In Salary Negotiations, Avoid These 7 Mistakes

Two human figures play tug-of-war with a dollar sign

Salary negotiations are important throughout your career as an administrative professional. When you're a job candidate, you'll want to discuss compensation with a new employer before accepting an offer. If you're a recent hire, you may wish to renegotiate your pay once you've proved yourself on the job. When you get a promotion, you'll want to see your earnings increase along with your job title and duties.

In any of these salary negotiations, the slightest misstep can end in disappointment. Here are seven crucial mistakes to avoid:

1. Using unreliable research

To be successful at salary negotiations, you need to go in knowing what you're worth. But, if searching the web for salary information seems easy, think again: Simply clicking on the first link that comes up can lead you to unreliable or outdated data on what other administrative professionals are making. You need to find credible, current statistics that reflect pay rates in your own geographic region, such as those available in the OfficeTeam Salary Guide.

2. Playing games

Be honest with employers. If they ask you for a desired compensation range during salary negotiations, oblige. Don't tell them you are flexible if, in fact, you're unwilling to accept a lower offer, take a pay cut or consider alternative forms of compensation. If you're asked to share information about your previous salary, be truthful. Some companies will verify salary history with a past employer, and you don't want to be caught in a lie.

3. Taking too long

Employers won't wait around forever. If you need time to think over an offer, commit to providing a response within a reasonable amount of time. Don't string your boss or a potential employer along while you explore other options. There's nothing wrong with walking away from an administrative job after salary negotiations if you're still unsatisfied with the offer.

4. Being too rigid

Money is important, but don't disregard other forms of compensation, like extra vacation time or skills development opportunities. You must be willing to negotiate, which could mean finding a compromise between what an employer offers and what you're willing to accept.

5. Making it personal

Avoid mentioning your mortgage or other expenses as reasons you should be paid more during salary negotiations with an employer. Instead, focus on your job skills, what you can contribute to the company and your salary research.

6. Not negotiating at all

It seems odd, but it happens. Administrative professionals enter into salary negotiations intending to bargain, only to settle for the first offer that's thrown their way. This may be the result of inexperience or discomfort with the process. Settling for less than you're worth can set you back financially and eat away at you over time.

7. Not working with a staffing firm

One of the smartest moves you can make to ensure a strong showing during salary negotiations is to work with a specialized staffing firm. No one knows compensation and hiring trends for administrative professionals better than your staffing representative, who will negotiate with hiring managers on your behalf. Let your representative take the lead, and you can focus on hitting the ground running when you start your new job.