4 salary negotiation mistakes to avoid

With annual review season here, chances are you will be negotiating a pay raise. Your negotiating approach will have a significant impact on your end result so be sure to avoid these common mistakes.

Bringing your personal life into it

Whether you’re expecting a child, buying a house or having financial troubles, it doesn’t qualify you for a raise, so don’t act like it does. When you bring your personal situation into the conversation you are letting your manager know why you need a raise as opposed to why you deserve it.

What to do instead: Share data and some recent examples of your accomplishments with your boss to help them see the value you bring to the organization. Helpful supporting facts you should include in your discussion are metrics where you exceeded expectations, completed projects, and employee and customer testimonials.

Coming off as uncertain

Not making eye contact, stumbling on your words, and throwing in the towel too soon are guaranteed ways of ensuring your new salary request gets denied.

What to do instead: Come off cool, calm and collected by taking the time to prepare for your compensation discussion. Before meeting with your boss, you should spend time thinking through alternatives and anticipating objections. Although you are asking for a certain increase amount, what’s the lowest you are willing to accept? If your boss brings up concerns with the organization’s budget or your own performance, are you equipped to help them see the situation in a different light? The more preparation you put in, the more confident you will be at meeting time. Role playing different situations with a friend is a great way to get some practice.

Being inflexible

Don’t make the mistake of shutting down or becoming argumentative if you learn you’re not going to get the amount of money you were hoping for.

What to do instead: Stay focused and ask good questions. It’s important you understand why your request got turned down and what you need to do for the pay increase to be reconsidered. Inquire about your areas to improve upon and be sure to ask if your request could be looked at again in six months. You should also consider negotiating non-salary items, such as vacation time, flex-time and tuition reimbursement.

Say you agree, even if you really disagree  

If you aren’t satisfied with the conversation you had with your manager, it will eventually show in your work and demeanor so don’t make the mistake of saying you are okay with something when you really aren’t.

What to do instead: Speak up and express your concerns. Don’t bring your emotions into the discussion, and instead, bring in more facts about how you are specifically contributing to the organization’s goals. Now’s also a good time to mention any market value statistics you have come across.

Getting everything out on the table will allow you and your boss to reach a mutual understanding. Also, don’t be afraid to ask your boss for some time to think through the offer and performance discussion. This will allow you to collect your thoughts and articulate yourself in an honest, organized and professional manner when you meet again.

Danielle Clark is a human resources manager with more than 10 years of HR and customer service experience in healthcare and retail organizations. Her work with Fortune 500 companies, in addition to a diverse professional and academic background, has trained Clark to be results-driven, people-focused and a thought-provoking leader. Her goal is to educate and inspire professionals to change their way of thinking. She is also an adjunct professor, active community volunteer, wife, mother and passionate lifelong learner.

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