Job offer negotiations are rarely easy. Consider these typical scenarios.
You’re in the third round of interviews for a job at a company you like, but a firm you like more has just asked you to come in. The recruitment manager wants to know if you would accept if they made you a competitive offer.
You’ve secured an offer for a job that you think you will enjoy, but the salary is lower than you hoped. You ask if there’s any flexibility, but are told there isn’t. They ask if you won’t take the job without a higher offer.
You’ve been working happily at your company for a few years, but a recruiter has been calling, telling you that you could earn a lot more elsewhere. You don’t want to quit, but you do want to be compensated fairly, so you seek a raise in pay. Budgets are tight and your boss doesn’t like people leveraging outside offers.
What can you do?
Don’t Underestimate The Importance Of Likeability
This sounds simple, but it matters. People will only fight for you if they like you or are desperate. Anything you do in a negotiation that makes you less likable will reduce the chances that the other side will work to secure a better offer for you. You need to be more than polite. You need to be able to manage some inevitable tensions in negotiation, such as asking for what you deserve without seeming greedy, pointing out deficiencies in the offer without seeming demanding, and being persistent without being annoying. Practice interviews can help you to work out how others will see your approach.
Help Them To Understand Why You Deserve What You’re Requesting
It’s not enough for them to like you. They need to believe that you’re worth what you’re asking for. Don’t let your proposal speak for itself and instead tell the story that goes with it. Don’t just say what you want, such as the option to work remotely or a pay bump. Explain exactly why this is justified, such as childcare demands or why you deserve a pay rise more than the others. If you can’t justify the demand, it’s probably not a good idea to make it. Keep in mind the balance between being likable and explaining why you deserve more. Saying you’re more valuable can seem arrogant if you haven’t thought through your approach properly.
Make It Clear They Can Get You
People don’t want to put in the effort to get approval for a more improved offer if they suspect that after all their effort on your behalf, you’re still going to say no to the new offer. If you do want to negotiate for a better package, make it very clear that you are completely serious about working for this organization. Sometimes you can get people to want you by explaining that everybody wants you to work for them, but if you play that particular card too strongly, you run the risk of making the employee think that they aren’t going to get you to accept any offer, so why bother jumping through hoops to impress you? If you are thinking of mentioning all the options that you have as leverage, you should be careful to balance that out by saying why, or under what conditions, you would be willing to forget these options and accept an offer.
Understand The Person Across The Table
Companies don’t do the negotiating. People do. Before you can influence the person interviewing you, you need to understand them. What are their interests and concerns? Negotiating with your future boss is different from negotiating with a recruiter or a representative from HR. You can ask HR a lot more questions regarding the details of the offer, but you don’t want to risk annoying the person who could be your manager with what they might see as petty demands. However, HR might be in charge of hiring multiple people, so could be reluctant to change your offer, whereas the boss might be more willing to accommodate a special request.
Understand Their Constraints
The person interviewing you might like you. They might think that you deserve what you’re asking for. However, they still might give it to you, because they have constraints they can’t work around, such as salary caps. Your job is to work out where they have flexibility and where they don’t. For example, if you’re interviewing with a large company that is hiring 15 similar people at once, they probably won’t give you a higher salary than the others, but they might be willing to be flexible on start dates, signing bonuses, or vacation time. If you’re negotiating with a smaller company that has never hired someone in your role, there could be more room to adjust the salary or job title, but not other parts of the offer. If you understand the contracts, you are more likely to be able to propose options that work for both sides.
Be Prepared For Tough Questions
A lot of job candidates get hit with difficult questions that they were hoping not to be asked, like whether they have any other offers, will they say yes to an offer, or whether the company is your first choice. If you’re not prepared for these, you might give an answer that is evasive or untrue. Never lie in a negotiation. It can all too easily come back to bite you, and it’s unethical. The other risk is that when faced with a hard question, you might try too hard to place and lose your leverage. You need to prepare for questions that would put you on the back foot, make you feel uncomfortable, or expose a weakness. You want to be able to answer honestly without looking like an unattractive candidate and without giving up your bargaining power.
By preparing for those awkward questions in advance, you can make sure you have strong answers ready and avoid being put off in the interview room. Here at PayCheck Guru, we provide insurance to protect your income capability for those of you in employment situations that may be volatile or unstable. Don’t go through the stress of wondering how your bills will be paid if you lose your job due to no fault of your own.