And here are the Career Test Results!
1. You have a job interview tomorrow. You choose a nice, professional outfit, you have a clean copy of your resume, and you have practiced typical interview questions including how much you expect to make. You are ready, so you can relax now!
Wrong! You may not think this is about negotiation, but you’re hoping that this relationship ends in the interviewer offering you a job. So in order to be fully prepared you must thoroughly research the company you’re interviewing with. Make sure to include things such as any plans for geographic expansion, new market opportunities, need for bilingual personnel, etc., so that you can present your value and experience with that knowledge in mind. You should also research how much people in similar positions make and, if possible, how in line with industry salaries the company is. In addition, try to find out anything you can about the interviewer herself. The more you know about your interviewer and the company, the better the opportunities to negotiate from a position of strength.
2. During the job interview you and the interviewer get along famously. You’re sure that you’re the perfect fit for the position and are excited about the possibilities. As the interview comes to an end, the recruiter says she’ll get back to you with an offer. You think about telling her that you’re interested in the job, but you hold off because you believe you’ll look stronger if you let her come back with an offer first.
Wrong! As in situation 1 you may not think this is about negotiation, but once again, it is. Many candidates feel that they are in a stronger position if they play hard to get. Yet it’s critically important to express your interest in a job because if the recruiter is choosing between two candidates with similar qualifications, they will go with the one who has shown real interest in the job. If you like the job and you want it, ask for it!
3. You are discussing a promotion with your boss and are excited about the opportunity. It’s the job you were hoping he’d offer you. You hear his offer and, rather than giving him an answer right away, you tell him you will think about it and get back to him the following day.
Right! Even though you should go to the meeting with a number in mind along with a detailed record of your accomplishments, you never know what they are going to offer you. In a salary negotiation it’s never only about the salary. Additional considerations such as benefits, equity, vacation, and flexible time make it a good idea for you to graciously acknowledge the offer and reply that you’d like to evaluate all aspects of it and come back with an answer in a day or two. But be sure to let him know that you’re enthusiastic about the opportunity. You just want a bit of time for evaluation of all aspects.
4. You’d like to move to a different department within your company where you can challenge yourself while putting your higher skills to use. You know the head of that department. A colleague suggests that you send an email detailing how you could contribute to that department’s bottom line and that you attach your resume. You decide to walk over and speak to the head of the department directly.
Right! Given the opportunity it’s always better to approach someone in person. The face-to-face meeting gives you the chance to offer more information and to negotiate options as you observe the person’s facial expressions and non- verbal clues. It’s harder to change things once you put them in writing. This is a critical point for younger workers more used to communicating via electronics.
5. Your company is interviewing external people for a job you want. You have no experience and you estimate that you know about 60% of what’s needed to do the job. Yet you think that your advantages are that: Many of your skills will be transferable, you know the culture of the company, and you’re willing to learn in the job. You decide to apply for it
Right! You don’t need to know 100% of your next job in order to take it. Employers appreciate ambitious employees and it’s always easier and more economical to promote people than to hire new personnel. You knowing the culture is a big plus, as are having transferable skills and the willingness to work hard.
6. You work on salary plus bonus and your accomplishments this year lead you to believe you deserve a good bonus. But asking for money has always made you uncomfortable and anxious which in turn makes you look undeserving. You’ve been thinking about scheduling a meeting with your boss for several weeks. Finally, tired of waiting until you are calmer, you schedule a meeting with your boss right away.
Right! Studies show that procrastination worsens your anxiety when it comes to negotiation. So if this is a topic that makes you nervous, rather than waiting passively you should role-play with a friend, write notes of what you’d like to say and practice them on your own, or discuss it with a mentor and get going. Practicing how you’re going to approach the subject, and preparing any supporting data are the best ways to come out ahead.
7. You are a woman going through several rounds of interviews for an executive position in a company where the majority of the executives are men. You decide to wear a conservative, dark suit, and to turn down the volume on your passion and your lively communication style. You want to come across as trustworthy and competent so you speak in a direct, matter of fact way in order for the men to feel they can relate to you.
Wrong! On one hand, research shows that, although a direct style works well for men, it doesn’t work that well for women. Women are more successful when they leverage their softer side, when they show their empathy, listening skills, friendliness, and ability to build consensus. On the other hand, if you change who you are and how you present yourself at an interview to be what you think the recruiter wants you to be, even if you’re successful at the interview, as you start working at that company your personality will eventually come through. This has the potential of making many people unhappy. Being yourself during the interview, so that the recruiter can see who they are recruiting, is the best way to get a job.
8. You’re negotiating a contract for a new job that will pay you an advance against commissions. You ask for a guarantee (a minimum you’ll be paid regardless of how much you make on commissions.) You’ve agreed on the amount of the guarantee. You ask for a year’s guarantee and they come back with a six-month offer. It seems to you your only option is to propose a nine-month guarantee because compromise is what negotiation is all about.
Wrong! There’s seldom only one option. You could insist that any job that works on commission requires a certain amount of investment and that six months is not enough time to develop sales prospects and close sales. Always think of alternative options that are favorable to both parties rather than accepting the first counter offer when it doesn’t work for you.
9. You have to negotiate a large proposal with a new client that you know very little about. You work out all your numbers and review everything you’ll be responsible for including the time and resources investment on your part. You know exactly what you need to get out of the negotiation. So you go ahead and write the proposal which you’ll have to negotiate in person after you submit it.
Wrong! You need to do as much research about your client and find out what success looks like for them and negotiate from a win-win position. What will make them happy? What will make them look good in front of their bosses and customers? What are the risks from their perspective? Always remember that the most successful negotiations are those where both parties walk away feeling that they got a great deal.
10. You walk into the room where you’ll be negotiating a contract with a client. There will be two people from your company (you and someone else) and two from your client’s. You make sure that you are seated next to the key decision maker rather than across the table where you could see him/her better.
Right! When you sit next to someone, it’s easier to see things from their perspective. You can relate better to them by using body language that shows your friendliness and even, when appropriate, lightly touching his/her arm to connect at a human level. And it’s better not to set up the room in an “us vs. them” style. It’s better to sit together, so you feel like partners instead of adversaries. This is a strategy effectively used by world renown former Ecuadorian Ambassador to the U.S. and international negotiator Ivonne Baki.
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