7 Things to Never Say During a Salary Negotiation

7 Things to Never Say During a Salary Negotiation

Whether you’re looking for a new job or hoping for a raise in your current role, salary negotiation is a skill worth acquiring. It will not only help secure higher pay, but also positively affect how employers value your work.

The art of salary negotiation is not easy to master, but don’t panic – you can prepare for this. Be confident in yourself and what you’re asking for. If you’re entering a negotiation, read on for our list of what to avoid saying and discover some helpful workarounds.

1. “My current salary is…”

Most recruiters and hiring managers will ask for your salary expectations at some point during the hiring process, but don’t show your cards too early. If you must answer in the beginning of the process, give a range (i.e. “in the high XX’s”) to allow for some flexibility when you’re negotiating down the road.

2. “I’m not sure”

While it’s important to not give away all your (current and desired) salary numbers, avoid the other side of the spectrum. Appearing unsure of what you’re looking for gives the other side permission to shape the discussion. Do the necessary research and go into the conversation with at least a ballpark range of what you’d like to earn.

3. “I know [specific person] makes X”

Base your negotiation on fact, not emotion. A surefire way to get emotionally involved is to name a specific person’s salary. Whether for a new job or for negotiating your current salary, compare what employers offer to industry averages – not the people around you. Use Hired’s salary calculator for a more granular view of how you stack up.

4. “I think…”

Avoid phrases like “I think” or “I feel” when speaking about past performance. They imply the value of your work is subject to interpretation. Stick to the hard facts to assert the importance of your past work. This gives the hiring manager tangible evidence of why you deserve a higher salary.

5. “The least I’ll accept is…”

If you disclose the minimum you’ll accept, there’s a good chance you’ll get just that and no more. Additionally, if it’s not feasible for the employer to offer you at least the minimum you propose, the negotiation will be over and you’ll have to walk away with nothing.

6. “I can’t afford my [student loan payments, rent, etc.]”

Of course you’ll need to earn enough to pay your bills and make ends meet. However, an emotional appeal and an overshare with personal details have no place in a salary negotiation. Any amount you propose above the original offer should be justifiable by the value you will or already bring to the company. It should not center around how much you need the money.

If you worry about living costs, ask about additional benefits or stipends from the company. This can include a cell phone plan, gym membership, or travel reimbursements. The company may not have factored these into your salary offer, but these benefits can take a chunk out of your monthly expenses.

7. “That’s my final offer”

If you’re at the job offer stage, the employer definitely wants to get you onboard. At this point, avoid getting fed up and posing an ultimatum. Even if the company can’t offer you more money, there’s usually some leeway to negotiate an alternative benefits package.

In our 2022 State of Tech Salaries report, we surveyed tech professionals on what benefits they found most compelling. This included 1) flexible work schedules 2) physical health benefits and 3) PTO. What benefits are important to you? Consider what might enhance your quality of life beyond a higher salary, as many companies will work with employees to tailor a benefits package that suits both parties.

So how do you position yourself to land the salary you deserve? Our Ultimate Guide to Salary Negotiation has everything you need.

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