Friday, February 11, 2011

Get the most out of an offer - How to negotiate

Once you've gotten an offer for a job, a big mistake you could make is immediately accepting it without discussing the terms and seeing what more you can get.

Most of the time, companies are flexible and are willing to work with a candidate they desire for the position. And it's not just about salry either. Benefits, vacation time, stock options - anything can be put on the negotiating table to sweeten the deal.

Here we offer our seven step negotiation system.

1. Be sincere and resonable - Don't be cold and calculating
You're setting the tone for a long-term relationship, so confrontation isn't the best way to establish that relationship. And for many people, simply the act of negotiation implies a certain air of confrontation. But it doesn't have to be this way, nor should it be. The best negotiators are well-prepared and never cause irritation. Be sincere and use reason when making your points. Always make sure you have clear ideas about what you want, and at the same time, understand that some of these objectives might not be met.

2. Avoid premature income discussions
Negotiating is a lot like poker - you never want to lay your earnings on the table and base it off of where you've been. Premature discussions about money can be a real deal breaker. And holding off builds an employer's excitement about bringing you on. The more enthusiastic an employer becomes about you, they'll likely be willing to pay more. If the topic gets pressed, then say you'd like to avoid talking about compensation until a more appropriate time. Always be gracious.

3. Never commit when you get an offer
When offered a job, praise the firm and say you need some time to consider it. Once you've decided that you do want to go forward, ask for the offer in writing as well as for several days to respond, depending on the situation.

4. Learn to use vulnerability
A little vulnerability can be a powerful weapon. Just let the employer know that accepting the job as offered would cause some personal difficulties. When you use this strategy, you play to their desire to make you happy. Be flattered by the offer, but say that you may have to disappoint your family in order to afford the job. Questioning rather than demanding is the rule. The best negotiators persuade through questions.

5. Negotiate the job responsibilities
A driver in determining the salary for a position is what the position's responsibilities are. The more the responsibilities then the more the pay will be for it. So it makes sense that if you negotiate the terms of what the job entails, then you are negotiating the salary as well, at least that's how you can use this method to your advantage. Sell your experience and how it could be used to improve other areas of the firm that aren't mentioned in the job description, showing them how you've contributed to similar situations in the past.

6. Introduce other things on which to base the offer
The importance of the job at the firm, what you would make with a raise where you are, your total package, what the market is for your background, other offers you're considering - all of these can be used to help sway the interviewer into seeing things your way and making the deal make more sense.

7. Use your enthusiasm throughout
If you load maximum enthusiasm into your statements, it becomes nearly impossible for the employer not to conclude that you should not be with them. Enthusiasm assumes even more importance when you have been underpaid. Ideally, an offer should be based on your value to the company, but in reality, most employers will base their offers on present earnings.

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