Before negotiating, research the position or the person you are negotiating with. This should let you know what he or she expects the right compensation to be. You should also know the compensation you expect. Once those two things are known to you, build a bridge so both parties connect, and try to meet at the right point.
For example, your research for a teaching position should disclose the starting salary and the requirements for that starting salary. You may have gotten this information from speaking to career services, from prior graduates entering that field, and/or via research on the web. You can discuss the salary you want using the data you’ve uncovered during your research. If starting salaries for teachers in New York are between $40,000 and $45,000, you can try asking for a salary of $45,000.
Listening is key during the actual negotiation, so use active listening techniques that include taking notes and nodding your head. Understand that adjusting to the situation and being open-minded are important versus a “one size fits all” model. Put yourself in the shoes of the person doing the hiring so you can clearly understand how he or she benefits from this negotiation. In addition, be on the lookout for unexpected opportunities that may present themselves, and be open to these. It’s a must to always be professional. Proactively seek to clarify and simplify, and always support your experience with specific examples. Making a situation a “win-win” is a great goal to shoot for.
For example, if the high end of the teacher’s salary range pertains to teachers with two to three years of student teaching experience and you do not have any, it is understandable that $40,000 may be the right compensation for your starting salary. Perhaps a position in this city has a starting salary of $40,000, but another nearby city might have a starting salary of $45,000. If you are open to this different location, this could benefit you quite a bit! Even if things are not working out and it’s clear that you cannot come to a mutually beneficial point, always remain professional and thank the person for his or her time. If you make a good impression and a position becomes available the following week or month, perhaps you will be called back. The benefits to being courteous and professional are huge.
After a negotiation, it is very helpful to clarify things in writing and confirm a new timetable as soon as possible. Assess what took place during the negotiation so you can learn from your experience and strengthen your negotiation skills for the next time.
For example, perhaps nothing worked out at this particular time. Keep in touch with this person, as positions may open up the next month, the next quarter, or perhaps even the next year. Perhaps you accepted the lower starting salary of $40,000. Send the interviewer a thank you and let him or her know you are excited. That positive, professional impression will go a long way toward future negotiations and perhaps promotions.