How to Use Awkward Silences to Get a Salary Increase

Photo Credit: Unsplash, Sebastian Herrmann

No one likes a salary negotiation. Whether you are interviewing for a new job or looking to increase your salary at a current one, they are nerve-wracking! But don’t fret. There are ways that you can prepare for a salary negotiation that can up your odds for getting what you want.

Awkward silences are…awkward.

When asking for a salary raise uncomfortable silences are the best tool in your toolbox. You’ll need to be comfortable leaning into the silence after you speak. Trust me, it can work.

As people adapt to “adulting,” it’s important to learn the art of accepting cringe-worthy moments and embracing discomfort.

Photo Credit: Unsplash, Tim Gouw

So what do you do in this situation?

Katie Donovan, founder of the consultancy firm Equal Pay Negotiations, explains: “The first step is to be silent, hush up, or SHUT UP!” That is, after you’ve asked for more.

Even that statement might make you squeamish, but hear me out. Let’s say you were offered $35,000 as a starting salary. You were expecting $42,000 (the median amount), because based on your research, a role like the one you interviewed for would pay that. So what do you do?

Phrase your answer like, “Thank you for the offer. I truly appreciate it. I am a little surprised about the salary. Based on my research and my skills, I would have expected it to be $45,000.”

Yes, go in a touch higher than the median.

Photo Credit: Raw Pixel

The next step: Sit back and close your mouth. Allow the employer to mull over that.

“Remember,” Donovan says, “rarely is an initial job offer made at the maximum salary budgeted. The hiring manager most likely will have the authority to increase the salary during the meeting.”

I spent many years negotiating salaries as an HR Recruiter in the employment field. My experience taught me that most employers will go in low at the first offer. And guess what? They would expect you as a candidate to ask for more. So why not try? The ball is in your court.

Think of it this way: the company likes you, they want you on their team, and they have chosen you out of hundreds of candidates.

That’s the confidence you need to go into that salary negotiation. My advice is never to leave dollars on the table but be humble about it. Don’t ask for $60,000 for a $35,000 job. Be reasonable.

Now go out there, do your research, and be ready to tackle your next salary negotiation!