We’re often told, “Women don’t ask” as partial justification for the gender pay gap. But when women (or men, for that matter) do ask, the answer isn’t always going to be “Yes.” Sometimes, despite negotiating strongly and confidently stating your value to an employer, your manager or a prospective employer may simply push back on your request for the salary that you know you’re worth, holding firm to their initial figure.
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Here’s what to do if you find yourself getting pushback during salary negotiations:
If you hear: “The salary on this position is set by HR—I really can’t go up at all.”
Then try saying something like this: “I understand exactly where you’re coming from, and what you’re saying makes perfect sense. From my perspective, I’ve spent a considerable amount of time researching the standard salary rangefor this position in our area, and based on my experience level, I do believe that the figure should be a bit higher. Would it be possible for you to share these thoughts with HR and get back to me?”
Keep in mind: To use this approach, it’s important to have actually done your research first; you need to have hard data to back up your assertions. You might even bring printouts of your findings to your negotiation meeting and provide a copy to the manager, or offer to share a copy with HR.
Also, if you’re negotiating for a new position, be aware that you should only use this approach if you’re willing to risk losing the current offer. If you feel strongly that you won’t take the job unless the salary comes up to the level that you want, then this is a great strategy. But if you will be devastated if the hiring team offers the position to someone else who is less picky about salary, then don’t use it.
If you hear: “My hands are tied on the salary—it’s based on the corporate band for this level of employee.”
Then try saying something like this: “I definitely understand, and I’m wondering if we might be able to make a case together to HR about my unique credentials and experience. I’ve done quite a bit in my previous roles that I feel justifies my move into the next salary band.”
Keep in mind: If you try this, be sure that you’re prepared to spell out exactly what you’ve achieved that makes you rise above other candidates. Hard data is critical here—your goal is to be able to quantify your achievements and prove your value through specific accomplishments. For example, if your fundraising efforts grew your department’s contributions by 30% last year, be sure that’s on your resume and be ready to talk about it in detail.
If you hear: “I can’t bump up the salary offer, but we may be able to add a little more vacation time instead.”
Then try saying something like this: “I really appreciate that, and benefits are an important part of the package. But I would be more comfortable if we could find a way to meet in the middle about the salary. Is there any way to find flexibility in that number, given my experience level and strong credentials for the position?”
Keep in mind: As above, if you refer to your credentials as a bargaining chip, be prepared to showcase specific quantifiable achievements. If you don’t win with this salary negotiation and still want the job, all is not lost—you can shift gears to negotiating for more benefits.
There’s no guarantee that any specific negotiation efforts will prove fruitful since the outcome depends on several factors that are not in your control (like the budget of the department and the mood of the manager). But by continuing to push back against salary negotiation pushback, you just might talk your way into the number you want.
This article originally appeared on Flex Jobs.
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