Salary negotiation myths: Will you lose the job offer if you ask for more money?

February 6, 2024

Hand stacking piles of coins creating a ladder that simulates a career path

How to get the best out of a salary negotiation

When it comes to salary negotiation, many people struggle. And one of the main questions asked by job seekers is: 

Can I lose the offer if I ask for more money?

This is a real concern that candidates go through. In fact, a survey showed that 48% of candidates are always apprehensive when it comes to salary negotiation, and 44% wouldn't even bring that subject up.

Candidates hesitate to ask for more, fearing it will cost them the offer. But can negotiation really become a problem? Let's debunk the common myths surrounding salary negotiation and find out the truth behind them.

Remember that salary negotiation is an essential part of the interview process. Therefore, you’re in the right to try to negotiate and pursue the best for your career.

However, many candidates are hesitant to negotiate a fair salary, fearing that it may jeopardise their chances of getting hired. This is a common and often unsettling dilemma faced by many candidates. 

Whether you're a fresh graduate eager to enter the workforce, or a seasoned professional seeking a new challenge, the prospect of negotiating your worth in monetary terms can be daunting. The fear of overstepping a boundary, seeming ungrateful, or even risking the offer itself is real. But should it stop you from advocating for what you deserve?

Understanding the reality of salary negotiation is crucial for job seekers who want to secure the best possible compensation package. In this article, we will uncover the truth behind the myths and explore why negotiating your salary is not only acceptable but also necessary in today's competitive job market.

Here is a breakdown of the sections covered:

When salary negotiation can backfire

Knowing when to step forward, when to stand your ground and when to pause is crucial in every negotiation. In salary and job offer negotiation, it is no different. Negotiating your salary is commonly regarded as a sign of professional savvy, yet there are occasions when this approach could potentially backfire, risking the loss of your job offer.

Gaining a thorough understanding of your industry's landscape and the specific culture of the company you are interested in joining is absolutely crucial. It goes beyond simply fitting into the company's culture; it also involves having a clear idea of what you can expect regarding salary, benefits, perks, and overall compensation.

Researching these aspects will not only help you negotiate more effectively but also enable you to set realistic goals and aspirations for your future role. So, take the time to delve into the company's background and offerings before making any decisions.

Trying to negotiate blindly can lead to more challenges ahead and potentially result in a lower salary offer. There are several reputable platforms available for conducting research, such as Glassdoor, Payscale, Salary Expert, Indeed, and even LinkedIn.

These resources can provide valuable insights into salary ranges and compensation packages, helping you negotiate more effectively and set realistic goals for your future role.

Additionally, it is important to consider that high-risk situations frequently occur when job offers are made in extremely competitive industries with a wide pool of candidates for employers to choose from.

In such cases, insisting on a higher salary might lead employers to consider other applicants who are more flexible in their demands. Similarly, during economic downturns, companies might be operating on tight budgets, making salary negotiations less fruitful and potentially detrimental to your prospects.

We believe in making the most out of a negotiation but before you dive in, read on for a few valuable tips on how to master the art of salary negotiation.

The psychology behind the fear: Should I negotiate a salary offer?

Road sign that reads Salary Increase just aheadSource: Canva

Negotiating a salary can conjure up a whirlwind of emotions and thoughts, often rooted deep in our psyche. This hesitation, commonly experienced by job seekers, extends beyond mere financial figures. People tend to overthink possibilities and possible outcomes without having the full extent of the situation. It's a complex interplay of psychological factors, each contributing to the overall apprehension surrounding this conversation. Here’s a few of them:

Fear of rejection: Will I be turned away?

At the heart of negotiation, reluctance is the fear of rejection. We can all suffer from it. This primal fear can trigger a defensive response: don’t even begin negotiating to avoid potential denial. It is suggested that such fear is often linked to a deeper concern about one’s value being denied, rather than just the salary figure or compensation packages involved.

Imposter syndrome: Am I really worth it?

Imposter Syndrome, a phenomenon where individuals doubt their accomplishments and fear being exposed as a 'fraud,' can play a significant role in salary negotiations. This self-doubt makes it challenging to assertively ask for what one deserves, because people don’t actually believe in themselves nor can put a price on their own value, leading to accepting offers without any discussion.

The comfort of conformity: Won’t it be better if I just accept it?

Societal norms and cultural influences significantly impact our negotiation behaviour. In many cultures, discussing money is taboo, and this cultural imprint can make the act of salary negotiation feel like a breach of etiquette. Additionally, some individuals might fear being perceived as aggressive, demanding or even ungrateful, which adds up to their reluctance.

The lack of knowledge: What can really happen if I want a better offer?

A lack of understanding of the negotiation process can lead to anxiety. This is particularly true for early-career professionals. Without knowing what is fair, how to approach negotiation or what are the steps of negotiating with the hiring manager, many default to accepting whatever is offered. All that fearing that the negotiation may be postponed, put on hold or even terminated.

