Personal Finance

Don't make this $5,000 job mistake

Key Points
  • The majority of employers typically offer candidates lower salaries than they're willing to pay so there's room to negotiate, according to CareerBuilder.
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Negotiating a job offer can be daunting. It may also be worth it.

The majority of employers (52 percent) typically offer candidates salaries below what they're willing to ultimately pay so there's room to negotiate, according to CareerBuilder's latest survey, which polled more than 4,600 full-time employers and 3,450 U.S. workers between May and September.

So how much money is being left on the table?

More than a quarter of employers (26 percent) who offer a lower salary say their initial number is $5,000 or more below what they're willing to pay. That's a lot of green.

"I think first and foremost, it's a business. You're going to try to get the best candidate for the lowest price. I don't think there's a deliberate strategy to cheat people or underpay — just this expectation that I'm going to give an offer and someone's going to want to negotiate," said Rosemary Haefner, chief human resources officer at CareerBuilder.

But in fact, 56 percent of candidates don't negotiate.

Even worse, a March survey by Jobvite found that only 29 percent of job seekers negotiated their salary at their current or most recent job.

"Those employees who are just entering the workforce don't know to ask, but it's starting to become the norm now," Haefner said.

More than half of employers are willing to negotiate initial job offers for entry-level workers, the survey found. Even if they're not, Haefner recommends trying anyway.

"It's a chance to show your value, show a confident brand and set you up for long-term career success," she said.

Interested in negotiating like a pro?

Try to look beyond the money, Haefner said. What else is important to you? Extra vacation time? Longer lunch breaks? Less time traveling?

She also emphasizes the importance of selling yourself.

"Remind them of your education and your experience. Get out those great traits you bring to the table to the forefront of their brains," she said.

Alexandra Dickinson, founder and CEO of Ask For It, also has tips: do your research, hone in on what you want and ask respectfully.

WATCH: The most common negotiating mistake that workers make

The most common negotiating mistake that workers make
The most common negotiating mistake that workers make