Organizational Technologies Dorothy Leeds

About Dorothy
Books & Tapes
Contact Dorothy

Negotiation: How to Turn a Job Offer into a Great Deal

by Dorothy Leeds

In these tough times, everyone has to learn to negotiate -- especially if you're looking for a job.  Of course, you need to bone up on all of a job seeker's necessary skills -- networking, writing a dynamite cover letter, asking smart questions at every interview, etc.  But most people neglect to work on their negotiating skills because they feel they'll be thankful just to get a job at all.

The fact is that when you're offered a job, your bargaining power is greater than it will ever be.  If you're saying, "I'd better not ask for too much or they'll just go hire someone else," you'd better think again.  You have just successfully convinced an interviewer of the valuable contribution you can make to her organization.  Don't undermine that effort by selling yourself short.  The interviewer wants you for the job -- and she doesn't want to begin the costly, time-consuming search process all over again.  So you are actually in a very good bargaining position.

Playing Your Cards Right

Negotiating, like poker, is not always about holding the best cards. A good poker player is always looking around, staying aware of body language and nonverbal signs -- yours and the other players'. Your eyes can reveal a lot about you. When you're asking for what you want, look directly at the other person. If you're constantly shifting your gaze or looking down, the implication is that you don't believe in what you're saying. You have nothing to be embarrassed about. It's okay to ask for what you deserve.

Pay attention to how the other person is acting. Ask yourself, "Is this person sending nonverbal signals? If so, what do they mean?" Such signals can tell you when to hold the line and when to push forward. If you're in an interview and the prospective boss is giving you her full attention, then suddenly begins to fidget in her chair, perhaps you've said something to turn her off. Try and find out what it was, or ask a quick question to change the subject.

Secrets to Negotiating Power

Getting what you want takes a winning combination:asking the right questions, mastering your selling skills, and a strong belief in your worth and value to the job. It also takes practice to build skillful negotiating tactics.

Here is a summary of what it takes to be an effective negotiator:

  1. In order to plan your negotiations, you have to have a good idea of the potential employer's wants and needs -- what's important to her.
  2. You are in your strongest negotiating position when you are first offered the job.
  3. Before you begin negotiations, you should conduct a careful economic analysis of what you would like to get from the negotiations, what you would be willing to settle for, and what is your bottom line.
  4. You should show a sincere personal interest in the employer as well as interest in the company, and talk in terms of those interests.
  5. Negotiating with a win-win attitude will generally produce a more equitable result than a competitive me-against-you attitude.
  6. It's usually a good idea to take up less controversial issues first and always establish areas of agreement and an attitude of acceptance.
  7. You must always establish value before you begin negotiations.
  8. Your eyes give you away. Look directly at your negotiating partner without wavering or lowering your lids.
  9. The mouth is also a giveaway.Always begin negotiations with a warm smile, even if you think you're about to disagree.
  10. You come to an agreement only when a final concession is made by one person who feels that the other party will make no further concessions.
  11. One of the best and most effective ways to have your negotiating partner accept your position is to have her participate in the reasoning process that leads to your point of view -- explain why you feel the way you do
  12. Be an active, attentive listener. You may not agree with the other position, but you should never ignore it.
  13. Before you leave the negotiations, always sum up the key points so you are sure that both parties have a clear understanding of the agreement.
  14. Be honest and fair and expect your counterpart to be the same.
  15. Studies show that a negotiator who initially asks for more and offers to give less usually winds up obtaining more and giving less.

Don't sell yourself short. You know your value to the employer. You're not asking for anything you don't deserve. You're not trying to get something for nothing. Negotiating is a way for both of you to come out ahead. Keep this in mind, and you'll always be a winner. It's your work, it's your life. It's your choice. Don't settle for less than you want or less than you deserve.

  Dorothy Leeds
  800 West End Ave.
  New York, NY   10025
  212.932.8364 (FAX)

Workshops | Coaching | Keynotes | Articles | Books & Tapes
About Dorothy | Contact Dorothy | Home

Copyright © 2006   Dorothy Leeds Organizational Technologies