Winning at Negotiation Time

by | Mar 6, 2020 | After the Offer

It is great news for any Job Seeker when the interview process has been completed and an offer is forthcoming. Some progressive organizations will provide you their best offer first. The thought from them is that it signifies a commitment to you and a philosophy of fairness. The goal is to not only secure your accepted offer but also encourage you to stay for an extended period of time. However, for others the mission is to secure your employment with the lowest possible salary or rate.

If you find yourself in the situation where a prospective employer does not offer their best offer first and still want to join that type of organization, then the following quick tips can assist you in securing the best final offer possible.

• Do Your Market Research – Know what the WNY market is paying on average for the position you are seeking. You can do this through networking, Internet searching, or through a professional association. A number of employment agencies also publish market data on positions.

• Determine Your Leverage – Is it a replacement or a newly created position? A replacement spot usually lends to better leverage because the role already exists and is known to be needed. How long has the position been open can also assist you with the thought that longer it has been open, the greater the need to fill it quickly.

• Create Perception – Have you ever heard the term “perception is reality”? Well, if the prospective employer feels that you are this awesome candidate that is highly in demand, they will most likely be willing to offer you more. Don’t let them feel as if you are disinterested, but give them the perception that you have options. Don’t immediately jump into a phone screen, rather have it scheduled. When called for an in-person interview, don’t tell them you can be there this afternoon. If asked when you can start, don’t tell them tomorrow. Anything that gives the perception you have any level of desperation will hurt your leverage. This includes the timing of the offer acceptance. Virtually all prospective employers will understand if you need 24-48 hours to decide. This will give you time to prepare a counter offer and create some anticipation with the company that negotiation may occur.

• Don’t Give Too Much Information – Some would say never answer any questions about money or bring the subject up until given a number. That thinking indicates to me someone who is a little naïve regarding the job seeking process. Reality is that virtually all employers will demand some idea of your range and you will want some assurance that they are willing to pay within your range before discussions become too serious. Time is precious and no one wants to waste it in a situation that is not doable, especially as a Job Seeker if you already are employed and are restricted in your ability to have time to interview. The key is the word “range”. Give the employer a broad range and require them to ensure for you that this range is doable. Know your market before giving the range and cover yourself by going on the high end when providing this information. Do not be too specific by giving an exact current salary. That will pigeonhole you in the eyes of the Hiring Manager and limit your negotiation latitude.

• Don’t Be Afraid to Ask – Whether it is a lack of self-confidence or just the desperation of wanting to land the position, many Job Seekers do not even ask for what they want. Instead, they just accept what is offered without question. Rarely will the original offer be completely withdrawn if a candidate asks for something additional.

• Negotiate More than Just Money – Traditionally, a Job Seeker will only think of the base salary as being a point of negotiation. Don’t forget that areas such as vacation time, payment for waiting period COBRA, or a sign-on bonus can also be a point of negotiation. Again, all it takes is the confidence to ask.

• Make Sure It Is In Writing – An offer is an important document. Make sure you receive the offer from the company in writing. This includes any terms that changed as a result of negotiation.

Finally, try not to become too emotionally attached to the position you are considering during the process. This will result in you being less likely to want to negotiate and will cloud your judgment during the process. Instead, have the confidence that if an agreement cannot be reached on this position, then there will be another one just as good (or better) on the horizon.

As always, best of luck in your job search.

The following has been prepared for the general information of WNYJobs readers. It is not meant to provide advice with respect to any specific legal or policy matter and should not be acted upon without verification by the reader.

Joe Stein
WNY Human Resources Professional

Feel free to contact Joe Stein regarding questions or comments at:
Joe Stein


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