In my last blog, I outlined why you should always negotiate. Now I want to pass on some tips to help achieve a successful negotiation. I like to think everything is negotiable – I don’t always get the outcome I want but I always try and give it a go. Sometimes you just have to ask the right questions. I think in my next career move I’d like to be a consumer advocate, I love to take on the big companies when there has been an issue with a service or a product.
If you are negotiating a salary to commence on, make sure you actually do some bench marking so you know what you are worth. If you are going into an HR position for example, think about like industries or like sized companies. No point really comparing yourself to a global company if you are going to a family run business.
On the other hand, don’t sell yourself short. If you are currently working for $65,000 but you are going to a small company where you may have more overall responsibilities, don’t necessarily settle for a much lower amount unless there are other benefits or a definite career path to aspire to or other potential opportunities. Be prepared to discuss the role in some depth.
Having said the points above though, it’s still important to be realistic. If you have applied for a position in a company because of its core values or mission or product or whatever and the salary isn’t as good as what you earn now or you think you are worth more, don’t expect the company will increase their offer to what you expect. If they advertise a job at $60,000 and you are on $75,000 it’s unlikely you would be able to move them that much. Think about why you applied in the first place.
Always be honest and respectful in your negotiation process – it’s often hard enough to take the first step toward a negotiation so don’t then treat it like a game. Remember you want to work here, or continue to work here if this is for a salary increase. You may have to report to the person you are negotiating with and nobody wants that to be awkward.
You can always walk away from a process if it’s too hard but do it with good grace and don’t bear a grudge if you don’t get what you want. If its for a salary increase, at the end of the day you will still have a job and you can always look for another one. There’s always likely to be other opportunities to negotiate a salary increase.
If you are negotiating for your dream job and not getting what you want, consider if this is really your dream job, or accept the salary offered and think about other employment conditions that could be negotiated. Could you work form home sometimes to save travel costs, are there salary sacrifice options, is there a uniform allowance that will save you money on clothes?
So there are some tips but what really makes a successful negotiation though? Can everyone be a winner? Most books on the topic like to tell you that you always want a win/win outcome but I think it really depends on what you want to achieve? Using point 3 above, If you think you’re worth $75,000 but you are applying for jobs worth $60,000 and you can’t negotiate any higher than this, you may not feel like you have won anything, in fact you may feel despondent that you have to take such a large pay cut but if its your dream company and there are great career paths you may not be in that position very long anyway. You took a risk, you won the job, you had a crack at negotiating, you still have the job and you’re on your way! To me, thats a win!