10 rules for negotiating a job offer

10 rules for negotiating a job offer

July 23rd, 2017 Posted by News 0 thoughts on “10 rules for negotiating a job offer”

Picture this scenario: you’ve received an offer for a job you’ll enjoy, but the salary is lower than you think you deserve. You ask your potential boss whether he/she has any flexibility. “We typically don’t hire people with your background, and we have a different culture here,” he/she responds. “This job isn’t just about the money. Are you saying you won’t take it unless we increase the pay?” As a consultant I frequently advise professionals on navigating this terrain. Deepak Malhotra (HBS professor) came up with some rules to guide you in negotiating with employers.

  1. Don’t underestimate the importance of likability. People are going to fight for you only if they like you. Anything you do in a negotiation that makes you less likable reduces the chances that the other side will work to get you a better offer.
  2. Help prospective employers understand. They have to believe you’re worth the offer you want. Never let your proposal speak for itself, explain precisely why it’s justified, without being arrogant.
  3. Make it clear that they can get you. They won’t get any approval for a strong or improved offer if they suspect that at the end of the day, you’re still going to say, “No, thanks.”
  4. Understand the person across the table. Before you can influence the person sitting opposite you, you have to understand her. What are her interests and individual concerns?
  5. Understand his or her constraints. The better you understand the constraints, the more likely it is that you’ll be able to propose options that solve both sides’ problems.
  6. Be prepared for tough questions. “If we make you an offer tomorrow, will you say yes?” “Are we your top choice?” If you’re unprepared, you might say something inelegantly evasive or, worse, untrue. Never lie in a negotiation.
  7. Focus on the questioner’s intent, not on the question. It’s not the question that matters but the questioner’s intent. Often the question is challenging but the questioner’s intent is benign. Never assume the worst and rather ask for a clarification.
  8. Consider the whole deal. “negotiation a job offer” and “negotiating a salary” are not synonymous. Don’t get fixated on money and focus on the value of the entire deal instead.
  9. Negotiate multiple issues simultaneously, not serially. If you ask for only one thing initially, she may assume that getting it will make you ready to accept the offer. Don’t keep saying “and one more thing…”.
  10. Don’t negotiate just for the sake of negotiating. Resist the temptation to prove that you are a great negotiator. If something is important to you, absolutely negotiate. But don’t haggle over every little thing.
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