Negotiating a Job Offer: Scenarios and Secrets 2 of 3

By Simon Ward

As we stated in our previous post – negotiations for job offers are anything but a walk in the park. They can be intimidating, stressful, and downright scary, and every single situation is different. It can be hard, almost impossible to know what to say and do so that you don’t completely blow a great job offer. How do you handle negotiations? What can you do to ensure that you get the best possible offer for the job that you want? Well, before we get into the secrets that you’ll need to negotiate successfully, let’s take a look at three different scenarios that are the most common: (Outlined in our previous post)

It is important to keep in mind that every single situation is different, but there are some great tactics, strategies and secrets that can help you get through many of the problems that most people face when trying to negotiate with potential employers and those they already work for. There are fifteen actually, and for the sake of time we elected to break them down into three separate posts. In this edition, we will cover secrets 4 through 8.

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Secret #4: Put Yourself In Their Chair
Remember that it’s not the company as a whole you’re dealing with, it’s a person. You have to be able to understand the person across from you before you can have any influence over them. Are you dealing with a potential supervisor or an HR representative? A potential supervisor won’t want to hear all of the details of an offer (unless they are hiring you themselves) whereas an HR representative will need to go over all of those details. An HR representative won’t want to break the mold that the other people they hired fit into for you, whereas your potential supervisor (who benefits directly from hiring you) will happily push for a special request.

Secret #5: Everyone Has Constraints
Even the hiring manager sitting across from you had constraints that they have to deal with when hiring people. Make sure that you consider this when you’re negotiating for a position. They may want to give you everything you want to be sure they hire you, but they may be held back by other things, like a salary cap, that nothing can get past. The secret here is to find out where they can give a little. For example, they may have a salary cap where they are hiring 10 other people for the same position, so they can’t give a higher salary to you. However, they might be able to give other perks, such as flexible starting dates, vacation time, and so on. Once you understand that they have constraints too, and figure out what they are, it will be easier to propose other options that work for everyone.

Secret #6: Tough Question Will Come Up
No one likes tough questions in an interview. They make you squirm, they make you sweat, and frankly, the usually scare you a bit. Here are a few of those questions that you will likely come up against:

1. Is our company your top choice?

2. Are you still looking for a job?

3. Do you have any other job offers right now?

4. If we were to make you an offer tomorrow, would you be able to start work immediately?

These are just a few of the questions that interviewers will ask. However, you can be prepared for them and ace them when they do come up in dealing with a potential employer. The key is to be able to answer these questions honestly without looking arrogant or like someone that isn’t really wanting to work for that company. Learning how to answer these calmly will help you get through these tough issues without losing any of your negotiating powers.

Secret #7: Intent Is Always Implied In Questions
So, we’ve gone over the tough questions and how you need to prepare yourself to handle them; but there is another key area of these questions that you need to consider as well. Questions that you’re prepared for are easy to answer, yet when they come at you a different way, it can throw you off guard if you don’t know why they are asking them differently. Here is what you need to know: consider the intent behind the question and not the person asking the question. For example, if you’re asked to accept a job offer tomorrow, don’t feel that the company is trying to pressure you to say yes, they simply want to know if you’re really excited about working for them. Also, if they want to know if you have other job offers, it may not be because they want to pick apart your other offers, but because they want to know that they have a real chance of hiring you, instead of you taking another job after they make an offer. Keep in mind that there is a specific intent behind the question, and don’t automatically assume the worst.

Secret #8: Look At The Offer As A Whole
Unfortunately, a lot of job seekers will consider “negotiating a salary” and “negotiating a job offer” as the same thing when they are not even close. A salary is only part of a job offer, just like vacation time, benefits, and other aspects are part of the same job offer. Don’t allow yourself to get hung up on the salary aspect of a job. Instead, make yourself focus on the deal as a whole: work hours, benefits, opportunities for promotions as well as growth, location, travel, salary, responsibilities and so on. If you don’t consider “how” you will be rewarded and start considering “when” and “why”, you’ll be able to see the job for everything instead of just the money.

More secrets to follow in the next post.