"Salary negotiations are like any other type of negotiations — except the words you use can be extremely powerful, since there is a personal aspect to the discussion," says HR expert Steve Kane. "The negotiation is not over the worth and price of an inanimate object, but rather the value of you to some enterprise."
Here are 16 words and phrases that may hurt more than they'll help in a salary negotiation:
"I'm looking for X."Never throw out the first number. "You want to leave room for discussion," says Lynn Taylor, author of "Tame Your Terrible Office Tyrant: How to Manage Childish Boss Behavior and Thrive in Your Job."
Kahn agrees. "A good negotiation strategy is to let the employer offer the first number. That puts you in a position to see the number they are offering and gives you the opportunity to negotiate it up from there."
"That's all you're offering me?"Never say this, or anything else that will offend the employer — even if you think the salary they're offering is laughable.
"I have other outstanding offers right now that are much more lucrative."Even if it's true, you shouldn't use "that card" to pressure the employer, Taylor says. "Only discuss the offer at hand."
And if you don't have another offer on the table, you'll definitely want to avoid this tactic. "You could shoot yourself in the foot," Taylor says. "The hiring manager may ask you to elaborate and if you're bluffing, it'll be hard to save face."
"No.""In negotiations, you'll have to be willing to be flexible and provide counteroffers when the offer isn't in line with what you are seeking," says Kahn. By saying "no" you could be quickly closing the door on the offer at hand.
"Bottom line'/'This is my final/last offer."These phrases sound like threats, and they typically close out the negotiation, says Kane. "If you say any of these things, and the demand is not met by the employer, the negotiation will be over and you'll have to be prepared to walk away."
"I know this may sound a little aggressive, but ..."If your rationale is based on fact, you should never have to preface your request with this type of disclaimer.
"I need ..."You should never say you need X amount more because of expenses or debt. "Don't bring in personal issues; this is about your merit and the job fit," says Taylor.
"I hate to have to ask for this, but ..."True, it might not be the easiest thing to ask for more money — but saying you "hate to have to do it" is a flat-out lie. Plus, it's just a really terrible way to preface the negotiation.
"I heard you offered John $X, and I'm a harder worker."Never use gossip in a salary negotiation — and definitely don't compare yourself to others. It's mean and unprofessional.
Of course it's fine (and recommended) to do your research on compensation — but that should be done on sites like Glassdoor and PayScale ... not at the office water cooler.