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The 9 Deadly Sins of Salary Negotiation

It's shocking to think of how many successful BIPOC professionals miss out on being rewarded for their hard work. Studies show that in a lifetime of 40 years, women of color will make $900,000* less than white male counterparts. The numbers are no better when it comes to the rate of promotion which is 6% below their male counterparts.

For both salary increases and promotions, too many employees from underrepresented groups are leaving success on the table.

*based on a median salary of 60K/yr and 3% annual base pay increase

The gap is real.

The upsetting truth is that women and other professionals from underrepresented backgrounds are often paid less than their Caucasian male counterparts.

African American women are paid 63% to the dollar than white males and 6% less than their white female counterparts.

Furthermore, Latina women ranked the lowest in terms of pay equality among other underrepresented groups, earning 45% than their white male counterparts and 30% less than their white female counterparts.

Research indicates that:

  • Caucasian women are paid about $.21 on the dollar less than their male counterparts.

  • Latinas are paid even less: $.55 for every $1.00 a white male earns.

  • The pay gap starts at the beginning of their career, and by age 55, there is still about a 40% gap between Latinas and their white male counterparts.

That's why today, I want to talk about the 9 deadly sins of salary negotiation so you can be prepared and not leave money on the table.

#1. Not preparing

By far, this is the most damaging mistake that anyone going into a salary negotiation (or any negotiation) can make. Unfortunately, many professionals "trust" that the person or company making the offer will do the right thing and give them a "fair" amount. However, this is seldom the case. Before negotiating your salary, please do prepare, prepare and prepare some more. Do your research. Ensure you know your worth by doing your research:

  • Average salaries in that role

  • Average salaries in the company

  • Your actual worth and value

  • Benefits and perks aside from the salary

But also find out what the company culture is like, the perks, benefits, and other types of support offered to their employees. Some website to find out this information are:

Lastly, if you know someone who works within that company and can give you some insider information, please reach out.

#2 Not negotiating your offer

Either we are so excited to receive an offer, or we are so thrilled to make more than our parents ever made that we accept the offer on the spot. And just like that, all the leverage and power are gone.

Pause, take your time when considering your response. Instead, respond like this:

  1. Pause

  2. Thank the recruiter for the offer.

  • State back what you heard, and ask for the offer to be sent in writing.

  • Ask time to go over the details (at least a day or two).

  • Thank the person on the other side again, and reiterate when you'll get back to them in time.

Please do not accept an offer on the spot unless it hits all the right numbers for you based on your research.

#3 Revealing your lowest number

Never EVER reveal your lower number or tell anyone what you are making now (It's illegal in some parts of the US. Check your local laws). Always provide a number (anchor) that is 20-30% more or what research average you found, which leads me to the next point.

#4 Asking for a ridiculous amount

Please do not ask for a ridiculous out-of-whack number. This will automatically turn off people, and you will be disqualified.

# 5 Not Controlling Your Emotions

I get it. Negotiation is in itself an emotional conversation. Even more when the emotional conversation involves your worth, if you start adding emotions to the mix, you will hurt your negotiating power.

# 6 Focusing only on salary

This is another mistake. Yes, we want to close the gap in terms of actual cash paid, but there is so much more to ask to negotiate for. Below are some examples:

  • Bonuses and commissions

  • An agreed raise in the future

  • Paid or non-paid vacation time

  • Flexible schedule

  • Healthcare

  • Pension or investment schemes

  • Membership to gym, movie theatre and other such clubs

  • Childcare

  • Discount schemes

# 7 Focusing on your needs rather than the value you bring

One of the best authors of negotiation Jim Camp, famously says in one of his books, "Wanting is fine, needing is not"

Understandably, we all want a salary to live and maintain our lifestyle, but this isn't a reason for the employer to grant you this request.

Your salary has to reflect the value you provide to the employer. The employer will pay you because you also add to the value the organization has and can make.

You simply won't convince an employer to pay you more if you don't show them the value you can provide. The bottom line is that it's not about YOUR needs it's about VALUE.

# 8 Stopping at No

For various reasons that I won't get into here, we tend to accept no for an answer and not respectfully insist. That is a horrible negotiation mistake. Instead, focus on finding out what the objection is and how you can overcome that objection with them. Ask open-ended questions- not why questions- maybe something like:

"Completely understandable that it is the company policy not to provide _X_. However, I'm wondering, what steps can be taken to get us closer to my request?"

# 9 Not being clear about your walk-away point

Have you heard the adage: No deal is better than a bad deal? Well, this also applies to salary negotiation.

Know your walk-away point. Please do not get into a job where you already feel like you are not valued or appreciated. Sometimes, the options seem bleak, but believe me, it's better to continue looking than to let those feelings fester.

Prepare Your Mindset

Finally, I want to share with you one insider secret: mindset is everything in negotiation. In all my years leading HR and Recruiting teams, I have not come across any employer who does not respect those who are confident but fair negotiators.

Having the confidence to negotiate well for yourself shows the employer that you are ready to take on new challenges and, more importantly, to claim your seat at the table with them or elsewhere. Make sure that when you are going to enter a negotiation, you have a confident mindset.

Prepare your mind with activities that help you gain that confidence. Below are a few examples:

  • Listen to a playlist that enables you to boost your confidence

  • Dress up

  • Meditate

  • Exercise

  • Prepare with your Career Coach

Are you Ready to Negotiate your next offer?

As part of my VIP program Elevate and Own Your Voice™, Equipt women and BIPOC professionals, with the mindset and the tools, negotiate effectively and confidently their next-level roles.

If you are ready to take your career to the next level, you can apply here to the next cohort to this exclusive program.


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