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…the overarching theme to successful job negotiations is to be respectful and reasonable at all times. Be sure to keep this guiding principle before you, and then jump in. There is some truth to the adage that you get half of what you ask for, and none of what you don’t.
…Preparation involves knowing your minimum needs and your alternatives to the negotiation (another offer in the wings, staying put at your current job, unemployment, etc.). In addition, you should do your homework and know a lot about the company, their business, and their style of negotiating (in part by talking to as many insiders as you can both before and during the interview process)…
…don’t jump the gun by either putting your own numbers on the table first or by getting too far in the process without written confirmation of the details.
…Focus on a good balance between the long-term gains (career building, relationships and/or family needs) and short-term gains (salary, bonuses).
Remember that you will want to provide a rational justification for every one of your requests. Not only does it make you seem more reasonable, but it may help the hiring manager justify the concession to other inside the firm, or finding another way to meet the underlying interests.
Remember that the company you are dealing with is looking at you as a potential colleague in addition to negotiating your contract, so pay attention to the impression that you are making.
Make sure you place your full attention on everything the other side is saying, and are not thinking ahead to the next question you want to ask. Take a break from the negotiation any time you feel emotions getting the better of you, or feel your attention waning for any other reason.
Remember that you are in sales from the moment you send your resume until the day you start the job. Part of what you need to sell is your enthusiasm for the job and the company. Don’t fall into the all-too-common trap of letting your negotiating nerves come across as indifference about the job.
Two general strategies will help you use a headhunter most effectively: 1) as much as possible, proceed offer by offer without giving absolutes about where your actual cutoff values are (that is, the minimum you would take); and 2) maintain a direct line of communication with the hiring manager even when going through a headhunter. This way, there is a “backup” channel of communication in case things do not proceed smoothly through the headhunter.
This strategy could work for you, but it could also backfire and have some pretty unpleasant consequences.
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