How to Bounce Back from a Salary Negotiation Gone Wrong

a man looks frustrated across from an interviewer

Whether the conversations take place with current employers or potential ones, salary negotiation can be a difficult process to navigate. While some employees go in with expectations that aren’t met, others discover after the negotiations have concluded that they should have asked for more. It may seem like there is little room for further discussion after the negotiation conversation has come to a close and a contract has been signed. However, there are particular instances in which hiring managers may consider attempts to renegotiate (if handled properly) valid.

Pay Inequality

Though compensation isn’t something that coworkers typically discuss, pay inequality is certainly an issue in today’s workplace. If an employee discovers that he/she is being paid significantly less than a coworker for performing the same job duties, it is perfectly acceptable to approach management so long as it is done in a mature, professional manner. It is best to ask for clarification before jumping to any conclusions, but if there is no logical explanation for the discrepancy, it is time to renegotiate.

Cost of Living Differentials

Relocation requires a great deal of time and resources. Salaries are often negotiated based on the fact that cost of living can vary significantly from city to city. It is important to do your homework and take into account all of the costs associated with moving, including living cost differentials. That being said, some employees don’t discover the true difference in cost of living until after they’ve accepted a position and moved to a new place. If this is the case, employees should present their employer with a financial report to substantiate a request for a pay increase.

If neither of the above applies to you, but you feel that you are entitled to a pay increase, here are some pointers that will help when it comes time for a salary negotiation:

Study and Practice

A lack of preparation was likely the reason you were unhappy with the initial salary negotiation. Know what you’re asking for, whether it’s a pay increase or a better benefits package, and be prepared to discuss hard numbers. Do enough research to be knowledgeable on things like the average salary for your position and geographical location.

Sell Yourself

While presenting numbers is helpful, it is more important to provide examples of the value you’ve added to your organization since taking on your new role. You’ve likely taken on a great deal of new responsibilities since you started, so be sure to describe projects you’ve worked on and how you’ve contributed to the company’s success.

Reiterate Commitment to the Position

It can be easy to get so caught up in negotiations that you forget to communicate your positive feelings about the work you’re doing. Take time to explain what you like about your job, and express gratitude for the opportunity. Communicating a strong sense of loyalty to your team and the company at large will show your employer that it isn’t all about the money. 

Take Your Time in Decision Making

Salary negotiation is a process, and renegotiation can be even more difficult. It often takes more than one conversation to reach an agreement that works for both parties. Taking time to work through all the details before making any final decisions will make for a much smoother process the second time around.

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