3 Sure-Fire Negotiating Tips for Women to Get Hired

Three amazing negotiating tips that will turn you into an irresistible candidate!

It’s ironic that we still need to discuss negotiating tips for women when women have a ton of advantages over men when it comes to negotiation. We are great listeners, we have a cooperative style, and we are naturally equipped with the most powerful tool of all – empathy!

The problem is that, unless you are ultra aware of your advantages and you learn how to use them for your own benefit, they are worthless. Keep them front and center and combine them with these powerful negotiating tips, and you’ll never complain that you make less than your male counterpart again.

3 Sure-Fire Negotiating Tips for Women

1Showing (not telling) your value

Angie was looking for a job as director of training and development in order to leave her current position. She felt that her employer lacked real commitment to professional development of women employees. A friend referred her to an opening as a manager of training and development, which was below her current pay scale. But because it was at a company Angie really liked, she applied nevertheless.

More negotiating salary tips you can't miss!

She went through three levels of interviews, and at every step she asked lots of questions regarding the company’s vision and the short- and long-term goals for retention and promotion of female personnel. Armed with this information, Angie offered valuable suggestions. She also brought up potential challenges that the company might face, along with ways to overcome them.

Show the value you bring to the table - 3 Sure-Fire Negotiating Tips for Women

Show the value you bring to the table
Photo taken at NAHJ workshop conducted by Mariela Dabbah

Through it all, Angie remained honest, was generous with her ideas, and avoided attaching herself to the outcome of the interview process, which enabled her to be authentic. She knew that the best way to start a new relationship with a potential employer was by being herself.

As a result, the interviewers were so impressed with Angie that they decided to create a new job description so that they could hire her as a director, rather than as a manager. This would enable them to pay her what she really deserved. So before Angie had even begun to negotiate her salary, the hiring team already knew they needed to sweeten their offer to entice her to leave her current job and come to work for them.

2Projecting your experience into your future potential

It’s a well-known fact that women candidates are more often judged on their experience while men are judged on their potential. So what’s a woman to do during the interview process to set up the stage in her favor?

Lily Benjamin, VP Global Talent Management and D&I PVH Corp., suggests that you integrate your past experience into concrete examples that demonstrate the depth and breadth of that experience. Choose examples that show how flexible you are during periods of change and ambiguity. And then take it all into the future to paint a clear picture of where you could take your skills next. What you could do for this organization to help them achieve their goals. How you are willing to take risks and are ready to embrace new challenging assignments.

3 Sure-Fire Negotiating Tips for Women | Lily Benjamin, VP Global Taent Management and D&I at PVH Corp.

Negotiating tips from one of the top leaders in Talent Management

Benjamin also point out the need to promote yourself healthily during the interview. And a good way to do so is by sharing the fact that you are a sought-after thought leader in your industry and within your organization. That you are the go-to person when a fresh perspective is needed to solve problems, develop a new product, identify a new market, and so on. Or that you are frequently invited to present at industry conferences. In other words, that you are seen by others as a leader.

3Always connect yourself to the bottom line

In a recent article, Jeff Haden, Inc. Magazine Contributing Editor, suggests that the one question every interviewer should ask of their candidates is, “What one skill do you possess that will most benefit our bottom line?” Haden argues that this is a great conversation starter for the recruiter to build on rather than having a list of canned questions that don’t relate much to what they need for the open position. I completely agree that this question focuses attention in what really matters to the company.

Test your Negotiation Skills with this fun Quiz!
Connect your skills to the bottom line | 3 Sure-Fire Negotiating Tips for Women to Get Hired

Connect your skills to the bottom line
Photo Credit: Michaelangelo’s hands painting

Conversely, if even when you’re not asked the question directly, you prepare for the interview keeping it top of mind, you’ll position yourself as a much more attractive candidate. You do this by finding opportunities (and giving concrete examples) to confidently convey how your skills would positively affect the company’s bottom line. In the process you show your knowledge of the company’s business and an understanding that every function has a responsibility for driving profitability. And of course, the best way to really connect these dots is by learning as much as possible about the culture and what drives value for the company you’re interviewing with.

The reality is that the negotiation process starts with the first interview. When you present yourself as a knowledgeable candidate (and you prove it by showing your value rather than only talking about it), you substantially increase your negotiating position way before it’s time to discuss a concrete offer.

Find the support you need as you negotiate your next job offer or your next promotion in our community. Sign up for the Step Up Program today and be you, amplified!

How to Ace the Interview & Handle Tough Interview Questions

Everyone who’s looking for a new job worries about handling tough interview questions and figuring out how to ace the interview. The key is to be ready for anything the interviewer might ask you. We show you how to prepare to ace the interview.

Most people think that there’s a magic formula to handle tough interview questions, but, unfortunately, there isn’t any insider’s secret that will guarantee you ace the interview. And there is no way to predict what interview questions you’re going to be asked. There are, however, a lot of things you can do before the interview so that you’re ready for almost anything the interviewer might ask you.

