Why you must spend some time learning the art of negotiation

Learning the Art of NegotiationYou have to ask for money because there’s always more money and they won’t give it to you because you’re a girl. ~Claire Danes

A new year is often a time when people decide that it’s the right time to change jobs. For whatever reason they decide it’s time to move on.

That’s fair enough; if you’re not enjoying doing whatever you’re doing or you no longer feel challenged by whatever you’re doing then it’s important to find something that really does get you feeling energised again.

However whilst finding a new job is one thing, getting fair recompense for the value you will add is quite another.

As a hiring manager I’ve always been amazed by how many people settled for the first figure offered to them. It’s surprising just how many people have little or no sense of their own worth relative to their skill-set and the real market value of jobs.

Now it’s important to remember that hiring managers work within budgets obviously and they have a duty to their employers to keep costs as low as possible.

When hiring managers are recruiting they’ll know the market rate for the job on offer, or at least the HR department will and they will have advised the hiring manager accordingly.

Nevertheless dear reader you must recognise that the market rate for any job is not a single figure. The market rate falls within a range and it’s the range that will have been supplied by the HR department.

So when the hiring manager decides that you’re the person they want to hire then in negotiating a package with you they will have that range in mind.

Naturally they’ll want to minimise the impact on their budget and so they will attempt to recruit you at the lower end of that range if that’s possible.

Yes, they’ll recognise that they have to offer you a premium on your current salary if it’s to make sense for you to leave your current employer. After all you’re always taking a degree of risk when you change jobs. And so a risk premium must be paid by the hiring manager.

That premium typically will be an uplift of around 10% – 20% above your current salary.

Beyond that, for the hiring manager, it’s all about securing your services for the lowest rate possible within the market rate range. And from a business standpoint that’s fair enough.

It’s the nature of business after all. If fact in our daily lives we’re all trying to purchase products and services for the lowest rate possible; so why should we expect businesses to be any different?

However as a jobseeker, you should be trying to sell your services for the highest price possible. That too is fair game. You must always look after your own interests because if you don’t then no one else will, that’s for sure.

Think about it. In selling products and services, businesses are trying to sell at the highest price the market will stand so they can generate the highest margins possible for their shareholders.

So why shouldn’t you get the best deal possible for yourself, relative to what the market will stand? You must know your own value and you shouldn’t just accept the first figure on offer.

Essentially it’s all a game of horse-trading. The company almost always makes a low offer, so you must try to negotiate a better offer.

To do that, before going into any negotiation, it’s important that you have some idea of the market rate for the role.

That means you need to have done some research to establish the likely range the hiring manager will be working within.

You also need to have a sales pitch available so you can highlight your own unique selling proposition and why you are worth a bit more.

The key message here is that you don’t just accept the first offer.

In today’s quote, originally recorded in the British newspaper the Financial Times, actress Claire Danes reminds us that there will be more money available and if you ask for more you might just surprise yourself.

In making this observation, modestly Ms Danes said that this was what she had learned from older actresses.

It’s a useful tip for every jobseeker, female or male.

Never be afraid to negotiate and when you leave the table make sure you’re taking away as much as you can within reason.

Once again I cannot emphasise this point too much. You must know your own worth, always.

Don’t be bashful; be business-like and make sure you get a fair share of the pie.

As I said earlier, if you don’t look after your own interests, no one else will.

In the year ahead I recommend that you spend some time learning the art of negotiation. It really is a very useful skill to develop.

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