Whether we like it or not, 50% of most employees don’t negotiate their initial job offer. Some of them simply don’t know how to negotiate, whereas others are afraid that it might offend the interviewer and make them take back their offer. According to a recent survey published by CareerBuilder, it appears that veteran candidates are more likely to negotiate a first offer than job hunters with no work experience at all. Can we assume that graduates can’t land a good job? No, of course not; as long as you have the skills to negotiate and you know your worth, things should end in your favor.
You deserve that job, so make them understand that
It’s not enough to say that you believe you deserve a higher salary. You have to justify your statements and explain why they should take your requirements into consideration. Although you might have to fight to get what you want, try not to be over-ambitious. In the end, they won’t come up with a better offer if they’re not 100% sure you’re a valuable asset to them.
Is your potential employer open to negotiations?
Harvard business students must figure out if a potential employer is open to negotiations. Sometimes, they might not be able to offer you what you want because of internal constraints. Prior to starting a negotiation, determine if they’re flexible or not. Appreciate their offer; for instance, if the firm is hiring 30 other students from your school, it will be pretty hard for them to explain you’re entitled to higher salary. So it might be a very good idea to be pushy.
Make them believe you might accept the job offer
An employer might come up with a better offer if they believe another company is also interested in hiring you; yet, you should let them believe you’re considering their proposal too. How can someone want to hire you if they feel you’ll eventually decline their offer?
Know your counterpart
Graduates believe that the only thing they have to do in a negotiation is to convince their counterparts to agree with their opinions. While that might be true to a certain extent, you must also understand the viewpoint of your opponent. Try to discover their interests, concerns, constraints, and needs. Learn as many details as possible about the business so that you can comprehend their bottom line.
Negotiate multiple aspects at the same time
If you’re dealing with multiple concerns related to their offer, mention them all simultaneously. It’s not a good idea to list only a few details and then talk about the other ones later. This can be pretty maddening for employers, since they want to hear all your concerns so that they can think of a workable solution. Prioritize your requirements and let your counterpart know what matters to you the most.
Pay attention to the meaning of their questions
Most questions asked in a job interview have a hidden purpose. As a recent graduate you might not be aware of that aspect. If you want to give the right answer, ask yourself this: why did they ask you that? Focus both on the question and on the meaning behind it. For instance, when the employer asks if you went for other job interviews, he’s clearly trying to see how fast he must act to convince you to accept his offer before some other business grabs your attention.
Don’t take ultimatums into account
Employers are used to making statements that are often perceived as ultimatums. They do that to show students and rookie employees they’re strong and powerful, but you shouldn’t let them intimidate you. If you notice that a potential employer is trying to force you to accept his offer, maybe it’s better to walk away. After all, you can’t close a deal you’re not satisfied with.
As a recent Harvard graduate, negotiating your first job offer can be a pretty frustrating and nerve-racking experience. The only way to succeed is to be brave and ask for what you want. If you think you deserve something, go get it! Make sure not to cross the limit though, negotiate sensibly, and you might end up with a position that will launch your career.
Davis Miller is a business and education writer who writes articles in related niche. He has an extensive knowledge about business, negotiation and he shares them through his articles. He also writes articles for http://www.thegappartnership.com/ which offers workshops at negotiation. Image courtesy Patricia Drury