5 Phrases You Should Never Use During Salary Negotiations

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Looking for a job can be pretty tough. You land a good offer, and you think you’ve overcome the challenging part, until you find yourself in an interview — led by the head of human resources.

What are you thinking in terms of salary? This is one of the toughest interview questions, and figuring out how to negotiate your salary is a life lesson that’s not taught in school.   

You could lose a good opportunity to get a better salary, just by using the wrong phrases at the wrong time during salary negotiation.

Whether you’re planning to schedule a meeting with your boss to ask for a raise or nearing the end of a job interview process, when the salary question is raised, knowing what phrases to avoid is critical.

1.  “I Accept” or “Yes!” 

This is the biggest mistake that most people make: not negotiating at all. Never accept an offer without asking questions, payment conditions, or countering the offer.

It’s a well-known fact that most companies will not present their final and highest offer right off the bat. There is always room to ask for more.

According to Adriana James, author of Career Sudoku: 9 Ways to Win the Job Search Game, whenever a company finds the right candidate, they’re always willing to negotiate salary, so don’t hesitate to do so. Unless you don’t have a reason why you should be paid more than you’re offered, you should not accept an initial offer.

2. ‘I’m Currently Making…”

In most interviews, you’ll be asked where you are in terms of salary and what you’re looking for if you land the job. Don’t mention any figures right away.

This is a tricky question that needs more thought, as it comes early in the interview process. Directly answering this question makes it hard for you to negotiate further.

Once you mention a specific figure, the company is more likely to give an offer tied to the numbers you mentioned. You lose the negotiating power for a much higher salary from the word go.

Instead of providing a solid number, give them an estimate of the value the market places on your position — the higher, the better.  

3. “My Desired Salary is…”

When asked what salary you expect to be paid, don’t disclose the amount you expect. Your reply should mention industry standards with an emphasis on the fact that your experience and skills put you at the top of that salary range.

To get this right, you need to do prior research to determine the correct salary ranges for your position.

4. A Hardheaded “No.”

A fresh job offer is no doubt an exciting thing, but it can also be agonizing when you don’t get what you expected. Don’t be too quick to turn down an offer by saying no.

During salary negotiations, you have to be flexible. Don’t focus too much on what you want and fail to recognize a better job offer on the table.

There’s more to negotiations than just the salary. Today, employees earn all kinds of benefits which may be even more important than a good salary.

You could have a salary range in mind, but be open to other possibilities and be keen during salary negotiations, so as not to miss out on great offers.

5. “I Know You May Not Have Room In Your Budget, But…”

Confidence and positivity are key when negotiating salary. It’s in your best interest to avoid negative phrases. Stay away from any language that is self-defeating to avoid putting yourself on the defensive.

Instead of mentioning the above phrase, ask questions like:

  • Do you have any flexibility with that figure?
  • Are there creative ways to get to that salary range?

Preparation is Crucial 

Preparing for a salary negotiation is always important, but never easy. While you want to get a better deal, it’s important to focus on the company’s needs and emphasize your value to their organization.

Avoid the above phrases, and you’ll be better off during the salary negotiation process.  

Written By
Jordan Perez is a Human Resources consultant and freelance writer working in her beloved state, California. She loves writing about new developments in human resource management, workplace connections, and work & life balance. In her free time, she enjoys DIY projects and visiting new places.

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