Three Keys to Negotiating When You Don’t Have the Upper Hand

Mariana Toledo
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The art of negotiating is something not many are used to. For new job seekers, the idea of negotiating is intimidating, and they don’t know where to start. Once you get a taste of how to negotiate, it’s smooth sailing from here on out. Here are three tips to get you started on your negotiation training.

1. They’re looking to hire you
One of the things I overlooked when first applying to jobs was realizing that companies were looking to hire me. Just as I was looking for a job, they were looking for a suitable employee. If you’re invited for an interview, that means the company is taking time to research you, interview you, and debrief you about the job. With this in mind, you can create some leverage. If you are being considered for other jobs, let them know (but only if it’s the truth—you can’t lie, that’s a no-no. And if their position is your top choice, tell them that, so they’ll want to fight for you for the package you want)! This tells them that you are in high demand, and that you should be considered as a top candidate. This can also segue into negotiating a healthy salary expectation.

2. How much are you making currently?
During the interview process, the interviewer might ask you how much you’re making. They are trying to figure out if your current situation and expectations meet theirs. Interviewers use this information to bring back to their supervisor when comparing you to other candidates. You have to make sure that you aren’t underselling your salary. Most people will tell you to stray away from the salary question. However, it’s important to set your expectations if asked, that way when they start giving you numbers, you’re prepared to negotiate their offer. To know what you’re currently worth, do some research with the use of a salary calculator.

3. You got an offer! What now?
You might get an offer that you hate, love, or want to change one of the details of the job package. If you hate it, this opportunity probably isn’t for you and if you have other companies that are interested in hiring you, you should probably focus on them instead. But if you feel like this is an opportunity worth pursuing, you should negotiate it, the reward is bigger than the risk, in this particular situation. If you are somewhere in between loving and hating it, you should negotiate the offer. But before you negotiate you need to do your research so that you know what similar positions require. Additionally, think of the negotiation as a compromise, not an argument. Be respectful and they will be respectful to you in return. Also, being nice can get you far and the hiring manager will want to help you get what you need to come on board.


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