Negotiating a Salary is So Very Risky

A personal note from Kate:  Thank you dear readers for continuing to visit my blog over the past two months.  I’ve been silent during this period due to my mother’s recent passing.  Although things are still hectic, I have found my voice again and am back to writing.  You should see regular postings and a few surprises going forward.

Now to my newest blog post:

I often hear the sentiment that negotiating is risky.  What if the job offer is taken away?  What if they fire me?   Such concerns can paralyze people from starting a negotiation.  Are they realistic concerns?

The job offer will be taken away

Resumes have been reviewed.  Initial phone or Skype interviews have occurred.  In person interviews with multiple employees for the top handful of candidates have followed.  Ability, corporate cultural fit, and many other criteria have been considered. References have been checked.  And guess what?  You have been made it to the top of the list.  You get the job offer. The company has spent time, energy, and money to decide that you are whom they want.

Consider the following questions:

  • How likely will they want to spend more money to move down the list to the next candidate?
  • How likely will they want to reopen the search?
  • What’s to say the next candidate would not negotiate a higher salary?

Understanding the other options do not eliminate potentially paying a higher salary or spending more corporate money gives management a financial reason to close the deal with the first choice if at all possible.  Putting aside the financial consideration, think of the personal consideration.  Managers are people too.  Like most of us, once a decision is made, managers would like to carry out the decision.  Changing can become arduous because there was an emotional bond established with the decision and the candidate.

The job will be taken away

Will asking for more money result in a firing?  Most likely not.   The negotiation may not result in a raise but a firing is highly unlikely.  The cost of employee turnover ranges from 150% – 250% of a salary.  Giving a raise would be the more financially sound decision for a company compared to the cost of  letting a person go.

Take away the fear of negotiating as an all or nothing endeavor and the risk truly becomes minimal.  The worst that should happen is you have the same job with the same salary that you had before you negotiated.  That doesn’t sound too scary – does it?

Copyright @ 2012 by Katie Donovan

Comment (1)

  • David Larson| April 12, 2012

    I completely agree with what you wrote about taking the fear out of negotiations. Years of solid research showing that men and women view risk differently. Women are just much more risk averse than men.

    This plays out in women’s favor when it comes to driving too fast, gambling, and dozens of other risky activities. However, when it comes to asking for a pay raise, the effect is far less beneficial.

    Someone wise once said that anxiety is just a sign that you are lacking a skill that you need to get.

    I think this applies to the topic of negotiating salary and asking for a raise.

    On my blog I am writing a series of articles to help women gain the skills they need to get the pay raises they deserve. I’d love to hear your thoughts.

    Happy Negotiating!