Five Mistakes That Can Derail Your Salary Negotiations


DICETV: Doesn’t it feel good to win, especially against worthy opponents? You’ve won the game and gotten the job offer, now it’s time to cash in your chips and negotiate compensation. Here are five mistakes that can derail your salary negotiations.

I’m Cat Miller and this is Dice TV.

When negotiating compensation, don’t undo all the hard work you’ve put in.

First, don’t wing it. Research the market to determine an appropriate package for someone with your technical skills and experience. That will give you the confidence to turn down a lowball offer, if you get one. Try to avoid going first. There’s no turning back if you make a low offer and they pounce on it, or if they cut off negotiations because your salary request is over-the-top.

Great negotiators consciously concede some issues in order to win others. So establish your goals and calculate a series of fall-back positions. This will force you to consider multiple scenarios and recognize a reasonable deal during the negotiating session. For example, if you crave work-life balance and you’d like to telecommute, calculate the resulting transportation savings in advance so you can agree to accept a lower salary.

Next, share the reasons and relevant facts that  justify your demands. That way the other party is more likely to consider your request or offer a compromise — assuming they accept your rationale. Make sure your presentation creates value for them, otherwise your pitch will fall on deaf ears.

Never talk price until you’ve built an emotional connection and the manager is dying to hire you. You want to be in a place where neither of you wants to walk away. You’ll be screened out if you show your cards too early, because you haven’t had a chance to build a rapport with the hiring manager, or establish your value.

Finally, don’t stand on principle or let your ego get in the way. Stay calm and keep the talks on track until you achieve your objective or receive a reasonable offer. Continuing to push may put the entire deal at risk.

Employers have the upper hand. Insisting on equality can shut down the talks without producing a deal. When each side achieves their primary goal both feel like the winner. I’m Cat Miller, this has been Dice TV, and we now return you to your regular desktop.

7 Responses to “Five Mistakes That Can Derail Your Salary Negotiations”

  1. I see this site needs a age and ignorance filter like others. Evaluating what you are worth is the hardest part of job hunting once you past entry level and get some experience. Most companies know what they are willing to pay for a school grad with no experience. Figuring out the added value of your years of experience is difficult.. especially in the current job market where employers know demand far exceeds supply. If you short change yourself it took years to catch up without changing employers. Start high and be prepared to justify the salary you are asking for referring to specific experience.

    There point is ‘Ben’ is that YOU need to do the work and self evaluation before the interview, It’s not easy with the proliferation of sites ‘How to answer questions in an interview on (fill in the software name)’. The rampant misrepresentation of skills hurts everybody when HR’s now ask you to attest and swear that your resume is truthful. Too many kids think ‘ace the interview and figure how to do the job later’. It just means ALL of us are considered suspect. If you get caught in an experience lie.. it’s never worth it.

  2. Carlos Romero

    Here I was thinking let me read this and see what insightful information it might contain. I was absolutely surprised by the lack of useful information. If you got paid for this you should refund them their money as this was utterly useless and piss poor.

    Two words: Qué estupidez

  3. Clevelander

    This might be helpful for new-comers but not for experienced workers or anybody in the consulting business. I never quote a desired salary. when I answer a posting, I tell them that they need to specify the salary-range for the position when they respond. Any company not willing to state a range up front is resume / salary collecting to see how desperate are the respondents so the company can low-ball. Low-bids get a “thanks, but not even worth further negotiations”. Fair offers show a willingness to pay for what they will be getting. Sometimes, you get a really good offer. Remember, if they want a 2-bit …. then go to the corner and rent an H1B with a falsified resume and no language skills.

  4. I don’t low ball myself and as far as I’m concerned telecommuting isn’t a transportation cost savings, I have a computer and internet that needs to be paid for. Chances are the client has no idea of what the work involves and you settling is gonna cost you. Whatever they offer is far below what they are outsourcing it for. They are making a profit, so should a consultant, the goal is making money not breaking even. They have 3-6 months of work for you, make your money, because they will look to automate and save on labor when they cut jobs later when the project is finished. That is worth more than the hourly rate and they won’t give you any of that money, that’s a director’s bonus. You’re doing the work, supporting the client’s customers, get paid accordingly. Their business contracts (revenues) are what it’s worth to produce the results, they need to pay the consultant. Then there’s the short term aspect of the deal, I don’t know of anyone that will lease or rent me something for less than it costs.

  5. It drives me insane when job postings don’t list even an expected range. Some are completely bogus, they will not pay 100,000 for someone with three decades of experience if their budget is in the 50-75K range. Equally insane making are job postings that want a load of experience and responsibility and do list an outrageously low salary. Employers, especially small ones, need to know what the reasonable salary range is and post at least that or at the very least their starting point.

  6. I agree with, and thank all, for the excellent and accurate comments. Non-professionals muddy the waters with ads that are sourced from Google.

    Sumner, a general diatribe is not useful in the current environment and in my viewpoint is not relevant to the weak “HR” article. To be effective a hiring company needs to define precisely their realistic requirements. We simply respond.

    • BTW.. I was replying to a comment.. that has since been deleted.. from a ‘Ben Dover’.. no offense intended to anyone else. I can’t tell the origin of other responders but NYS IT is being flooded with H1B contractors in both the public and private sector. The affect over the last decade has been on of lowering initial salaries across the board. The consulting firm knows the max rate that the state will pay, they no the margin they want on every contractor so they adopt a take it or leave it position. Being an independent is a little dicey since the larger companies can afford to let the yearly State Budget process run its course while waiting to get paid. The private sector is following the lead and also reducing initial offers. Unfortunately its a combination of factors, including H1B contractors and falsified resumes. Companies are leery about hiring self proclaimed top-of their-field ‘walk-on-water’ guys who come in the door and than ask for a user manual for a software their supposed to be expert in… ..