1. Settling/Not Negotiating. Probably the biggest mistake you can make is simply deciding to settle and accept whatever offer you receive. Settling for a lower salary than you are worth will be a financial disaster — you’ll earn less, receive smaller raises (because most raises are based as a percentage of your salary), and have a smaller pension (since pension contributions are usually a percentage of your salary).
2. Revealing How Much You Would Accept. Information is the key to any kind of negotiation and a common mistake job-seekers make is telling the employer too early in a salary negotiation what you’ll accept. The earlier you give up this kind of information, the less room – if any – you’ll have for negotiating a better offer when the time arrives. So wait as long as possible before discussing a salary.
3. Focusing on Need/Greed Rather Than Value. A very common salary negotiation error is focusing on what you feel you need or deserve rather than on your value and the value you bring to the prospective employer. Remember, employers don’t care that your salary won’t cover your mortgage or student loan payments or even your living expenses. Don’t ever tell the employer that you need a certain salary. Always negotiate on the needs of the employer, not your own needs.
4. Weak Research or Negotiation Preparation As a job seeker you can determine your market value and what a prospective employer negotiation policies are by researching a variety of salary resources available online — from salary.com and salaryexpert.com to professional associations.
5. Declining Job Offer Too Quickly. Many job-seekers reject job offers very quickly when the employer offers a salary much lower than expected, it’s still best to ask for time to consider it before rejecting it outright. However, if the money is good — but just not as good as you would like — take a closer look at the benefits. A big mistake is declining a job offer too quickly without looking at the entire compensation package. Such as health insurance or a good retirement plan. Remember, too, that you should be able to negotiate one or two elements of the offer to make it even stronger.
6. Taking Salary Negotiations Personally. Whatever you do in this process, always stay professional in handling the negotiations. If the employer has made you an offer — then you are their choice, the finalist for the position — so even if negotiations go nowhere, or worse, keep in mind that you did receive an offer, even if it is not what you expected or deserved. And if negotiations break down between you and the employer, move on graciously, thanking the employer again for the opportunity — because you never want to burn any bridges.
When negotiating your salary do some research and keep these thoughts in mind.
- Your career path. Regardless of what you’ve been paid in the past, spend some time reviewing industry reports of salary ranges for people following your career path — and especially those in the position you are seeking.
- The industry of the employer. Salaries can range based on the industry of the employer. For example, companies in a service industry such as tourism often pay less than companies in a manufacturing industry such as technology.
- The geographic location. The cost of living varies dramatically in different parts of the country. For example, it costs much more to live in San Francisco than it does in Cleveland.
- The demand for job-seekers. If there is a glut of job-seekers with essentially the same skills and experience that you have, you can expect salaries to be lower than if similar job-seekers are in short supply.
- Compensation beyond salary. It’s often easier said than done, but you should sometimes look beyond the salary number and examine the total compensation package. It’s possible the better job offer is not the one with the highest salary.
So if you follow the points that I made and always keep this thought in mind, Do not negotiate on salary alone, negotiate on the whole compensation package.