Wednesday, May 10, 2017

It Never Hurts to Ask: Getting Comfortable with Negotiating

Why is it that so many people are uncomfortable with negotiating? I myself spent years as a buyer and negotiated $MM dollar contracts. Yet, my comfort level decreased when I was representing myself in a negotiation. Truth be told, at times the hiring manager or your manager (for an internal  role ) are not at ease with the process either. So, to help raise your comfort level, and their's, here are a few tips to start you off.

TIP #1 ~ Communicate with a professional demeanor at all times. I was so nervous the first time I negotiated that I almost cried in frustration. In this particular situation, my manager "gave in" to my request but we both walked away a bit uncomfortable. I, because my manager really did resist, and when finally agreeing to my salary increase request, told me that I would be making more than my senior peer on the team. (Something that should have never been revealed.) It left a bad taste in my mouth and I left shortly afterwards. However, I now had a higher base to leverage going forward. 

You can negotiate most things if you are professional along the way. You may or may not win what you want, but you will feel better about yourself for trying.

TIP #2 ~ Preparation is 90% of the negotiation. This was called out in my favorite book on the topic, "Getting to Yes" by Fisher, Ury and Patton, new edition. Ask questions along the way about where you will be brought in on the salary range and how the hiring manager decided upon the amount you will be paid. Many people think companies want to offer you the lowest amount possible. In most cases, this is a myth. Companies have developed a fair compensation practice and know that the best candidate for the role deserves a fair salary that will incentivize her or him as an employee.

Always be in preparation mode. In your internal role, after joining a group, find out more about the company ranges and comp philosophy, if you don't already have that information. "Make a friend in HR or Recruiting" Pat Mahony, my friend,  colleague and also a Career Coach, wisely said.

For external roles, research salaries and company comparative ranges on the many salary sites such as and

TIP #3 ~  Be silent at the appropriate moments. After you make your request - don't fill the air with talking but "wait" for their response. Watch for signs of uncertainty on their part and ask more questions to clarify.

TIP #4 ~ Discuss salary earlier rather than later in the process. I have seen individuals lose out because they discussed their requirements too late in the process.

TIP # 5~  Know why you are asking for the salary or hourly amount, or other item such as tuition reimbursement, time off, etc. Never negotiate just for the sake of it. Sometimes this will backfire even in the best of economic times. Have a reason for your negotiation request and present that sound reason.

And, PRACTICE. PRACTICE. PRACTICE. As I said earlier, 90% of negotiations happen behind the scenes.

Wishing you much success and I'm here to be a resource and answer questions.
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