6 things you should never say when negotiating a salary
It’s understandable to feel a little nervous about negotiating salary, but you can’t let your nerves keep you from asking for what you deserve. Don’t be afraid to broach the subject. After all, “if you don’t ask, you don’t get.” That said, there’s always a right and wrong way to go about asking for a raise (or a higher starting salary), and saying the wrong thing can severely compromise your chances.
Like everything else, preparation is key. Here are six things you should never say when negotiating a salary.
Salary negotiations are not the time to attempt to play on others’ sympathies. The goal here is fair compensation; you’re not looking for a personal favor. Don’t talk about how much money you need to pay your bills, or finance your online poker habit. Instead, focus on highlighting your value to the company, and what you rightly deserve in terms of compensation. Do your research and come prepared with salary information from similar positions in the industry.
- “I could walk away, no problem.”
It’s important to remember that salary negotiations are different from other kinds of negotiations. You’re not buying a car here. If your employer starts to wonder about your dedication and commitment to the job, that won’t do anything to help you professionally. You want to get a better salary, but you also have to show that you care about your work and the company. These things should not be presented as mutually exclusive. Stay away from these kinds of threats, especially if you’re not willing to back them up.
During your conversation, it’s important to be confident and to project that confidence. Apart from body language, the words you use play a key role in expressing confidence and self-assurance. Sit tall and make eye contact, and avoid words that make you seem unsure or doubtful. You don’t want to look like a pushover.
- “I’d like to get this worked out as soon as possible.”
Although you may be feeling anxious to get through this conversation as quickly as you can, revealing that impulse won’t do you any favors. Demonstrate instead that getting the compensation you deserve is a high priority, and that you are fully engaged and present for this conversation. Don’t look at your watch, phone, or at a clock. Settle into your chair and show how much this matter means to you.
- “This job is so exciting to me!”
You don’t want to act like you could easily walk away from your position, but you don’t want to go too far in the opposite direction either. It’s wonderful to be passionate and enthusiastic about your work, but salary negotiations might not be the best time to go on and on about it. Remember that you working at this job is a mutually beneficial arrangement. You don’t have to fall all over yourself showing your gratitude. It could make them think you’ll be willing to work for less.
- “I just want to talk about salary.”
Consider all aspects of your compensation in advance (this conversation is something you want to be fully prepared for) and don’t forget to talk about benefits during your salary negotiation. Focusing on other aspects of your compensation in addition to your salary could help you gain leverage and improve your work-life balance. You may even want to think about trying to monetize the perks, so that you can negotiate them accordingly. Remember, there is more to compensation than salary. Looking at the bigger picture, and knowing what you want in advance can make a big difference.