Good negotiators are sympathetic, collaborative, and creative. They bend the rules, question assumptions, and ask unexpected questions. Most importantly, they don’t see negotiation as a zero-sum game. They find what the person at the other side of the table values and try to widen the terrain of negotiation.
To use Haseeb Quershi’s beautiful analogy, slicing a cake can be all about getting fair portions of the cake, but what if I hate corner pieces and you love them? What if I like cherries and you don’t care? Then suddenly, slicing the cake becomes much more interesting and nuanced.
There are many ways to negotiate an offer:
- signing bonus
- relocation expenses
- commuting benefits
- performance bonus
- stipends (education, childcare)
- the team, project, you will work on
- who your mentor will be
Never, ever give out a number first:
Companies know their salary ranges and roughly what you’re worth to them before they ever talk to you (barring phenomenal performance in interviews which kicks you into a different band). They also know what the cost of living is in your area. So they already have all the info they need about you, while you have none about them, the role, or even your market value.
You can say something like:
At this point, I don’t feel equipped to throw out a number because I’d like to find out more about the opportunity first – right now, I don’t have the data to be able to say something concrete. For now I want to ensure this is a good fit for both of us. I am pretty flexible, so I am sure we will figure out something that works.
Don’t be afraid to ask for more time:
Deadlines are often arbitrary, to create artificial pressure on the candidate, and rarely reflect any real urgency. Especially considering the fact that most candidates have 3-month notices they have to adhere to.
- Salary Negotiation Guide, Candor. Concise, and practical. Highly recommended for immediately actionable advice.
- How not to bomb your offer negotiation, Haseeb Qureshi. Fun, compelling, and convincing on why you SHOULD negotiate. Highly recommended. Part 1 is also nice.
- Salary Negotiation: Make More Money, Be More Valued, by Patrick McKenzie (patio11). Long, lengthy and an absolute treasure for salary negotiation. Somewhat edgy, but a great great article. Should read at least once. Recommended to read every once in a while.
- interviewing.io: Exactly what to say when recruiters ask you to name the first number
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