The moment you’ve been waiting for is finally here.
After weeks and weeks (and maybe even months) of applying, interviewing and agonizing, you’ve finally received the job offer you’ve been silently dying for.
But unfortunately, what happens next is a mistake that too many of us are guilty of making.
We just accept.
Without any negotiation, we just accept the initial offer. Happy to, after all, have a job we can finally be excited about.
The mistake is costly.
In fact, the mistake is worth up to $500,000. According to Salary.com, an individual who doesn’t negotiate stands to miss out on more than $500,000 by the time their 60 years old.
But still many of us continue to drop the ball, especially young professionals and recent graduates.
A study by Nerd Wallet found that sixty-two percent of recent graduates didn’t negotiate their salary at a new job, even though 84% of employers said they had room to increase their original offer.
So, why do we keep leaving money on the table that should be rightfully ours?
We can blame college.
It’s true, no one prepared us for the brutal corporate world.
We can blame our parents.
They didn’t teach us how to maneuver these types of conversations.
We can blame time.
We didn’t have enough time to prepare for any type of negotiation, we didn’t even know we were going to get the job. Everything happened so fast!
We can blame ourselves.
We were too scared of losing out on something good so we just took what we assumed was the best the company had to offer.
While the blame game is fun, I would say the biggest reason we fail to negotiate is because we don’t understand the art of negotiation.
1. We See Negotiation As A Confrontational Argument
The act of negotiating makes us feel like we’re deliberating creating a hostile situation that will have everyone angry and up in arms. That is not true.
Negotiation should be viewed as conversation that will ultimately lead to a compromise. There should be no yelling, anger or disrespect involved. It’s likely that if those things are occurring, you truly haven’t grasped the value you bring to the table.
When you thoroughly understand your value, you’re able to eloquently and clearly articulate that to someone else without any unnecessary emotion involved.
2. We See Negotiation As All or Nothing
When it comes to negotiation, we think that if we ask for more, we’ll lose what we already have. That is fear-based thinking. Or, as some call fear, false evidence appearing real.
Hiring managers go through so much to determine the best candidate for the job. Just like you’ve spent hours, weeks and months finding the best position that fits your desires, hiring managers spend the same amount of time finding the best person to fit the company’s needs, desires and culture.
Why would they want to let you go just because you asked for more? They wouldn’t. Seventy-five percent of employers surveyed by NerdWallet said they were even willing to increase their initial offer by up to 10%, but the candidates didn’t ask. Why sell yourself short?
Plus, if a company is willing to withdraw their offer because you asked for your worth, they’re probably doing you a favor anyway.
3. We Don’t Realize That No Is A Part Of The Process
Rejection stings. Everyone can sympathize with that. It doesn’t feel good to be told no. Even if it’s as small as asking your best friend if she wants to go to the movies with you, no one wants to be turned down.
But in negotiations, the real conversation doesn’t begin until someone says no. No is the buzzer to begin the match. (I know, match isn’t the best word to use since it isn’t a hostile situation, but let’s just go with it.)
You must accept that you’ll be told no. You should want to be told no. If you immediately ask for 5% more of the initial offer and your hiring manager says yes without hesitation, you’ll leave the situation kicking yourself that you didn’t ask for 7% or 10% more.
Embrace the no and understand that it’s better to hear, “No” a few times than to hear “Yes,” the first time.
4. We See Negotiation As Being Greedy or Unappreciative
When I asked one my clients why he didn’t negotiate when he was offered the job on the spot, he told me he didn’t want to be seen as greedy or snobbish. He didn’t want to mess up his newfound relationship with his new boss. As crazy as that may sound, many of us feel the same way.
We’re so worried about how we’ll be perceived if we ask for more. We’re afraid that we may come off as an overachiever, a know-it-all, or worst, ungrateful. We’re too concerned that we may be giving our new company and boss a hard time by asking for what we want. But, ultimately you do yourself a disservice by not asking for your worth.
When it comes to our careers, we should aspire to have a career that we love and a salary to match. The best way to do that is to speak up before accepting a new position. Instead of fearing that we’d lose out, we should fear having to settle for less than what we know we deserve and could’ve have had if we just spoke up.
When asked if young professionals should negotiate for more, David Fletcher, the career advisor at American University told Atlantic, “They should always ask. Employers work very hard to identify a strong candidate—the last thing they are going to do is toss out a top candidate because someone wanted a few thousand dollars more. An HR person has all the leverage, up until they make that salary offer.”
So, there you have it. Stop leaving thousands of dollars on the table simply because you don’t understand the art of negotiation.