Be Careful Not to Negotiate Yourself Out of an Offer

There is a fine line between negotiating and quibbling, and it is one you definitely do not want to cross. Salary negotiations can be tricky, especially if you do not know how to navigate the tightrope effectively. So, before you find yourself about to negotiate your way out of an offer, take a look at what you may want to avoid.

Are you about to negotiate_In Article

Know when to stop 

Salary negotiation is not supposed to be a never-ending process. There is no set number of times you should counteroffer. But when it becomes clear the number has reached its limit, it is time to stop. How will you know? Because the hiring manager is no longer negotiating. They are standing firm on their last offer. If you keep throwing out new numbers and you are only hearing the same number back, you may be about to negotiate yourself right out of the door.

Do not make it personal

Making the negotiation personal is most likely going to backfire. It is not your employer’s problem you do not have enough money to put your kids through college or you just bought a new house. Trying to guilt the hiring manager into offering you a better salary is going to do two things: it is going to make you appear desperate, and it is going to make you look manipulative. Neither of these qualities is appealing, and if you push too hard, the offer might just drop off the table completely.

Read the room

If you throw out an offer or a counteroffer and the hiring manager balks, you are probably not playing in the same ballpark. If you are feeling frustration or tension in the air, your negotiation is most definitely taking a wrong turn. So, pay attention to body language, facial expressions, and the overall mood of the communication. It is not too late to turn things around as long as you notice these signals quickly and change your approach accordingly.

Know your stuff

You may have an idea of the salary you want. But is it just a random number you think would make you happy? Or is it an amount comparable to what other people are earning doing a similar job at a similar organization? No one likes homework, but in this case, you need to do it. That way, when the hiring manager offers you $10,000 less than the going rate, you can explain you did the research, and you know how much people in your position make. If you frame this in a knowledgeable, respectful way, they will be impressed. Then again, if you are snide about it, you may be entering backfire city. Choose your words carefully.

Do not oversell 

One of the biggest mistakes you can make when negotiating a salary is talking yourself up so much the employer starts to feel like they cannot afford you. There more than likely is a cap on the salary they are permitted to offer you. If you make it sound like you practically ran the whole company at your last job, but you are only applying to be an office manager at this one, you might scare your potential employer away. There is nothing wrong with highlighting your value but keep it real. 

Keep it friendly

It may seem like you are battling an opponent when negotiating your salary. But the reality is, you are both working toward the same goal—a salary that will make both of you happy. Do not go into the negotiation with the mindset that you are fighting the enemy. That will immediately put you on the offensive and the other party on the defensive.

The last thing you want is to walk out of a salary negotiation feeling like you blew it. If you want to walk out feeling confident and satisfied, do not step into any of the pitfalls that can turn a negotiation sour. Follow the dos and don’ts discussed here and you will stay on the right track.

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