Negotiating a job offer is not something many of us have a lot of practice with. Despite this, how well we perform when negotiating a job offer has a serious impact on the quality of our work life.
More importantly, how well we do when negotiating a job offer will impact not only our current financial status, but also the future of our career.
I am a recruiter / headhunter with over 25 years of experience, and I would like to share proven techniques on how to approach your next job offer. You may find a few surprises.
Skilled negotiators know how to read people. For some, especially those of us more technically (data) inclined, this can present a terrifying and totally foreign landscape. It certainly isn’t at all like math, science or even accounting for that matter. Let’s take a look at these insightful tips on approving your ability when negotiating a job offer.
Negotiating a Job Offer: Tip #1
Never underestimate the importance of “like-ability” when negotiating a job offer. Subtle changes in the way you look, behave, the words you choose, and most importantly, how you are perceived will greatly impact your chances for success.
We are not all gifted with the ability to be persuasive, or with the gift of the gab. However, we can learn from many books and other educational material on ways to improve our likability. Small changes can go a long way.
Negotiating a Job Offer: Tip #2
If you are liked by those sitting opposite you in your negotiation, congratulations. You are already heading in the right direction. The next crucial step to getting what you deserve (often in financial terms) is to provide justification for what you are asking.
Know what you can contribute, and most importantly what that will mean to your hiring manager and the employer’s bottom line.
A word of caution – there is a very fine line between being likeable and pushing to get what you feel you deserve. You must be careful to avoid sounding arrogant when you are presenting your skills and abilities during a job offer negotiation, even with those who like you. Research has shown it is easy for people to quickly switch from thinking a person is likeable to suddenly finding them arrogant, which has an irreversible negative effect.
Negotiating a Job Offer: Tip #3
Understanding the role of the person who is doing the hiring is extremely important when negotiating a job offer. The harder you work to understand their constraints, as well as the post-hire management responsibility they will have after they give you the job, the more they will see you as someone who is committed to achieving a win-win. If you do not know this information beforehand, ask questions. Enquiring in a concerned manner about what the impact of your being hired will have on them personally, and on the company, will gain you brownie points with any savvy employer.
Letting the other person know you are reliable starts at demonstrating your willingness to understand. Handled appropriately, showing them your commitment and concern about your potential impact on them will win you a good many performance points during negotiation.
Negotiating a Job Offer: Tip #4
Make sure you are looking at the big picture, not just what’s in it for you in the short term. When negotiating a job offer consider everything about the position. Enjoying your work has everything to do with liking the people you work with, so start there. Identify and be sure you know and are comfortable with the common values and goals you share with them.
Next comes looking at all the different areas that comprise a great job offer. Things you want to think about are challenge and potential for advancement, flex time, vacation options, performance bonuses, flexible benefits, education and training, career mentoring and professional development programs. All these together comprise an essential and holistic view towards negotiating, and will give you more areas to be flexible on, which in turns gives you the ability to empower yourself with a range of options when negotiating a job offer.
Negotiating a Job Offer: Tip #5
Anyone negotiating a job offer needs to understand the importance of negotiating simultaneously, as opposed to serial negotiation or dealing with items one at a time,. As we have mentioned in the points above, looking at the bigger picture allows you to explore the many options open to negotiating an offer. Whatever you do, be prepared before you start negotiating. Here’s a suggested method for clarifying your requirements…
1. Write down your wish-list items and first rank them in order of importance to you, 1 extremely important, 2 moderately important, and 3 can live without it.
2. Then add another column and number each item by how negotiable you think the company will be on each – 3 not negotiable, 2 somewhat negotiable, and 1 take it or leave it. Add up the two columns and see how close you can get the numbers before you even go in.
This way you will know ahead of time what options you are willing to give up for others that you really need and/or that you know the company can’t budge on.
These tips at negotiating a job offer are designed to help you and your new employer to come to a win-win. The experienced headhunters at Ashton Associates have more than 40 years of combined experience, recruiting A-level talent for leading employers throughout the BC Interior and Okanagan.
More insightful information for recruiting professionals, business and individuals looking to improve a career can be found on our Recruiters Blog.
This post has been approved for public release by Barbara Ashton. All certified posts carry this Google Authorship link to Google