Don’t Hesitate to Negotiate

Negotiate job offerThere are many places in the world where negotiation is an art learned from birth. Every trip to
the market is an exercise in bargaining, so it becomes as natural as asking the butcher to wrap up a steak. The comfort level is high.
But in the United States, negotiation isn’t something that we do every day. In fact, unless you’ve
gone to business school, you may never have negotiated for anything greater than a later curfew. (And that might have involved a lot of pleading or extra chores.)
But we encourage you not to hesitate to negotiate. Consider these compelling statistics from
MIT’s Global Education and Career Development office:
100 percent of employers find it acceptable to negotiate job offers;
90 percent of employers offered less initially because they expected to negotiate;
90 percent of employers want their applicant to accept and be satisfied/happy;
Only about 25 percent of job applicants actually negotiate.
How much money have you left on the table over the course of your career?
If you’re cringing, it’s time to develop your negotiation skills. While this takes practice, there are
a few important points to keep in mind…
You have to be convinced of your worth. How can you expect someone to offer you more when
you’re not sure that you deserve more? You have to think within reason—understand what the
market will bear for your position. But at the same time, evaluate how you can bring something
distinctive to the position and demonstrate your value.
You have to show the employer what’s in it for her. On a related note, you have to be able to
articulate how winning you over with more pay will make life easier for the person with whom you’re negotiating. Perhaps you can complete projects more efficiently because of your technical skills. Perhaps you can alleviate a bottleneck with your management experience. When you can tie your request for more money to a visible return on that investment for the employer, a yes is far more likely.
Remain open to options other than cash. A hiring manager truly may be hamstrung by a budget or a corporate hierarchy. In that case, you many be able to negotiate for more time off, flexible hours, the chance to work from home, a raise more quickly down the road, continuing education or other perks.
Don’t take a “no” personally. If you’re at the beginning of the process, a refusal might only reflect the employer’s inability to give you the first thing you asked for. There still is room to continue the conversation. And it’s hardly negotiation if there isn’t a little back and forth. Get comfortable with the idea that there might be some rejection of your suggestions…not necessarily of you.
Negotiating a job offer is a delicate process, but you shouldn’t shy away from it for that reason. Instead, come practice with Merrfeld, where we can help you answer the tricky questions
(“What were you making at your last job?”) and stay poised when striving to arrive at a mutually agreeable point with someone who could hold your future in his hands. You could get so good that you find yourself next negotiating with the butcher for that steak!
Photo by jesadorn, freedigitalphotos.net

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