5 things you should never say while trying to negotiate a pay rise

Don’t reveal personal financial challenges or the lowest amount you would be willing to accept, experts say 

Loulla-Mae Eleftheriou-Smith
Wednesday 16 December 2015 14:33
Job interviews can be very nervous affairs, but if you prep yourself properly you should have all the ammunition to take them on
Job interviews can be very nervous affairs, but if you prep yourself properly you should have all the ammunition to take them on

Negotiating a pay rise can be a tough conversation to have with a superior, but there are some things that should never be said, such as setting the lowest bar for a salary increase or giving a boss an ultimatum, experts warn.

Industry experts at Quora revealed the dos and don’ts for successful salary negotiations:

1. Don’t state a ‘minimum’ salary

Keith Andrew, a growth hacker and digital marketer, said he has interviewed hundreds of people over the years, and the worst mistake people make is to offer up too much information too early into negotiations.

“Once you provide a quick ‘bare minimum’ requirement the floor is set for how low the company can go. You should qualify yourself if you feel like you are out of their price range, but only do so when they ask.”

2. Never share your age, financial challenges or health issues

Andrew says age is “your business and nobody else’s” and sharing it “can hinder your ability to get a higher salary”. In terms of a personal financial situation, he says while it may feel tempting to share how much money you “need” to live off, this is “not relevant to the situation”. And as for bringing expensive health issues or personal financial challenges into negotiations – don’t. “This is not the place for a pity party,” he says.

3. Don’t make threats

Brian J Hu says one of the worst mistakes made during salary negotiations is make an ultimatum or a threat. “Don’t say, ‘If I don’t get X, I will quit!’

“This forces the situation into one possible good outcome only, rather than leaving room for yourself to negotiate if the other party doesn’t see eye to eye.”

4. Know your market worth

Shane Dempsey, IT consultant and professional commercial and workplace mediator, says not knowing the salary range for your job or similar jobs in the industry is a big no-no.

“If you ask for too low a salary you look like you don't value yourself and have self-esteem issues. If you ask for way too high then you look like you value yourself too much and won't be able to fit into a team.

“Both of these are so problematic that they could prompt a rethink of whether to hire you, even if you've impressed in all other respects. Do your research.”

5. Don’t compare apples with oranges

Andrew says that bringing in other people, their roles and salary into your negotiations will not help you get the pay rise you’re after – different people are valued for different skills.

“Bringing in another person into your salary negotiations shows immaturity. This is about your value and yours alone,” he says.

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