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5 Things to Avoid When Negotiating Wages

Negotiating a salary can be an awkward situation. There seems to be a taboo around discussing personal financial matters, especially amongst British people. We are not good at haggling – it is just not in our nature.

Negotiating a wage requires nerves, bottle and a little bit of cheek. These are qualities that the top sales people tend to have. For us mere mortals, haggling needs to be learned, it is not innate. How can we train ourselves to haggle? Here Tom WIlliams from RTI Made Easy explains exactly what not to do...

  1. Do Not Use Negative Language

Never be defeatist, phrases such as; “I don’t know if you can stretch to...”, “I’m not sure if you’d be willing to...” and “I’m sorry to ask, but...” are out of the question.

Mika Brzezinski, American journalist, TV personality and author of ‘Knowing Your Value: Women, Money and Getting What You’re Worth’ believes that this sort of language puts you in a weak position when negotiating and makes it easy for the reply to be ’no’.

  1. Do Not Over-talk

Charles de Gaulle once said: “silence is the ultimate weapon of power”. Silence in a negotiation can make you employer uncomfortable and you can use it to your advantage.

  1. Never Accept Their First Offer

Often a company will not open with their best offer and there is room to manoeuvre, so do not be afraid to negotiate. You are not being cheeky, you are looking out for yourself and they are looking out for themselves by opening with a lower offer than what they can afford.

  1. Never Start with Your Ideal Salary

Henry Kissinger once said: “Effectiveness at the bargaining table depends on your ability to overstate your initial demands”.

Ask for more than you expect or want, you might be pleasantly surprised! If not you will, worst case scenario, get what you originally wanted. Not only does doing this raise your personal value but it also makes them think they have got a bargain if you settle for less than you first stated.

  1. Do Not Negotiate Over the Telephone

Research shows 60-93% of communication is non-verbal, which means it is transmitted through body language. It is easy for the employer to say ‘no’ over the phone because they can avoid the awkward situation more easily, and the pressure that face to face negotiation brings are eliminated.

The telephone is an unnatural way of communicating because it takes the emotion out of the interaction. Handshakes, smiles, jokes and physical cues are advantageous in negotiation.

Now we have learned what not to do, what exactly should you do when negotiating a salary? A few of the main things to consider are:

  • Be sure to show experience and know how
  • Show excitement about the job and the company.
  • Know your worth and know your minimum expected salary
  • Make sure that you sell yourself as a valuable asset to them and be prepared for alternative options to cash, such as shares or a 4-day working week.

Have you ever entered into a salary negotiation? What tactics did you use? Get involved in the conversation below.

Written by Tom Williams, RTI Made Easy – the Real Time Information specialists based in Bolton. We aim to help businesses transition to using the RTI system introduced by HMRC, to improve the operation of PAYE, as painless as possible.