How to Avoid Salary Negotiation Landmines

If you:

  • Have a job offer?
  • Are in the process of interviewing or negotiating a job offer,
  • Are applying for a promotion or negotiating a pay increase,
  • Feel undervalued and want to demonstrate your value,

Then knowing salary negotiation tactics and avoiding salary negotiation landmines, are key to obtaining the job offer you seek and deserve. This article focuses on salary negotiation techniques you want to avoid.

Salary negotiation Mistake Number 1 Jpeg

Salary Negotiation Mistake #1

Using Self-Defeating Language


Salary negotiations often fail because job seekers don’t approach the negotiation with confidence. Saying things like:

  • “I’m not sure if this is within your budget, but…”
  • “I don’t know if you would perhaps consider…”
  • “I hate to have to ask for this, but…”

… is a first-class ticket to negotiation failure. When you use self-defeating language you put yourself in a position of weakness making it easy for the hiring manager to say no.  

Salary Negotiation Mistake Number 2

Salary Negotiation Mistake #2

Accepting the First Offer


Employers are more experienced at salary negotiations. They won’t start with their best offer because it gives them no room for negotiation. If you accept an employer’s first salary offer then you are selling yourself short.  

Salary Negotiation Mistake Number 3

Salary Negotiation Mistake #3

Talking Too Much


Any good salesperson will tell you that to successfully close a deal you need to know when to speak and when to listen. A common mistake is thinking that when you are speaking in a negotiation that you are in control and that you are getting your point across. But talk too much and you will talk yourself right out of the deal!

Salary Negotiation Mistake Number 4

Salary Negotiation Mistake #4

Being Inflexible


You may believe you’re worth the price you’re asking but if the hiring manager is unable to meet your request you could jeopardize the job. Adopting an unwavering stance when you go into a salary negotiation makes it very difficult to reach a mutually agreeable and beneficial agreement.

Salary negotiation Mistake Number 5

Salary Negotiation Mistake #5

Starting With the Offer You want


Starting a salary negotiation with the offer you want gives the hiring manager the advantage of negotiating you down. If you don’t overstate your needs you don’t give yourself any room to negotiate.

Salary negotiation Mistake Number 6

Salary Negotiation Mistake #6

Starting Salary negotiations Too Early


So many job seekers make the mistake of talking about salary and benefits too early in the recruitment process. When you do this you create the perception that your focus is on money and not the job.  

Salary Negotiation Mistake Number 7

Salary Negotiation Mistake #7

Focusing on Needs and Not Value


Many people make the mistake of trying to convince employers that they should receive the salary they request to accommodate their needs. While some employers may be sympathetic to your needs ultimately they are more interested in the value you will bring to the organization. 

Salary Negotiation Mistake Number 8

Salary Negotiation Mistake #8

Not Getting the Final Offer in Writing 


If the hiring manager refuses to give you the final salary offer in writing, or finds this an inconvenience in any way, see this as a MAJOR red flag. Accepting a verbal salary offer is a big interviewing mistake. If there are any discrepancies once you start the job you have no record of what was agreed and no way of rectifying the matter. A written offer also ensures that there have been no misunderstandings or miscommunications about the offer.


Successful salary negotiation is a great way to increase your earnings and wealth. But getting salary negotiation wrong can have serious consequences – like losing your job! Knowing how to negotiate your way to a successful end result requires preparation and strategy. If you’re new to job-hunting and salary negotiation then the Manager Foundation Guide to Negotiating Your Salary will show you a proven salary negotiation technique to get the salary you want with an offer they can’t refuse!

One of the best ways to prepare is by practicing.  Use a Professional Interview Coach who can prep you by role-playing an entire interview including the salary negotiation phase. This process gives you the confidence to talk money with a potential employer without being afraid you are getting it “wrong”.


Do you have any comments, questions or tips for a successful salary negotiation? Help the rest of us out by sharing in the comments below.


This is part of the Interview Success Series. This series covers how job seekers can get the job they want. This series contains inside information from experienced recruiters.


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