Go back to Job Search Prep Syllabus.
Many people fear negotiatons… which is silly. There’s no need, especially at this phase in your career, when you have zero power. Why stress about something that’s outside your control?
The way I see it, many new careerists stress that they’ll “leave value on the table” and not negotiate the best deal possible. Well, of course you’ll leave value on the table! Of course you’ll negotiate a suboptimal deal! You’ve never done this before, you’re a rookie, and it’s folly to expect that your first time out, you’ll negotiate like a master!
Some things to keep in mind:
Most people approach negotiations positionally: I want to get paid $50k, you want to pay me $40k, we settle at $45k… or you tell me that $40k is your highest and best offer and that I can take it or leave it.
Good negotiators have a different mentality. They focus on creating as much “value” as possible before divvying it up, and they do this by asking questions about why the positions are what they are. “Why $40k?” “Is that a hard-and-fast salaray band? Do you offer more where performance merits it, or are all bonuses and raises based solely on tenure?” These kinds of questions are called “getting to interests,” and they are useful in making sure that you are negotiating the best deal possible… keeping in mind that you have no power and so probably still won’t be able to capture the value you create. (C’est la Vie.)
Things you can do to get to interests and maximize your chances of getting a less-sucky deal:
One final thought: Keep the humanity in the discussion. You are at an informational disadvantage here—and no matter what you know, you probably won’t be able to close this gap. Let that be OK.
Earlier, when learning about the company, it was critical to know as much as possible. And then when we talked about relationship building, again you wanted to learn. Now, in your negotiation, you should find out what standard comp is for someone in your position, you should find out what people are saying about the company, etc., but you should also be prepared to hear: “Look, I understand you’ve done your homework, but this is what the offer here is.” You NEVER want to paint yourself in a negotiating corner like this, especially in this market.
The reason has nothing to do with the offer, either: it has to do with the *next* conversation… if you get an ultimatum, and accept, you are now subordinate to the person informally as well as formally. They own you psychologically—they said jump, and you said OK—and you may never recover from that power imbalance for as long as you work there. Also, if you push back on the ultimatum, you’re gone. There are too many people gunning for that job in this economy for the company to give away that psychological power. Better to leave the issue unaddressed.
Pick up a copy of Getting to Yes. Read it. You should be able to read it cover-to-cover in four days, max.
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