11 Commandments For Smart Negotiating
1 - BE PREPARED.
The more information you have about your market value and theprospective employer, the greater your likelihood of success. This is the first commandment because it's the most important. There's awealth of information available on the Internet, at the public libraryand through professional associations and networking groups. Timespent learning how to negotiate and preparing for negotiations may bethe best investment you'll ever make.
2 - RECOGNIZE THAT EMPLOYMENT NEGOTIATIONS ARE DIFFERENT.
When the negotiations are over, you'll have to work with the personwith whom you're negotiating. Moreover, your future success may dependon that person. So, while you want to negotiate the best possibledeal, you need to do so in a way that doesn't damage your image. Atthe same time, the employer's primary concern isn't negotiating theleast expensive compensation package it can get away with. Rather,their focus will be on getting you to accept the job.
3 - UNDERSTAND YOUR NEEDS AND THOSE OF THE EMPLOYER.
To be successful in this type of negotiation, you need to examine yourpriorities. What do you really want? Are you comfortable with a lowsalary and a large equity stake? Are you able to handle dramaticswings in income from year to year? Understanding your needs will alsohelp you determine the type of company you want to work for. Forexample, a family-owned company may be able to offer a competitivesalary and a large bonus based on results, but may not be willing tooffer significant equity to a non-family member. A start-up company,on the other hand, may not be able to offer market salary, but willtypically offer stock options. By recognizing what an employer can andcan't do, you'll be able to determine what issues you should press.
4 - UNDERSTAND THE DYNAMICS OF THE PARTICULAR NEGOTIATIONS.
Sometimes you'll have skills that are in great demand. And sometimes,you may be one of several qualified candidates the company would behappy to hire. Sizing up the situation and understanding the relativeposition of each party will help you determine when to press youradvantage and when to back off.
5 - NEVER LIE, BUT USE THE TRUTH TO YOUR ADVANTAGE.
It's not only wrong to lie, but in employment negotiations, it'sineffective. If you lie during negotiations, sooner or later you'relikely to be caught. Once you are, even if you don't lose the offer,you'll be at a tremendous disadvantage, and your credibility willalways be suspect. On the other hand, total candor wont be rewarded.You're under no obligation to blurt out everything you know. You candetermine what you want to say and how you want to say it, and try toput everything in its most positive light. One key element of yourpreparation should be to recognize areas of concern so you canrehearse how to handle them when they inevitably come up.
6 - UNDERSTAND THE ROLE FAIRNESS PLAYS IN THE PROCESS.
The guiding principle for most employers when negotiating is fairness.Within the constraints of their budget and organizational structure,employers usually will agree to anything that's fair and reasonable tohire someone they want. Appeals to fairness are your most powerfulweapon. Thus, you should be able to justify every request you make interms of fairness. For example, if other computer programmers insimilar companies are being given sign-on bonuses, you should expectto be treated no differently. Your prospective employer will want youto accept it's offer and feel that you've been treated fairly.Understanding the importance of fairness as a negotiating principlecan make the difference between success and failure.
7 - USE UNCERTAINTY TO YOUR ADVANTAGE.
The more information you convey to a potential employer about yourbottom line, the more likely it will limit what you get. Before makingan offer, a company typically tries to determine what it will take foryou to accept the position. With that information, the prospectiveemployer will be able to determine the minimum package it needs tooffer. While they may not offer you as little as they can get awaywith, if you've divulged too much information, they likely wont offeryou as much as they might have otherwise. By not disclosing exactlywhat your current compensation is or exactly what it would take to getyou to leave your job, you'll force a potential employer to make it'sbest offer.
8 - BE CREATIVE.
Consider the value of the total package. Look for different ways toachieve your objectives. Be willing to make tradeoffs to increase thetotal value of the deal. If you're creative, you can package what youwant in ways that will be acceptable to the company. You'll also beable to find creative "trades" that allow you to withdraw requeststhat might be problematic to the company in return for improvements inareas where the company has more flexibility. That way, you canmaximize the value of the package you negotiate.
9 - FOCUS ON YOUR GOALS, NOT WINNING.
Too often in negotiations, the act of winning becomes more importantthan achieving your goals. And it's also important not to make yourfuture boss feel as if he's lost in the negotiations. You'll havegained little by negotiating a good deal if you alienate your futureboss in the process.
10 - KNOW WHEN TO QUIT BARGAINING.
The one sure way to lose everything you've obtained is to be greedy.There comes a point in every negotiation when you've achievedeverything you could have reasonably expected to gain. While mostcompanies will want to treat you fairly and make you happy, fewcompanies want a to hire a prima donna. Being perceived as greedy orunreasonable may cause the deal to fall apart. Even if it doesn't,you'll have done immeasurable harm to your career. This brings us tothe 11th and most important commandment:
11 - NEVER FORGET THAT EMPLOYMENT IS AN ONGOING RELATIONSHIP.
Job negotiations are the starting point for your career with acompany. Get too little and you're disadvantaged throughout yourcareer there; push too hard and you can sour the relationship beforeit begins.
Understanding these principles will allow you to effectively negotiatethe terms of your new job. Then do your job well and continually seekout new challenges. As you take on added responsibilities and learnnew skills, there will be opportunities to negotiate furtherimprovements.
This article can also be read directly at: http://www.worktree.com/newsletter/salary-negotiation-tips.html
"Helping You Find More Jobs Faster"
Nathan Newberger is the job and career expert at http://www.WorkTree.com Nathan has over 10 years experience in staffing and human resources. He has worked both as a recruiter and career counselor. Mr. Newberger has been the Managing Editor at http://www.WorkTree.com for the past 5 years and his articles have helped thousands of job seekers.