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Salary negotiation, like other things in life, is not a foolproof process. Salary negotiation requires a combination of research, realistic self-assessment, and good communication skills. But even if you do everything flawlessly, you still might fail to negotiate a higher salary.
Here, PayScale breaks down why your salary negotiation might have failed, as well as the steps you can take now to ensure that the next time you try to negotiate your salary, it will be a success. (Read more on using new research to get a big raise.)
Why Did My Salary Negotiation Fail?
Most salary negotiations that end in failure can be traced back to a few common errors. Doing one of these things, or a combination of any of these, is a guaranteed way to ensure that your salary negotiation fails. Do any sound familiar to you?
You didn’t do your research. Did you walk into a salary negotiation situation without having done your fair share of research? By doing this, you’re cutting yourself short on a conversation that only happens a couple times a year. If you enter a salary negotiation and expect that the company in good faith will pay you what you’re worth, you are doing yourself a disservice. Be your own advocate by doing thorough salary research to better prepare for your salary negotiation.
You tried to negotiate with emotions instead of numbers. If you went into a salary negotiation and used words like “I feel” or “I think I should be paid…”, you are, again, doing yourself a disservice. Asking your employer for more money based on something you “think” or “feel” is one way to guarantee your salary negotiation will absolutely fail. Not to mention, by using those words, you’re already allowing your emotions to drive the entire salary negotiation conversation. Instead, do your own salary research ahead of time and rely on factual information, like crowd-sourced data that shows the current market rate in your location for your job title, skills, experience, and education.
You didn’t change your approach from the last time you asked. Maybe this isn’t your first rodeo. Perhaps it’s your second or third salary negotiation. Are the results the same? Are you bringing the same information to the same conversations and coming out with the same results? By tweaking the way you approach these types of conversations, you could find yourself earning a lot more money with half the effort. Not sure about the best way to approach this next time? Try one of these salary negotiation scripts.
What Do I Do After My Salary Negotiation Failed?
Salary negotiation takes practice. You can save yourself some time and misery today by taking a few crucial steps that will help you reflect on what just happened. Here’s what you have to do.
Trace your steps as soon as you can. Have you ever tried to remember a dream? The longer you wait, the harder it is to remember the fine details that make sense of everything, which is why we’re told that if we want to remember our dreams, we need to write them down. You should treat your salary negotiation the same way, especially if it failed and you want to attempt to troubleshoot where you went wrong. As soon as you’re back at your desk after your interview, write down a few notes. What went well? What didn’t? These things will help you identify areas where you need more work.
Map a career plan with your manager. If your salary negotiation didn’t work, you might be asking yourself whether it’s time to jump ship to a new gig. Don’t make any big moves without having an honest conversation with your manager about your role within the organization moving forward. Maybe what you need is a promotion. After all, more responsibility typically means more money. What kind of goals do you have to achieve to get there? Openly and honestly communicate your career goals with your manager and together come up with a timeline and metrics to help you get there.
Be prepared for failure — again. Failure is the worst. And if there is one thing you can expect in life, it’s failure. But when it comes to salary, being prepared is the best thing you can do. Accept that your salary negotiation may not work. You want to be prepared to work hard for the goals that your manager sets, in order to help you get that promotion.