From the moment that you first make contact (phone screen, online application, etc.) with an organization, it’s “game on”. Everything that you say and do from that point forward will dictate what that offer extended your way will look like. Questions regarding salary history and salary expectations must be handled skillfully and correctly to get the best initial offer. Remember, the best paying companies and the best places to work in the world still have a responsibility to get you in the door as cost effectively as possible. Hiring managers and HR departments have budgets to manage and the more they can save on you the more they will have left to play the game with.
You may believe that the negotiation of a job offer begins after that offer has been extended. A careful review followed by the decision of which components you wish to negotiate followed by your counter-offer. Basically, getting an offer (in writing) and then turning it into more! And you would be absolutely correct in doing so. But this strategic exercise is just the final phase, not the kickoff. The art of negotiation begins way before that, and I would argue that “Phase One” is much more important.
In closing, you may be an expert at presenting a counter-offer, complete with compelling reasons and arguments, but the key factor is that initial offer that you are countering. All the lipstick in Macy’s can’t prepare an ogre for a beauty pageant. So before you answer that phone or hit submit remember two words. GAME ON!
October’s guest blogger is co-Principal, Mark Weigel!