Are you too quick to say yes?

The end of university is quickly approaching and like every other student, the job search is already under way. The most overlooked part, in my opinion is negotiating the job offer. All too often people accept a job offer without really thinking it through and sometimes isn’t your best alternative to a negotiated agreement (BATNA). I know this from experience when applying for part time work.

There may be scenarios where an employer can make concessions to an offer. If you take a risk and try and negotiate, it shows that you are more than just a ‘wall flower’.

1.  Work out what you want

Create a list of needs and wants. What salary package will cover your living costs but what else might you want with this job role? Eg, holiday or travel costs covered

2. Do your homework

After evaluating your needs and wants, it’s important to research the company, what is the progression within the company like, is there opportunities for promotion?

3. Determine your BATNA and aspirations  

Is there a figure in mind that you would like as your salary? Set a minimum and maximum figure as a target. Once you know your outgoing expenses, this can determine how low you are willing to go, without having to give something up. If there is another job you have applied for, how does it compare? Top tip is to always keep your BATNA a secret!

- Google Image

– Google Image

The perfect job is difficult to find within this current economic climate and the situation may arise where many people are fighting for the internship, graduate scheme or job role at an organisation. This to me resembles The Apprentice, where everyone is competing for the same job – to be Alan Sugar’s apprentice.  It is important to have a strong rationale as to why they should choose you and back it up with evidence.

So once you hear those magic words ‘you’re hired’ and you may or may not have managed to agree on a win-win situation which suits both parties, the time will come when you will have a performance review. This is where your list of wants and needs can be compared to those of your employer. According to Harvard Business School (2009), a performance appraisal is based upon employees’ on-the-job-performance and their goals.  Although a daunting situation, this is the perfect opportunity to showcase yourself and strive for that promotion or salary that you have always wanted.

- Google Image

– Google Image

Although this sounds easy, it’s all too common to accept the first job offered to you without thinking it through. I am personally very eager to being my career in PR, but first and foremost I wish to have a job which I am happy to get up for every morning. If the job negotiation doesn’t go to plan, there’s always the performance review!

What is your experience of negotiation? Are you too quick to say yes to a job?

Negotiation: It’s not just used in a hostage situation

Negotiation happens all the time within our lives; most commonly in the work place when bargaining for a job or even in a time of crisis.  Anyone can be a negotiator, and it doesn’t have to just resemble a hostage situation starring Bruce Willis.

Hostage (Google Image)

Hostage (Google Image)

Active Listening

You may think you are a good listener, but are you an emphatic listener?  Of course everyone thinks they are a good listener and this may seem like I am stating the obvious but active listening is a skill in itself.  Listening requires a lot of concentration in order to really understand how the person is feeling. Negotiations happen all the time at work. If a manager can actively listen, it is likely that a compromise can be arranged with minimal conflict. The outcome of this is much better for both parties involved.

Negotiation (Google Image)

Negotiation (Google Image)

 “As parties bargain over the terms of an agreement, they are concurrently negotiating their relationship. In this parallel negotiation, parties seek to position themselves to advantage by using a variety of strategic moves”.

(Kolb, 2004)

Negotiation Staircase

Recently at university, we had a guest lecture from two real-life police negotiators about ‘Negotiation and Influence’. The skills used within a hostage situation can be applied to many other circumstances. This process is called the negotiation staircase.

The first step is emotional intelligence, achieved through active listening; you can determine how an individual is feeling. If this stage is approached inappropriately, the negotiation and bargaining process has already failed and you’re back to square one. Next is the initial contact; the cliché is true, first impressions really do count! Then empathy and rapport emerges which can then build trust. Once these steps are successfully completed, then there is your influence and persuasion.

This video by Human Resources Mag backs up the idea that negotiation within the workplace is similar to that of a hostage negotiation. Hostage negotiation skills can be applied to any situation. It’s all about common goals and maintaining relationships, and that Bruce Willis moment.

I would love to know your thoughts. Do you agree that negotiation is all about active listening and can it ever be compared to a hostage situation?