The science behind salary negotiations

by Miklos Bolza31 May 2016
To increase your chances of getting a pay rise, you have a better chance of persuading management by presenting a likeable personality than by discussing your skills, according to one management professor.
 
Jayanth Narayanan, associate professor at the National University of Singapore (NUS) Business School, pointed to a study headed by Tiziana Casciaro at the University of Toronto that looked at the qualities that people really cared about when selecting others to work with.
 
“What they find is that people care more about likeability than competence. When people look to hire someone for a job or as a part of a team, they want someone who’s likeable even if you can compromise on competence,” he told HRD.
 
This means that even the most experienced senior professionals should avoid aggressive negotiating tactics, Narayanan said, as these can make you seem unlikeable and derail your chances of getting that pay rise.
 
“It would be wrong to say ‘Hey, I have an offer from another firm. If you’re not going to give me that much or more, I’m not going to work with you’. That kind of conversation is detrimental. You can come across as very arrogant and rash.”
 
This doesn’t mean that you cannot talk about outside offers in an effort to get a pay rise, he added, just that a more subtle approach is required.
 
“You have to have less chutzpah about it. You can’t beat your chest and say I have this other offer.”
 
For senior HR professionals, Narayanan warns against misreading signals that you are absolutely vital to your firm.
 
“We are all egocentric in the way we read signals,” he said. “We all think that we are better than we are. So you want to make sure that you’re not overzealous and avoid saying or doing things that may harm your reputation.”
 
Again, it all boils down to likeability – leveraging your senior position while negotiating with the firm in such a way to maintain your overall positive impression.
 
Related stories:
 
Three executive salary negotiation techniques
 
The power of ‘if’: secrets to successful negotiation
 
The one skill that will increase your power and influence in HR

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