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10.9 Chapter Review and Exercises

Individuals can naturally get intimidated when they have to negotiate, but the truth is that we negotiate things every day, without even realizing it. We negotiate which restaurant to go to, which movie to see, how to best present a project, yet no one feels intimidated or nervous about negotiating.

It’s a given that negotiating for a job has more serious implications that negotiating for what movie to see, but if you’ve done your prep work, it should go very smoothly.

Negotiation is a skill and, like any other skill, practice is critical to succeeding. Role-play with your friends and your contacts at career services. Practice asking for a slightly higher salary with a partner who doesn’t give in easily. Practice asking for a higher salary with a partner who doesn’t give in at all. Respond professionally and appropriately at all times.

When receiving an offer, it’s best to think of the totality of the offer. What makes you happy about the offer? What displeases you and how would you like to see it changed? In some cases, you will not be pleased in the compensation arena because you’ll have less vacation time than you would like or no opportunity for a bonus (at the starting point). Either way, remain professional at all times, and balance and weigh each component, thinking about the long-term potential of the position, the company, and the industry.

Sometimes when you negotiate, hiring managers will go higher with compensation and sometimes they will not. If the compensation is extremely low, much lower than the average, perhaps you should refuse this offer. Consult someone who knows what they are doing: career services, a professional you can trust, or perhaps a career coach. It’s well worth your effort to ensure you move ahead wisely and appropriately.

Some people view compensation as the most important component of an offer, and others, perhaps most, place it in the top three or four components. Other components may include the following:

  • Your manager: Can you adjust to their style?
  • Your company: Does it have a strong brand?
  • Your challenge: Is the job challenging enough, and can you rise to the challenge?

Interview and get multiple job offers and negotiation will be much less stressful.

One final note: don’t forget to follow your gut instincts. We often immediately know whether something is a good or bad idea, and we are usually right. Negotiating can be risky, but you can mitigate that risk by using all of the previous job search steps, and also tuning into and trusting your instincts.

Chapter Takeaways

  • The final step in your job search should be fully supported by all the steps that came before it.
  • Multiple negotiation points can be used when considering an offer. They include base salary and bonus potential; more time to consider accepting the offer; start date (either sooner or later); reporting relationships and potential managerial duties; benefits and insurance; job title and job responsibilities; and work and life balance.
  • Negotiating is a much easier skill to master once you remove the emotional element from the equation.
  • Your posture is immediately improved and visible when you have multiple offers. The more offers you have, the easier it will be to negotiate for a salary increase, or any other component of the offer.
  • At larger firms, recruiters and hiring managers have multiple hoops to jump through before finding the candidate who will receive an offer. This great amount of work gives you leverage to negotiate.
  • Strong communication skills are needed to keep recruiters and hiring managers abreast of offer deadlines.
  • Staying organized is key to the job search process. Using a single page in a playbook that highlights the latest interaction with employers can keep you on track.
  • Closing the offer requires an increase in focus, energy, and drive that will differentiate you from other finalists.
  • Regardless of the level of your career, you will always need negotiation skills, and you will always need to drive toward a closing situation.

Chapter Review

  1. What strategies can you employ to lower the stress involved in negotiating key components of a job offer?
  2. What different items are open to negotiation? Which are cash items and which are noncash items?
  3. Why should you always negotiate?
  4. How do you juggle multiple searches while staying organized? What tool can you use to ensure you don’t miss any deadlines?
  5. How do you negotiate without annoying or alienating your prospective employer?
  6. How can you close the offer strongly and confidently? What do you need to do to rise above the other final candidates?
  7. Why should you seriously consider not taking a job offer if the compensation is ridiculously low? How can that affect future searches?