Negotiating your salary: 4 things not to say

Negotiation is an art, which, unfortunately, we do not learn in school. When we get out of school and start looking for our first job, we are immediately thrown into the deep end. But not only then, for many people, but negotiation also remains difficult throughout their lives.

Of course, there are also plenty of things that you should do before or during a negotiation, such as good preparation and the occasional silence.

This is not something you should say when negotiating salary

In this article, we focus on what not to do. Four things not to say when negotiating your salary.

“I accept (your first offer)”

This is probably the most common mistake made: not negotiating at all. Even if you are excited or think the first offer is fantastic, you should not accept the first offer from your (future) employer.

Remember: the person opposite expects you to negotiate. So it is not at all crazy or ungrateful if you do not immediately accept the first offer.

“Of course, I don’t know if you have room in the budget or if it might not be the right timing now”

Of course, this is an example, but we’re trying to say that being confident in your shoes is key. When you comment on the one above, you are putting the words in their mouths, as it were. Try to avoid insecurity and phrases like “maybe.”

If, for example, it is not the right timing because of the pandemic, you will automatically hear that. But make no mistake, many companies can also negotiate this year.

“I need a higher salary because I have to [personal reason]”

Don’t make this comment whether you have sky-high student debt, want to buy a house in this overheated housing market, or are saving for another big goal. We all have rent or mortgage, groceries, and insurance that we have to pay.

That’s not why you ask for a higher salary. If all goes well, there’s a legitimate reason behind it. For example, if you have been working there for years, have shown value, but have never received a raise. Or if you can show good results.

“My current salary is…”

This is a tricky situation because many employers ask for this when negotiating. But as soon as you share your current salary, a new employer will often sit just above this. That is a shame because with a new job you can make big jumps in your salary.

What should you answer when asked? Don’t say bluntly that you don’t want to answer that, but ask a question back. Indeed, if the jobs differ substantially from each other, there is no reason to mention your salary.

Say something like, “Why do you want to know this? Since the positions are different, I prefer to be judged based on my qualities rather than my previous salary”. Remember: you have the right not to comply with the request if companies ask for a payslip. On the other hand, you can, of course, just bluff hard.

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