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What is Job Negotiation?

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  • Written By: Amy Hunter
  • Edited By: Andrew Jones
  • Last Modified Date: 12 August 2018
  • Copyright Protected:
    2003-2018
    Conjecture Corporation
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Strong job negotiation skills enable you to enjoy your work more, because you are working for things that are important to you. Negotiating your salary, potential bonuses, health and retirement packages, the availability of stock options, and other benefits are all part of job negotiation. Effective job negotiation requires the ability to think of different scenarios that you would find beneficial, consider both your own perspective as well as your employer's, and then make firm decisions.

There are two different times when job negotiation skills come into play, when you initially take a new job, and when you ask for a raise, either at your own request, or during a regularly planned meeting with your supervisor. The key to successful negotiation is preparation. Before you enter into job negotiations, sit down and think about exactly what you want from the position, and how you can prove your value to your employer.

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Many people make the mistake of thinking of negotiation only in terms of annual salary and vacation time, but there are many other areas that are open to negotiation that may have a greater impact on long-term job satisfaction. Working from home part of the time, a company vehicle, and flexible work hours are just some things that you may negotiate successfully, and can greatly increase your job satisfaction. In tight economic times, negotiating a high salary or higher commission percentage may not be realistic, but flexible scheduling and additional personal days are benefits that cost the company very little and that can boost morale significantly. Negotiate these perks after you have settled on monetary compensation.

One time-tested method of job negotiation is to ask for more than you want. This is effective, but requires a certain level of preparation. Your boss, or potential employer, will expect you to have realistic expectations when negotiating salary and benefits, so it is important to know what others in your field are receiving, and adjust your expectations accordingly. Aim for slightly more than you expect, and be prepared to negotiate down.

One final key to successful job negotiation is to negotiate with the decision maker. Often, negotiations go back and forth between the employee, or potential employee, and a supervisor. When the employee believes negotiations are complete, they are informed that the actual decision making is up to someone else. Not only do the negotiation proceedings begin anew, but the supervisor has the advantage of knowing what your expectations are. Instead, try to go decision maker first, if this is possible.

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