I totally get that the current job market has left candidates with minimal options and less leverage, while employers are better positioned to dictate the terms
Those who are unemployed, or whose current job seems shaky, have seen their current bargaining power further reduced.
But … this type of job market creates huge opportunities for those who can skillfully navigate the terms and conditions of employment.
Rules for negotiating:
1. Don’t underestimate the importance of likability. People will only fight for you IF they like you! This means skillfully navigating things like: appearing to be greedy; petty; or persistent.
2. Help them understand why you deserve what you are requesting. Ok great, they like you – now they have to believe that you are worth it! Don’t just state what you want – explain why you deserve it! Storytelling matters here. You have to justify it.
3. Be attainable! This means that if they go and fight for what you want, you will say yes in the end. No one wants to use their capital if in the end – you will say NO. You could mention that you have other options, but you have to explain why you are ready to forgo all of them for this ONE!
4. Companies don’t negotiate; people do! Understand who is in front of you. If you know your audience – you have the leverage. Example: HR hires a lot of people – they are unlikely to break the mold for you. So negotiate the details with your future boss if you can.
5. Understand their constraints. In an interview process figure out where they are flexible and where they have no room to give. Be nimble!
6. Consider the entire package! It’s not just about the salary. There are close to 30 items that comprise the package! Don’t be blind! (more on this in our “Everything is Negotiable” blog)
7. Negotiate multiple issues simultaneously. This means don’t go back to the well multiple times – ask for what you want in one list.
8. Do NOT – give ultimatums. Ultimatum is not a show of strength. Don’t use them!
9. Don’t take it personally! The answer is not a personal attack on you and is not a reflection of your skill or worth!
10. Perspective matters! You can have the exact “package” you asked for but unless it’s the right employer for you this “golden cage” won’t make you happy