Here Are Things You Should Never Say In A Salary Negotiation

“Salary negotiations are like any other type of negotiations — except the words you use can be extremely powerful, since there is a personal aspect to the discussion,” says HR expert Steve Kane. “The negotiation is not over the worth and price of an inanimate object, but rather the value of you to some enterprise.”


“In negotiations, you’ll have to be willing to be flexible and provide counteroffers when the offer isn’t in line with what you are seeking,” says Kahn. By saying “no” you could be quickly closing the door on the offer at hand.

“I know this may sound a little aggressive, but …”

If your rationale is based on fact, you should never have to preface your request with this type of disclaimer.

“I hate to have to ask for this, but …”

True, it might not be the easiest thing to ask for more money — but saying you “hate to have to do it” is a flat-out lie. Plus, it’s just a really terrible way to preface the negotiation.

Dan Moyle/flickr

“I need …”

You should never say you need X amount more because of expenses or debt. “Don’t bring in personal issues; this is about your merit and the job fit,” says Taylor.

“I heard you offered John $X, and I’m a harder worker.”

Never use gossip in a salary negotiation — and definitely don’t compare yourself to others. It’s mean and unprofessional.

Of course it’s fine (and recommended) to do your research on compensation — but that should be done on sites like Glassdoor and PayScale … not at the office water cooler.

“I think …”

Don’t use “I think” or “maybe” or any other “uncertain words,” says Jessica Miller-Merrell, editor of and CEO of Xceptional HR. “Always speak confidently.”

“The least I’d be willing to accept is X.”

If you tell them the parameters of the lowest offer your willing to take, that could be what you’ll get.

Flickr/Andrew Yee


Have confidence in yourself. “If you know your value and what you’ll be bringing to the company, there will be no need to apologize for asking for more,” Kahn says.


These words are demeaning or disrespectful to the employer, Kane explains. “The employer may decide they don’t want you to work there after all because of the lack of respect you show them.”


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