Avoiding Costly Salary Mistakes


The art of negotiation is a necessity while discussing salary requirements. Benefits are generally non-negotiable, but many factors determine a salary offer. The job description, your qualifications, business needs, and the job market all contribute to an employer’s determination of the salary amount. As a candidate, you have the ability to make that same determination and attempt to negotiate the salary offer. During that process, try to avoid the following mistakes.

Lack of Negotiation

Accepting an initial offer immediately sends an insightful message to the employer. It says that you can be controlled and are easy to manipulate. Negotiating does not have to be a daunting task and is commonly misinterpreted as being one. It is simply an engaging conversation about your compensation. Even if you accept an initial offer, don’t accept it immediately. Reflect on the offer and ask if you can have some time to evaluate it. A lack of negotiation can negatively impact you with future implications, such as less promotions and personal dissatisfaction. Accepting an unfair offer will cause you to be dissatisfied at work as well and inevitably lead to declining efficiency and performance.

The Employer Knows How Much You Will Accept

One of the few leverage tactics you have as a candidate is the salary you would accept. That is information the employer is privileged to, and their compensation questions are geared around getting that answer. Employers will do their best to find out what your salary requirements are, because they need to know how much you will cost the company. Do your best not to reveal an actual salary amount. Most companies require you to disclose your salary requirements, so give them a range if possible. Divulge as little detail as possible, and do not accept an actual salary amount during an interview. If you can accomplish this, you will have a better chance to negotiate a higher salary once you are hired.

Your Needs vs. The Company Needs

Let’s face it; compensation and salary requirements are the most important parts of seeking employment. The amount on the paycheck of your dreams is probably not what the company thinks is an accurate depiction of your responsibilities. Lose the “what I need” mentality when negotiating your salary requirements. Base your negotiations on your qualifications and the company’s needs, not yours.

Unprepared For The Negotiation Process

When interested in being part of an organization, candidates do extensive research prior to the interview. This serves a few purposes. It helps you prepare to answer any questions to exhibit your knowledge about the company and it gives the employer a genuine impression that you want to be part of the organization. The same premise applies to salary negotiation. Take advantage of resources like websites, professional documentations, and journals. There is plenty of information available to give you insight about salary ranges, what other professionals with the same qualifications are making, and what the company you want to join is paying.

Requesting Too Many Changes When Countering

If you have done your research about the position and find the job offer to be below your expectations, it is okay to make a counteroffer. An issue arises when that counteroffer is unrealistic and has too many changes. It is not wise to make demands that will make the negotiation process unproductive. Be realistic in your changes and demands.

Where is The Offer in Writing?

Once the negotiation process is complete and both parties have reached a mutual compensation agreement, request the offer in writing. Hiring managers should be okay with this request, because it’s normal for you to have the offer for your records. If the employer declines, you might want to think twice before pursuing employment with that organization.