Negotiating/accepting the job

Usually, when a company is ready to talk salary, they have invested a lot of time and money in their search for a qualified employee. The fact that you are sitting at their table gives you credibility and respect. Spend a few minutes reviewing the following tips to help you succeed in your negotiation.

D0:

  • Develop a checklist of pertinent questions that you need to have answered.
  • Be a good listener. It’s crucial to ask revealing questions and then pay attention to your counterpart’s answers. Listening is as much a part of good negotiating as speaking.
  • Take notes during the process so you do not have to rely on your memory.
  • Be prepared. Gather as much pertinent information as possible before the meeting. Expect to win. If you expect more, you’ll get more.
  • Be patient. Thoughtful, careful discussion is more likely to result favorably.
  • Focus on mutual satisfaction. In a win/win outcome there are no losers. Everyone feels good about the result.
  • Control the room. Try to choose the seat position that makes you feel the most comfortable. Watch out for seating that forces you to stare into the sun’s glare or feel crowded by an intimidating group.
  • Control the atmosphere. If you can, conduct a presentation, show a video of your course — whatever works.
  • Control yourself. This is the hardest challenge. Control your arms, legs and hands. You do not want to appear nervous or anxious. Continually tell yourself that you are a competent professional.
  • Consult an advisor, such as your attorney, if you need extra help.
  • Insist on fairness and equity.
  • Request an employment contract.
  • Demonstrate your interest in the position by your enthusiasm.

Don't:

  • Don’t base your desired salary on your current salary, unless your current benefits and professional opportunities are outstanding. Always try to increase your current situation by a minimum of $5,000.
  • Don’t be overly aggressive with the employer; rather be assertive.
  • Don’t discuss your specific compensation package, especially salary, with the employer until you have been offered the job.
  • Don’t tell how much you make, unless it is unavoidable.
  • Don’t accept a verbal offer. Request the offer in writing.
  • Don’t go into the negotiation with the view that the first meeting is your only opportunity. It takes time to come to a mutual agreement.
  • Don’t lose your temper or get defensive.
  • Don’t expect negotiations to be easy. Count on a challenge and be prepared to state your case.
  • Don’t let them bully you. Be appropriately assertive.
  • Don’t make the first move. The best way to find out where an employer is on salary, is to allow the employer to open the discussion. If you give a range first, you may give away more than necessary and be forced to accept less.
  • Don’t let the conversation take a negative turn. Keep the discussion friendly and positive.
  • Don’t make unilateral concessions. Whenever you give something away, get something in return.
  • Don’t accept the first offer. If you do, your counterpart will think they could have done better — it was too easy. They will be more satisfied if you reject the first offer because when you eventually say yes, they will conclude that they have pushed you to your limit.
  • Don’t show fear. Failure and fear of being treated badly are self-fulfilling prophecies.
  • Don’t negotiate on the telephone. You can’t see body language.
  • Don’t be afraid to walk away from the deal if it truly doesn't meet your needs. Sometimes this surprisingly puts you in a position of power.

Remember, negotiation is a process. It’s not where you start, but where you finish!