How to negotiate a higher salary after receiving a job offer

Two people talk over a contract with a calculator and some money on the tableSource: Canva

Receiving a job offer is a special moment, but it's also the beginning of a critical conversation about your worth and future. The negotiation phase that follows the job offer is not just about the salary; it's about establishing your value in the new role and setting the tone for your career trajectory within the company. Here's a list of salary negotiation tips on what to do and what to don’t do while approaching this delicate yet crucial stage.

What to do when negotiating a job offer

Prepare yourself to enter into a negotiation

Before embarking on your job search, equip yourself with knowledge and understanding. Familiarise yourself with industry norms, determine the market value of your role, and have a firm grasp on what you desire and why you deserve it.

Bear in mind that each company has its unique offerings, including base salary pay, benefits schemes, and additional perks. Take the time to research and explore these aspects so that you can negotiate with a clear understanding of what they can provide based on your level of experience.

By being informed, you will be better equipped to negotiate effectively and secure a favorable compensation package. If you aim too high and out of the salary range, you might jeopardise the whole negotiation.

Express enthusiasm when being interviewed

Start the conversation by expressing your excitement about the role and the company. This sets a positive tone for the conversation to be a successful salary negotiation and shows that your salary request is part of a broader commitment to the position.

Demonstrating genuine enthusiasm for the position can have a significant impact. Put yourself in the hiring manager's shoes: would you prefer to work with someone highly interested and excited during the interview or someone only interested in how much money they can make?

Expressing genuine interest can make a lasting impression and set a positive tone for the negotiation process.

Be clear and specific about your salary expectations

When discussing figures, it is essential to be transparent and engage in an open conversation regarding your salary expectations.

Utilize the knowledge you have gained from your research to support and justify your salary request. Take this opportunity to confidently communicate your expectations and inform the company about what you are seeking.

If you hesitate or refrain from stating the salary you expect for any reason, it can have long-term consequences and hinder your progress in the position.

Consider the entire package of compensation

Salary is just one part of your compensation. Don't forget to negotiate additional benefits like vacation time, remote work options, professional development opportunities, bonuses and equity.

All of these factors contribute to the overall value of your compensation package and should not be overlooked or undervalued. They play an integral role in your overall satisfaction and success in the role and should be given the importance they deserve.

What not to do when negotiating a job offer

Don't focus solely on salary

While it is important to consider salary in job negotiations, it is equally crucial to recognise the value of other elements in the job offer. Engaging in conversations solely focused on money can make you appear narrow-minded and short-sighted.

Take the time to understand everything the role entails. This includes career advancement prospects and opportunities for leadership. These factors often hold value that goes beyond monetary compensation and can contribute to a deeply satisfying work experience.

It is also essential to show your appreciation for the role and the company, not just the paycheck. Express why you are attracted to the business and its opportunity, emphasising how your contributions can lead to mutual success.

Avoid ultimatums

Avoid resorting to ultimatums, even if you feel prepared to walk away. The use of ultimatums can come across as arrogant or inflexible, which can sour the negotiation process and potentially jeopardise your chances of securing the position.

Furthermore, it could have negative repercussions on your reputation in the job market. Remember that there are other potential employers out there, so it's important to strive to find common ground during the negotiation process.

Don't accept the offer immediately

We understand that this can be a challenging decision for individuals who tend to feel anxious. However, when you receive a job offer, even if it exceeds your expectations and is highly advantageous, it is perfectly acceptable to request some time to fully consider it.

Taking this approach allows you to evaluate all aspects more accurately and confidently while also giving you the opportunity to discuss the offer with your current employer.

Avoid getting personal

Keep the salary negotiation process professional and focused on your qualifications and the value you bring. Your personal financial needs, expenses, family problems, debts and other issues should not be brought up at this time.

The basis for discussing the values ​​of your total compensation is not what you need but rather what you bring to the business. Your value dictates the whole process!

Advancing your career with Airswift

Understanding the delicate balance of salary negotiation is a crucial skill in today’s professional landscape. It involves a keen awareness of your career objectives, a thoughtful assessment of your current and prospective roles, and the finesse to negotiate successfully. By integrating the insights and strategies outlined in this blog, you are better positioned to navigate these discussions in a way that aligns with your long-term career goals.

As you consider your next career move, whether it’s negotiating a better salary in your current role or venturing into new opportunities, remember that this journey is not one you have to undertake alone. From exploring new roles in your field to seeking advice on salary discussions, we offer a range of resources and expertise to help you at every step. Our platform is not just a gateway to new job opportunities; it's a resource for empowering your career decisions, including mastering the art of salary negotiation.

We invite you to explore our latest job listings, insightful articles, and resources specifically designed to support your professional growth and negotiation skills.


This post was written by: Tomás Battaglia, Content Marketing Coordinator