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Salary negotiations for women: Overcoming Negotiation Hardball Tactics

Updated: Aug 22, 2023

Salary Negotiations for Women - What to Do when you encounter Negotiation Hardball Tactics

Are you tired of feeling undervalued and underpaid? Gender biases in salary negotiations continue to persist, hindering women from reaching their full potential. Gender discrimination in the workplace has long been a deep-rooted problem, but with the right strategies in place, you can break free from the constraints and command the respect and compensation you deserve.

Research shows that men are more likely to engage in salary negotiations than women. And when faced with hard ball tactics from your boss or hiring manager, the challenge can feel even more overwhelming.

Remember, salary negotiations for women does not have to be daunting even when facing hard ball tactics.

In this post, we will explore efficient and effective strategies to counter three common hardball tactics: flinch, aggression, and higher authority. First, let's understand what each of these tactics entails.

chess board with knight in the front
Salary Negotiations for Women - Tactics to Watch

Overcoming Negotiation Hardball Tactics - Flinch

When your counterpart uses the flinch tactic, they may react with surprise or disbelief to your initial salary request or proposal. This hard ball tactic is designed to make you question the validity of your ask and potentially lower your expectations.

How to CounteR

  • Remember, you have done your research and know your worth.

  • Emphasize the value you bring to the table by highlighting your achievements, skills, and recent results

  • Provide supporting evidence such as market data or industry benchmarks to validate your salary request.


Employee: "I have consistently delivered exceptional results and exceeded expectations. Based on my track record and the value I bring to the company, I believe it is appropriate to discuss a pay raise."

Manager: Flinches

Employee: "I understand that the proposed increase may seem significant. However, it aligns with the results I delivered and the impact I can continue making for the organization."

Overcoming Negotiation Hard ball Tactics - Aggression

In some cases, your counterpart may employ aggression as a tactic to intimidate or discourage you from pursuing a higher salary. This can include dismissive remarks, questioning your loyalty, or making you feel guilty for advocating for yourself.

How to Counter

  • Don't let their aggression throw you off balance.

  • Focus on the facts.

  • Redirect the conversation back to the merits of the negotiation by highlighting your commitment to the company's success.

Example script

Employee: "I have delivered three successful projects on time and below budget, while taking on additional area responsibilities. In light of these achievements, I will schedule some time to discuss a compensation adjustment."

Manager: "I can't believe you're being so ungrateful by asking for more money."

Employee: "I appreciate your perspective, and I assure you that my request is based on a fair assessment of my contributions and market research. Could I bring the data to the meeting and show you?"

Overcoming Negotiation Hardball Tactics - Higher Authority

Sometimes, your counterpart may claim that they lack the authority to make decisions regarding your salary and need to consult with higher-level management. This tactic is intended to delay the negotiation process or make you doubt the feasibility of your request.

How to CounteR

  • Express understanding while reaffirming your desire for a fair and timely resolution.

  • Offer to collaborate with your manager in finding a solution that satisfies both parties' interests.

  • Seek clarity on the decision-making process and set timelines

  • Remain persistent.

Example script

Employee: "Based on the recent successes of my projects and reviewing industry averages, I would like to schedule some time to discuss my compensation."

Manager: "I do not have the authority to approve that. I will need to consult with the human resources and the executive team"

Employee: "I understand the process. It would be beneficial for both of us to involve the appropriate decision-makers to ensure a fair and transparent negotiation. Here is the data that I have gathered on industry standards. What else do you need to make a case? I will schedule a follow up in two weeks?"

Decide for the Long Term

During salary negotiations, continue to evaluate whether the organization aligns with your long-term goals. If the negotiation process consistently feels unfair or disrespectful, it may be worth reconsidering your options. However, if you still see potential in the organization due to factors like location or benefits, consider creating a Plan B or Best Alternative to a Negotiated Agreement (BATNA) and then using it as leverage.

Overcoming Negotiation Hardball Tactics is easier when you know what it is. Be on the lookout and if you want more training, get the audio guide here (it's Free!)

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