, be prepared.


Business Insider—22 Things You Should Never Say in a Salary Negotiation

Cheeky Scientist—12 Tips On How To Negotiate A Job Offer To Increase Your Starting Salary In Industry

Quintessential—10 Salary Negotiation Mistakes to Avoid

The Muse—4 Times to Negotiate Your Salary (and 3 Times Not To)

The Muse—How to Negotiate Salary: 37 Tips You Need to Know

The Muse—Q&A: the Secret to Giving Your "Salary Requirements"