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The Biggest Mistakes You Can Make When Negotiating Salary

Author: Charlotte Quaife

Published date: 2019/11

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FUN FACT: Only 29% of job seekers negotiated their salary at their current or most recent job. Of the women, this was a mere 7%. Of those few people who did negotiate, they were able to increase their salary by over 7%. If you put this into consideration over time and across a full career, it could mean the difference of tens of thousands of dollars!


Navigating the job market and transitioning your career can be stressful, time-consuming and disheartening at the absolute MINIMUM. After all that hard work, going through multiple application processes, interviewing, sneaking out of the office and taking time off, you can have a perfect run to the finish line but may fumble on the last hurdle; salary negotiation.


Watching out for these mistakes could be the deciding factor between you landing your dream job or just missing out.


1. Pricing yourself out of the market before you’ve interviewed. 

Do your research! Talk to recruiters and other industry professionals to gauge where you’re sitting and whether your expectations are realistic. If you give a salary ultimatum before you’ve even had a chance to interview and properly assess the job on offer, this is a sure-fire way to miss out on an incredible opportunity!


2. Never give your number first.

If you state a number right out of the gate that’s too high or too low, your prospective employer is going to wonder why you have an inflated sense of your market value OR why you’re not valuing yourself highly enough. To counter this, ask them what their expected salary range is. This will give you an anchor for which to benchmark yourself.


3. Don’t give a number at all. 

You can inadvertently pigeon-hole yourself with one number and negatively affect your chances against other candidates. You are much better off giving a small range (between 5k- 10k). This gives you and your prospective employer more room for a win-win outcome where your optimal salary overlaps their budget and expectations. 


4. Take your time. 

It’s OK to ask for 24 hours to think an offer over. If you’re waiting for other offers to come back the same week, you can ask for a bit more time and let them know that you “are excited about the role, but currently have a few other opportunities in the pipeline that you are exploring.” If they need an answer sooner, don’t worry – they will tell you!


5. Telling them your current salary. 

When you switch jobs, you’re trying to get paid based on the value that you bring relative to the job market, not based on your current salary. If HR ask this in an interview, I would recommend trying to deflect. E.g.  “actually, I was wondering what this position pays. Do you have a range in mind?” Unfortunately, sometimes HR can be persistent, so in order to avoid an awkward stalemate you may have to cough up, but if possible, try to avoid this one!


6. Don’t negotiate over pennies. 

If you are digging your heels in the ground about a few thousand, you may want to crunch the numbers first. For example, an extra 2k may seem like a lot but this ends up being an extra $25 per week after tax. Are those 2 beers per week worth it in exchange for giving up your dream job?  


Salary negotiation can be like a minefield, wrought with obstacles, fallacies and dead ends. Hopefully, this article has shed some light on the process, but if you’re feeling exhausted just reading this, remember; a recruiter can do all this for you! We are experts in the industry and can guide you through market trends, client expectations and we will do all the negotiating from start to finish. It is in our best interest to get you your optimal salary because our commission is proportionate to this!


Hopefully, this article has helped, and happy job hunting!




Charlotte Quaife is a Consultant in our Residential Construction team, she is extremely dedicated to placing the right candidate with her clients and is always working tirelessly to achieve this. Connect with Charlotte on LinkedIn here!