Hardball Negotiating Tactics? You Might Strike Out…

Ultra-aggressive negotiation tactics may be appropriate for the corporate boardroom, or a used car lot, but if you bring this mentality to the job offer negotiation process, you could be in deep trouble!

While a painful lesson to learn, many job seekers make the mistake of pushing too hard during the job offer negotiation process and either costing themselves quality job opportunities or setting themselves up for a really rough ride in their new position.  The reason for this?  There are several distinct dynamics that take place in job offer scenarios that make them dramatically different from other types of business negotiations.  For starters, job offer negotiations are fundamentally win/win in nature, not win/lose.  Both sides want the deal to work and both sides must also feel that they have been treated fairly and respectfully by the end of the process.  Additionally, both parties involved will likely be working in close proximity to one another for the foreseeable future, unlike that poor salesman you outmaneuvered in the furniture showroom!  So while it’s certainly appropriate to make counteroffer proposals and be assertive about getting your needs met, the moment you’re perceived as trying to “squeeze” the other side or play them off against other employers, the rapport starts to crumble — and you’ll likely do permanent damage to the relationship you’ve taken such care to build throughout the interview process.

So what is the right strategy for approaching a job offer negotiation?  Unfortunately, there’s no single textbook answer to this question, since there are dozens of situational elements to consider and it’s important to look carefully at the leverage and context involved before deciding on your ultimate course of action.  Obtaining objective feedback around this issue can therefore be very useful in planning your strategy, whether from a trusted colleague or your Career Horizons coach.  At the end of the day, however, we promise you one thing — you will always come out ahead of the game if you walk into the negotiation process from a collaborative, rather than combative, standpoint.  Play hardball, and you’ll either lose the offer entirely, or end up getting the job but wondering for years why your boss doesn’t trust you and why you’re always last in line for raises, bonuses, and promotional opportunities!

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