When you’ve landed a job you’ve been wanting, it can be difficult to be discerning during negotiations.
But this is still an important last step before you accept an offer. If you don’t come prepared to negotiate, you might discover that the offer is lower than you expected, and you don’t know what to ask for.
Or perhaps the company is unwilling to give you the benefits and flexibility you’ve come to expect, and you aren’t ready to ask them for the conditions you desire.
Certainly, negotiating can be both mysterious and stressful for candidates, so they don’t give it the attention it deserves.
Here, we’ll discuss common mistakes during negotiations so you can avoid them.
You let the company know what you’d accept too early in the process.
You could inadvertently be setting yourself up for failure early in the interview process with one wrong move: telling the hiring manager how much you expect to earn.
At some point in the interview process, you’re likely going to be asked how much you expect to make in the position or about how much you earned in your previous roles. Directly answering these types of questions boxes you in when it comes to negotiating later on.
“The earlier you give up [your salary history and expectations], the less room – if any – you’ll have for negotiating a better offer when the time arrives. Always try to remain as noncommittal as possible when asked about your salary requirements too early in the interview process,” said Randall S. Hansen, Ph.D.
You accept the company’s offer without negotiating at all.
Some executives may dislike negotiations so much they avoid them altogether.
This is common, as only 39 percent of recent job seekers negotiated for their salaries at all before accepting a company’s offer. Men were more likely than women to negotiate.
By the time a company chooses you for a job, however, don’t be afraid your offer will be rescinded. Glassdoor says that on average more professionals are losing out on around $7,500 each year, or 13.3% of their salary. In other words, companies might have been willing to pay them more money, but because of their unwillingness to negotiate, they missed out.
At the very least, ask your potential employer to pay you more if that’s what you think you’re owed; they aren’t going to take your job offer off of the table if you do!
You don’t prepare beforehand.
One of the reasons negotiations can stress out executives is if they feel like they don’t know how much they should be paid.
They may even accept a company’s original offer right away if they don’t know how much they could be earning.
Entering the negotiation blind certainly isn’t the right tactic. Instead, you need to research to determine how much professionals with your years of experience and similar background are earning in your area. You can even bring proof of what you’ve found to the negotiation, either as a virtual presentation or a physical document.
“It’s wise not just to understand your perspective but to wisely think through the other sides and prepare arguments/rebuttals that would lead to the desired resolution. When you only have supporting arguments from your point-of-view, you have not completely analyzed the situation and enter the conversation at a disadvantage,” chief brand officer for EHE Health Joy Altimare told Ladders.
You focus just on the salary you want.
Another mistake executives make is focusing only on the salary figure during the negotiation.
Sometimes, companies can’t offer you more than a certain amount of money, but they would be willing to offer you other perks that could make working there more appealing. Or maybe they’ve already met your salary requirements, but you’re unhappy about other conditions of employment.
For instance, maybe you want to work off hours or work from home several days a week. Or maybe you could ask for stock options or vacation time if the salary they’re offering isn’t up to par.
“It makes good sense to make a list ahead of receiving a possible job offer outlining the negotiable items that are most important to you so that you can increase the odds you get them. Negotiating a job offer will help you to feel more comfortable on the job. If you don’t ask for what you want, you’re guaranteed not to get it. If you do, you just might,” said career and interview coach Cheryl Lynch Simpson.
You behave badly during negotiations rather than thinking of the process as a collaboration.
If you enter a negotiation with the belief that the company is trying to undermine you, then you’re not going to be able to reach the goal of an effective negotiation: a mutually-beneficial agreement.
The company wants you to accept their job offer. So, acting aggressively or antagonistically won’t encourage the hiring manager to create solutions that work for both of you.
“[T]here is always an underlying fear in our minds of being taken advantage of or putting up with unreasonable demands. However, while negotiating, one must channel this fear in a direction that helps create a win-win situation for both the employer and job-seeker,” suggested Career Higher.
Avoiding Mistakes During Negotiations
Negotiations between executives and their potential employers can be stressful, which is why so many people avoid them altogether!
However, if you don’t take these negotiations seriously, you’ll likely end up accepting less than you’re worth, which, in turn, can set a negative course for your career.
Our best advice for avoiding mistakes during negotiations is to prepare beforehand, consider factors beyond salary, and recognize your potential employer wants to give you what you want. Our guide, “Negotiating a Job Offer,” offers more advice for getting the most out of this ever-important last step of the hiring process.