Most of us have probably never taken a class on negotiating and if we did, we likely slept through it. And most of us probably find the job seeking process stressful, if not one of life’s top 3 worst things. Which results in just wanting to rush through it and likely it means we leave money on the table.
One of things I see the technicians I speak with doing the most is using emotional language when negotiating a job offer and they don’t realize it. Furthermore, they likely have not ever considered how that comes across to the person they’re negotiating with. After all, I think most of us want to be honest and not play games. But sometimes in our attempt to be straightforward we end up getting less than what we could otherwise. The big idea – using emotional language like “I need” or “I want” can work against you in a job offer negotiation for several reasons:
- May Signal Desperation: When applicants use phrases like “I need this job” or “I want a higher salary,” it can signal desperation to the employer. This may lead the employer to believe that the applicant is willing to accept any offer and is not in a strong negotiating position.
- Diminishes Professionalism: Emotional language can make the negotiation seem less professional. Employers typically expect negotiations to be conducted with a focus on facts, data, and the value the applicant brings to the company. Emotional language can detract from this perception of professionalism.
- Shifts the Focus from Value: Effective negotiations focus on the value the applicant brings to the company and how they can contribute to its success. Emotional language can shift the focus from this value proposition to the applicant’s personal needs and desires, which may not be as compelling to the employer.
- Reduces Leverage: Using emotional language may reduce the applicant’s leverage in the negotiation. Employers may perceive that the applicant’s emotional attachment to the job or specific terms of the offer makes them less likely to walk away from a less favorable deal.
- Limits Flexibility: Emotional language may lead the employer to believe that the applicant is less open to compromise and flexibility in the negotiation. It can create a “take it or leave it” impression, which can be less conducive to reaching a mutually beneficial agreement.
- Undermines Confidence: Applicants who rely on emotional language may come across as less confident in their negotiation skills. Confidence and assertiveness are typically viewed as strengths in a negotiation, while emotional language can suggest uncertainty or lack of preparation.
- Makes It Personal: Emotional language can make the negotiation feel personal rather than business-oriented. Employers may prefer to keep the negotiation focused on the job, its requirements, and the candidate’s qualifications, rather than personal wants and needs.
To conduct a successful job offer negotiation, it’s generally advisable to focus on the facts, data, and the value that you bring to the position and the company. Instead of saying, “I need a higher salary,” you can say, “Based on my experience and the market rate for this role, a salary adjustment to $X would be more in line with industry standards.” This approach keeps the negotiation professional and centered on the objective factors that justify the request.