I hate to say it, but you left money on the table in 2016.
Harsh, yes, but I’ve got be honest. And if you really think about it, you probably know that you didn’t quite negotiate your salary and compensation package to the best of your ability in 2016. As a result, you left money on the table.
Glassdoor found that 59 percent of American employees accepted the salary they were first offered, and did not negotiate at all! Furthermore, 68 percent of women accepted the salary they were offered and did not negotiate, a 16-percentage point difference when compared to men (52%).
Given that the economy added 1.98 million new jobs in the first 11 months of 2016 and late 2016 has shown wages are on the right track to continue to rise for the U.S. workforce, 2017 is looking like the year of salary negotiations.
But before you walk into you boss’ office with your Know Your Worth printout showing your custom salary estimate based on your title, company, location and experience, let’s pause to look at what you could have done better in 2016.
Here’s the harsh truth about the 5 salary negotiation mistakes you made this year.
1. You Were Unprepared When Your Boss Said “Do You Have a Second to Chat?”
While you can’t always pounce on your manager with a request for a raise, you should always be mindful that time with the boss or your manager is valuable face-time where you should always have your goals and longterm interests in the back of your mind. One of my favorite quotes is, “If you stay ready, you don’t have to get ready.” Always be ready for a one-on-one with your boss and be constantly thinking about your career, how you want it to grow, ways you want to take on more, and how you’d like to be compensated.
“At some point, nearly every employer will ask what salary range you’re looking for and this could happen as soon as their very first phone call to you,” says Alison Green, author of How to Get a Job: Secrets of a Hiring Manager. You want to be prepared for this in advance, because if you’re caught off-guard, you risk low-balling yourself or otherwise saying something that will harm you in negotiations later. Be sure to do your homework ahead of time so that you’re ready with an answer when the question comes up.”
[Related: 10 Dos & Dont’s of Salary Negotiation]
2. You Didn’t Know How Much Your Colleagues and Those In Your Industry Were Being Paid?
Transparency in the work place isn’t new, and it’s a buzzword we’ve all heard. But in recent years, that didn’t just apply to compnay culture and benefits, it applies to salary. Now you can see how much others in your same role, city and with your same level of experience are being paid nationwide. There’s no excuse and you can no longer say, “I think I’m getting paid fairly.” That cost you big in 2016. According to Glassdoor data, those who have used the Know Your Worth tool to discover their current worth in the job market have found out that they were underpaid by an average of nearly $5,000. That is huge. And sad to say, that might be the amount you could have had in your pocket if you had tried Know Your Worth.
3. You Jumped On the First Offer Your Boss or Hiring Manager Made.
Tisk, tisk tisk. Always counteroffer and negotiate your salary and even your total compensation package, which may include stock options. “In response to an offer, restate the offer, sit quietly, and silently count to 10. Allow everyone time to consider. This technique may also prompt the employer to justify the offer, which could continue the negotiation process, or it could lead to a better offer,” advises one expert. “When a final offer is extended, if it is not enough, thank the employer, provide a power statement that emphasizes your value, and ask for time to consider the offer.”
[Related: 4 Things to Consider When Asking for a Raise]
4. You Asked for A Raise At The Wrong Time.
Most companies have set times in the year where they conduct formal reviews and determine raises and promotions. There are many factors that go into these decisions. Everything from reviews by peers, your success meeting formal goals to market data on compensation to how much money your company actually has. For a small, cash-strapped startups, for example, it will be much harder for your to get the money. Not because you’re not worth it or not incredibly valuable to the company, but the money might just not be there. Check in with HR to get the raise schedule and calendar around promotions. Remember, while not impossible, it’s rare to receive a promotion or raise off-cycle.
5. You Focused On A Number Instead of a Range.
When pressed for your salary requirements during an interview process, you may have be caught off-guard and simply given a number. That’s a no-no. You should always be sure to offer a range based on what others in the field are earning, rather than a single fixed number, says Karen Lawson, founder and president of Lawson Consulting Group, Inc. That’s where doing your market research becomes critical. Check out similar positions online and network with others in the field to determine the standard pay and what the higher end salary might be for such a role. The same goes for promotions and raises. Instead of fixating on a number think about a range of increase or other non-pay factors when negotiating in 2017. Benefits, working from home, stock options, flextime. They’re all on the negotiation table.