The Salary Negotiation Mistake that’s Costing You

There’s a lot of great negotiating advice out there.

– Prepare and do your homework.
– Research your market value and how to relay it to your new employer.
– Defer the salary discussion until you have an offer.
– Negotiate directly with the Hiring Manager (vs. the Recruiter/HR).
– Stick to facts and leave the emotion out of it.
– Know your BATNA (best alternative to a negotiated agreement), etc.

All of these steps are important if you want to have the best chance of getting the compensation that you deserve.

But, as you get pumped up to go into the salary discussion, armed with your wish list and detailed rationale for why you believe it’s warranted, you’ll get even better results if you add this one strategy to your negotiations.

Go into the negotiation meeting assuming positive intent on the part of the Hiring Manager.

It sounds simple. And while you likely go into negotiations hopeful about the outcome, you also likely anticipate push back.

It’s this expectation that causes many new hires to skip the negotiations altogether, worrying about an awkward exchange, possibly annoying their new Manager, or even that the offer will be rescinded.

Even worse, anticipating push back causes some candidates to go into the negotiations with guns blazing in an effort to “win.” However, this usually becomes a battle of egos and even if you eventually get the compensation you want, you’ll have damaged the relationship. So, you’ve won the battle at the expense of the war.

But, what if you changed your perspective and assumed the Hiring Manager WANTS you to be happy as you come on board? What if you go into the meeting truly expecting a win-win instead of a debate?

While it’s advisable to prepare your rationale (it will give you confidence and you may need to use some of your arguments), you’ll get more if you go in on the offense rather than the defense.

The truth is, Hiring Managers expect you to negotiate and may be surprised if you don’t. Also, they want you to join the company engaged and excited. Unless your requests are completely unreasonable or are presented as demands, they’ll likely be happy to revise the offer if they’re able, even without the dissertation of reasons why you believe it makes sense.

What I’ve learned as both a Hiring Manager and a Corporate Recruiter is that the true art of negotiating lies mostly in the ATTITUDE. When the new hire is collaborative, positive and reasonable, I feel we have the start of a partnership and I’m happy to revisit the offer.

However, if a candidate comes across as defensive, anxious or entitled when negotiating, I’m less inclined to go to bat because I perceive a lack of trust and mutual respect. It also leads me to wonder if I made a hiring mistake.

Going into any negotiation assuming positive intent will always get you further. Whether getting more money in your paycheck, negotiating a lower price on a new car, or attempting to get a better seat on the airplane, approaching the discussion as an ally versus an adversary will be your secret key to success. Try it!

Happy Hunting!

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