Obstacles like imposter syndrome or inexperience can make you feel as though you should just accept the company’s original offer and move on, but it’s important to know your worth and to advocate for yourself if you believe you deserve a higher salary.
However, even if you build up the confidence to negotiate, knowing exactly what to say—or what not to say—is yet another obstacle to overcome. To help, 10 members of Young Entrepreneur Council each share one thing you should never do if you want to successfully negotiate your salary, and why doing them might hurt your efforts from the start.
Photos of the featured members.
Young Entrepreneur Council members discuss what you should avoid doing when negotiating your salary.
1. Hint That You're Still Shopping Around
While hiring managers are open to salary negotiations, they ultimately want candidates who want to work at the company. If an applicant shows that they lack interest, enthusiasm or commitment, then the hiring manager may deem the candidate a flight risk because it's better to hire someone who's interested in working with your business long term than someone who's constantly searching for a “better” opportunity. - Firas Kittaneh, Amerisleep Mattress
2. Make The First Offer
A job candidate should never make the first offer because it can make them seem desperate or greedy. If a candidate makes the first offer and it is too low, they may be able to salvage the situation by countering their own offer, but they will have burned one of their biggest bargaining chips. It is key to remember that when you make the first offer, you have placed the other person in a position of power. To avoid this, you should wait for the other party to make the first offer. Then, you can make a very reasonable counter. - Kelly Richardson, Infobrandz
3. Use Another Offer As A Bargaining Chip
A candidate should never use the salary offered to them by another company as a bargaining chip. It's normal for people to appear in different job interviews and then decide to join the best of the lot. But using different offers to gain the upper hand in salary negotiations is bad practice. HR is generally very sensitive about information disclosure. So, bringing such information to the table can raise many red flags. - Jared Atchison, WPForms
4. Share The Least Amount Of Money You'll Take
Never give your bottom dollar amount. That gives your employer the upper hand. If you’re directly asked this question, give a range, but try to turn the conversation to how you deserve what you want. - Andrew Schrage, Money Crashers Personal Finance
5. Focus Only On The Number
A job candidate should never focus only on the number when negotiating their salary. Some companies may be unwilling to move on salary, but you can focus on other terms of the offer like a signing bonus, performance bonus, severance package, paid time off, flexible work options, relocation expenses and more. Research to see which aspects can be negotiated enough to balance your expectations. If the company says “yes” to your proposal, whether in terms of salary or a good benefits package, fold your cards and request the final offer in writing. - Brian David Crane, Spread Great Ideas
6. Start Negotiating Without Doing Your Research
Never enter salary negotiations without doing your homework, whether as a candidate or an employee asking for a raise. You need to know what others are being paid for doing the work you will be doing—not the job title, but the work. Use resources like Glassdoor and LinkedIn to learn what others in similar roles are making and what other industry standards are. Build your value around what others are doing and being paid for doing it. Be prepared to show your value based on the research. Also, never give your number first! Let the potential employer spit out a value. If you go first, you’ll either shoot too high, and they’ll politely dismiss you, or you might shoot too low and hurt yourself. - Jared Weitz, United Capital Source Inc.
7. Give A Salary Range
Avoid giving a range when negotiating your salary. This is a common mistake made by most candidates when negotiating their salary with their potential employer. Specifying a range can be misleading. You are most likely expecting a higher number within the range specified. But, HR will probably consider the lower number when making an offer. You can't negotiate on this any further as they have technically agreed to your demand. So, specifying range is never a good idea. - Stephanie Wells, Formidable Forms
8. Misrepresent Your Value Or Previous Earnings
When candidates misrepresent their value or previous earnings, this could be categorized alongside lying on a resume. Some candidates will exaggerate how much they were earning at their current or previous job to negotiate a higher salary. They might also overstate their experience or skills to talk themselves into a higher-paying position. There are a couple of reasons why this isn't a good strategy. First of all, it's easy to verify the candidate's earnings and past positions. Even if you do get hired, if you bluffed your way into the position, it will usually become evident rather quickly. Don't undersell yourself; however, don't try to demand more than you're currently worth. You can always negotiate a raise after you've proven your value. - Kalin Kassabov, ProTexting
9. Get Defensive Or Emotional
A candidate should avoid getting defensive or emotional when negotiating their salary. This can be a turnoff for employers and can make it harder to reach an agreement. It's important to keep in mind that salary negotiation is a business transaction, and you should approach it as such. Be professional and courteous, and be prepared to walk away if you don't get the offer you're looking for. However, you can ask for what you want and feel good about it by doing your research ahead of time. Give clear explanations and point to your research when asking for your pay expectations, and the hiring person will be likely to respect you. - Syed Balkhi, WPBeginner
10. Ask For More Later
Do not agree to a salary in person and then later follow up with written correspondence stating that you will need more to start. If you want to negotiate for a higher salary, do it in person, face-to-face. Agreeing in person and then following up with written correspondence gives the employer the idea that you do not fully think through situations and that you are not a good communicator. Either of these can throw the job out the window before you have a chance to start. Rather than asking for a higher salary to start, ask what you can do to get yourself closer to your ideal number in the next six months. Mention that you are willing to take an online course and study to bring your skills up to achieve this higher compensation point that you are looking to accomplish through this new role. - Mary Harcourt, CosmoGlo