Eight Salary Negotiation Phrases to Avoid

Salary negotiation is a necessary evil when fielding new job offers (or as a condition for staying with your current job). Too often, candidates are just so excited to receive an offer they do not advocate for higher pay—which usually means there’s money left on the table. On the other hand, you don’t want to over negotiate yourself out of an offer. To avoid this conundrum, here are some words and phrases you will definitely want to leave at home during salary negotiations.

Eight Salary negotiations to avoid

1. “My ideal salary is…”

This is not information your potential employers need to know. As soon as you tell them what you want, you can pretty much guarantee you will not get a penny more—even if they were willing to go higher. Your goal salary is a number that needs to stay with you.

2. “I think I deserve…”

The word “think” is a passive word that indicates (by definition) that you are not sure of something. Potential employers are likely to pounce on that lack of confidence. For an easy fix, remove the word from your negotiations to instantly sound more authoritative.

3. “Hoping”

Are you seeing a pattern here? Using passive or aspirational words or phrases (“I was hoping for…”) will set you up for failure by making it seem like you never really expected what you asked for. Instead, talk confidently about how much value you can bring to the company—and leave “hoping” out of it.

4. “I’m going to have to go with someone else…”

While it’s great that you have other offers on the table, CNBC points out that threatening to walk away entirely is a risky move. Instead, tell the company you have received other offers but be sure to emphasize you would like to make it work with this company most of all.

5. “I hate to ask…”

Never apologize for asking for more when discussing salary. Instead, go into the negotiation truly believing you deserve that money as compensation for all you do or can do for the company. Your potential employer is not doing you a favor by hiring you—you are earning everything you get.

6. “Want”

Say it with me again: You are earning everything you get. In other words, “wanting” does not have anything to do with it. It is all about deserving it since you are or will be a valuable contributor to the company. Focus on what the company needs and how you can provide that instead of what you want—which, frankly, is not going to be that important to the company as a whole.

7. “More”

Fast Company points out that this word may seem necessary to use in order to get…well, more money. However, it’s too general to do you any good. Want more money? How much more? Want more vacation days? How many more? Get as specific as possible in order to avoid confusion or misunderstood expectations.

8. “Thanks, anyway.”

So, what do you do if negotiations are not exactly going as planned? Try not to consider a disagreement the end of a deal, but instead view it as the beginning of negotiations. As an alternative, CNBC suggests saying, “When can we pick up this conversation again?”—and then not letting the matter drop without an answer. If you hear a generic “Later,” ask “When?” The more specific you can get, the less surprises will be in store and the more you can properly prepare.

The truth is, no one likes to discuss salary. But no one is going to advocate for you if you do not advocate for yourself. Practice at home (aloud!) in order to build your own confidence in negotiating for what you want—and what you deserve.


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