You did your research, you prepared, you went in feeling confident and poised. And then your salary negotiation did NOT go as planned. First order of business: it’s okayt's okayt's okaytt's okay. No bridges were burned, and this is not a career-shattering experience. Instead, use this less-than-ideal negotiation moment to display your professionalism and resilience.
We spoke with Joel Garfinkle, executive coach and author of Get Paid What You’re Worth to get his expertise and advice on how to bounce back after a not-so-awesome negotiation. He cuts straight to the point for the reality check you need after a salary setback.
1. Evaluate the failure.
"Use a failed salary increase negotiation as an opportunity to re-evaluate your current role. Is this, perhaps, a sign that you need to make professional improvements to be seen at the value you're hoping for?"
2. Stay focused on the future.
"Following a failed negotiation, you need to move forward. This may mean accepting your current salary level and improving yourself for salary advancements down the line. The key will be to focus on the future and not don't dwell on the past."
3. Create a plan to follow up on the negotiation.
"There's no set magic time frame to revisit the topic. Instead, it depends on circumstances. Have you achieved new accomplishments or taken on new responsibilities that warrant discussing a salary increase again? If so, go for it," says Garfinkle.
"The number one mistake people make when negotiating a salary increase is not being fully prepared for the negotiation. Every negotiation starts with a business case on why you deserve an increase. Present the successes and results delivered since your last salary review that support a case for a higher salary. Do salary survey research beforehand, to better understand what the market value of your position truly is, to make sure your request is reasonable and specific."
4. Stay positive.
"Always be professional and positive. Let your manager know even if you don't agree with their decision, you do respect it."
5. Work with your boss to meet and exceed expectations.
Don’t be afraid to ask what you can do to turn that ‘no’ into a ‘yes’. Put together an action plan with your manager so you can get to the compensation level you want in the future.