The best way to ace the job interview is by preparing to handle all questions. Rehearse with a friend or in front of a mirror. Photo Credit:

The best way to ace the job interview is by preparing to handle all questions. Rehearse with a friend or in front of a mirror.
Photo Credit:

Ace the Interview – Be ready to discuss job transitions

When you’re asked interview questions about your work or education history and you stumble and stammer, it sounds like you have something to hide. Questions about why or when you moved from one company to another shouldn’t require a lot of introspection. So you need to be completely prepared for interview questions about your job moves. Even if it was a long time ago, you should still be able to answer why you left your first job and moved to another company. That’s not the sort of thing that people forget.

If you were fired from a job and/or have a gap (or gaps) in your history, you can expect the interviewer to ask about it. So you need to work out a comfortable way to present whatever happened before you walk in the interviewer’s door. Practice explaining all of your job transitions in front of a mirror or with a friend. Or write them down and read them out loud until they sound natural and unrehearsed. If you sound uncomfortable with a particular question, the interviewer will likely think there is something more that you aren’t telling. And saying, “Oh, it was just time for a move” doesn’t cut it.

Also, “Why did you leave Company A?” and “Why did you join Company B?” are not the same interview questions. And you need to be able to answer both. When an interviewer asks, “Why did you leave Company A?” she wants to know what wasn’t working at Company A that made you consider another position. Were you “blocked” from further advancement by a boss who wasn’t moving up? Was the company doing poorly? Something else? And when an interviewer asks, “Why did you join Company B?” she wants to know what was attractive about Company B. Was there an opportunity to do something new that you had always wanted to do? Was it a new industry that was exciting? Something else?

Ace the Interview – Be ready to explain how your skills fit the job requirements

Take a risk! You don't need to be a perfect match to be a great candidate for a job. Read how to handle tough interview questions and ace that interview!!

Take a risk! You don’t need to be a perfect match to be a great candidate for a job.

Read and re-read the job description before the interview. You should be prepared for questions about anything mentioned in the job description. For every responsibility or requirement, think about what specific skills and experiences you have that make you qualified for that job. Think of specific examples for each skill and experience you identify. If the job description says that the company wants someone with multicultural marketing experience, be prepared to describe specific programs you’ve been responsible for – including quantitative details like size of the programs and impact on revenues.

And if there’s something on the job description that you haven’t done, then think about experience you have that is similar and how that will help you. Or be ready to describe a situation where you hadn’t had specific experience but you were able to get up to speed quickly. This is particularly important for women, who tend to think they need to match the job description 100% before they feel qualified to interview for a job. Going through this thought process will build your confidence that you’re really right for the job. And that confidence will be visible to the interviewer.

Tough Interview Questions – Tell me about yourself

This is a typical interview question, so make sure you’re ready to answer it. Sometimes the interviewer is using this as a test to see if you can present yourself clearly and concisely without rambling on and on.(Bilingual professionals should practice this trait given that in stressful situations it tends to be harder to communicate in a second language.) . But sometimes this is just how the interviewer chooses to break the ice and get the conversation started. Either way, be prepared. Your answer should include a bit more information than your “elevator pitch,” but it’s just an introduction. There will be more questions, so don’t go on for 15 minutes answering this first one.

You might talk about your current position – how many years you’ve been with the company, what position you started in, how you moved in the company to get to your current role, your key current responsibilities, what you’ve found challenging or exciting, etc. Or you might give a very brief chronological overview – where you got your degree, where you started your career, how you got to where you are today. Be sure to practice your answer to this question, so you don’t stumble around as you decide where to start.

Some interviewers ask oddball questions to test your creativity and whether you get flustered. Expect the unexpected. Read how to handle tough interview questions and ace that interview!! Photo Credit:

When asked “tell me about yourself” focus on your career and not on your kids, the sports you love or your last vacation.
Photo Credit:

And keep in mind, when the interviewer says, “Tell me about yourself,” she isn’t asking about your personal life. It’s OK to include something personal, but she’s more interested in your career than your kids, or what sports you played in college. I once asked this question, and the person I was interviewing said, “I’m really fun at parties!” That’s not a bad trait, but it isn’t the first thing I want to hear about during an interview.

Tough Interview Questions – What are your strengths and weaknesses?

One of the easier typical interview questions is, “What are your strengths?” When you pick which strengths to highlight, be sure to choose strengths that will be relevant to the job you’re interviewing for.

A somewhat tougher interview question is, “What are your weaknesses?” Personally, I don’t ask this question, because I think most candidates don’t answer this honestly. But a lot of interviewers do ask this, so you should be ready for it. There are a couple of ways to answer. You can pick something that you don’t have experience with or aren’t very good at but isn’t a requirement for the job anyway. For example, speaking in front of large groups. Or you can pick something that is a weakness you are working on improving. “In the past I’ve had some trouble with delegating, but I’ve been working on that and it’s helped me meet objectives faster.”

Oddball Interview Questions

Sometimes you’ll be asked oddball interview questions. There’s a great list compiled by Glassdoor ( that includes, “How many cows are in Canada?” and “Which kitchen utensil would you be?” There is absolutely no way to prepare for interview questions like this. What the interviewer is trying to do is observe your thinking process. She wants to see if you get flustered or if you come up with a creative and/or thoughtful answer.   So just have fun with oddball interview questions and don’t let them make you nervous.

There’s no reason that you can’t ace the interview. Just understand the details of the job and then prepare, prepare, and prepare.

Would you like to comment on how you successfully handled tough interview questions?