Negotiation Starts With Knowledge
The universe of what a company can offer will differ for every company, and you can get a good idea of what your future employer may allow by looking at the company culture. No matter how honed your negotiating skills may be, asking for the right to wear flip-flops in a corporate law office is going to be a nonstarter.
Before you enter the room to negotiate, make sure you’re prepared and have the knowledge necessary to speak with authority. Here are five places to start:
1. Research the company. The first step in negotiating a compensation package is to know the atmosphere of the office you’re entering. You’ll pick up a lot of this during the interview process, but some extra due diligence certainly couldn’t hurt. Read online reviews and pore over the company’s website and social media accounts. Pay particular attention to posted photos and the company’s mission statement. Those can give clues about the environment, whether it’s suit-and-tie formal or loose-and-groovy casual.
2. Know the key figures. Make sure you know the style and outlook of the leaders in the organization because they’re the ones who set culture and policy. Make it a regular practice to read bios about the company, the president, and/or the CEO for any company you consider. It’s much easier to get a feel for an organization’s culture if you can get an impression of its leader.
3. Talk to current employees. No one will be able to provide a better outlook on the world you’re getting into and what you could reasonably negotiate than an inside voice. If you already know someone working at the company, ask what benefits are available and what attracted he or she to work there.
4. Know your own strengths and weaknesses. I’m not an eloquent public speaker; it’s actually something I loathe. However, in the right setting and with the right equipment, I find the task less painful. But I would never take a job where my primary responsibility was public speaking, no matter how good an employment package I negotiated for myself. No salary is worth my happiness. This is an honest consideration you need to make: Is a pot of gold tempting you into a job you’ll hate?
5. Always be ready to walk away. There is no negotiation if you simply accept whatever the company offers you. Unless you’re looking at a dream job that you would willingly do for nothing, there is always a threshold to what you should willingly settle for. Employers can sense when there’s a line they can’t cross in negotiations, and the strength of your counteroffer is based on you sticking to your guns.
If you’ve done your research, asked for what you want, and landed the perfect job, then the next part should be easy. Work hard and enjoy yourself. And save a free bagel for the rest of us.
About the Author: Daniel Wesley is the founder of Quote.com, the ultimate web destination to get an insurance quote.