Negotiating a salary; a response to Forbes’ recent article.

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I recently read an interesting article on negotiating salaries.  While simplistic in many ways, the take-away point was that it is often best to refrain from using “I” statements when negotiating salaries.  Too many people talk about what they want when negotiating salaries.  They’ll say ‘I want this and I want that’.

According to Forbes magazine, the problem with using these personal statements is that your ego gets in the way.  It’s a natural tendency to get defensive when you’re negotiating something you want. Your ego gets involved and that makes negotiation difficult. Forbes interviewed several hiring authorities and suggests that if you simply cut the “I” from the negotiations and substitute “we” that you will get better results. Instead of telling an employer about what YOU want, talk instead about how “we should reach a solution”.

While this article contemplates a handy blanket rule to use, at Sand Search, we firmly believe that in salary negotiations, blanket statements or rules rarely apply.  You must be able to clearly articulate your salary desire and be able to justify that request.  You should be specific in your request (see,  Further, you should be able to articulate that you are ready and able to accept a satisfactory offer if one is conveyed to you.  Once this has been established, I have no problem with the negotiations proceeding with a “team focus” rather than an individual focus.

Remember, it is your salary and career that you are negotiating.  Some of the focus has to be on you.  Once you have some baseline information on the table, try to make it collaborative with the employer.  That positive experience goes a long way – if your negotiations are successful, you’ll be spending a lot more time with those folks!


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