Just when you thought it was safe to go back into the job market, rumors of a double-dip recession and even depression cloud the economic and employment horizon.
On the panic meter, being out of a job right now is second only to having just retired.
It's been an employer's market regarding the number of jobs available and the salary packages offered for those jobs. Many employers have been relying on bonuses instead of salary increases and other pay-for-performance compensation models.
That means job candidates must plan their salary negotiations strategy even more carefully than usual. If we worry that an employer will pass us over because we choose to negotiate, it’s tempting to take the first offer. If what you really need is a regular salary, regardless of how much it is, that’s a good strategy. If you’re not in emergency mode, consider that a negotiation that adds $5,000 to your annual salary will bring you $100,000 over 10 years, counting raises, bonuses and interest. Over 20 years, that same $5,000 will grow to more than $300,000! You may consider that worth some effort and a bit of risk.
These days, it may be a bit more difficult to get that $5,000. So, remember, particularly when your financial needs or desires and the hiring company’s offer are far apart, you will need to persuade them to invest in something that is more than they want to pay or can afford to pay. Your job is to make them a "counter offer they can’t refuse." Here are 10 tips that will help with that effort:
1. Know your strategy. Make sure before you enter negotiations that you know what you want. If you need a job and are offered a fair salary, take it! If you need time to think it over, take it! If you want to negotiate a better deal, do it!
2. Negotiate from truth. Don’t oversell or undersell your value. Know thyself and thy marketplace. Do your homework on the company with which you’re negotiating. What did they pay the last person in your position? Do they pay more than their competitors, in general?
3. Know the limits. This means you know the top end of the salary scale and the lowest salary you are prepared to accept. Then, emotionally distance yourself from the numbers. It’s just money. Be willing to walk away if it’s below the lowest number.
4. Start high. You can always come down, but it’s almost impossible to go up.
5. Negotiate from strength not greed. In other words, it’s not what you want that matters, it’s the value you bring to the employer. Don’t hesitate to mention those strengths when you’re negotiating. If you can point to a million-dollar contract you brought your last employer, don’t miss the chance to use it as leverage.
6. Keep a low profile. Being confident in your value doesn’t mean being arrogant. Soft and gentle works in many situations. Even admitting discomfort because you don’t negotiate positions every day is fine. It’s like playing good cop/bad cop: You’ll get more information and cooperation from being kind and thoughtful rather than mean and rough.
7. Learn to play poker. OK, not with cards, but with a poker face. Show little emotion other than gratitude for the offer, regardless of where the offer lands on your expectation scale. (Remember the emotional distance.) Then, begin to negotiate.
8. Silence is golden. A moment of silence (15 to 30 seconds) can be a powerful negotiating tool as well as an opportunity to collect your thoughts without losing your concentration. It can make the other side nervous or at least impatient, possibly giving you an edge.
9. Not now doesn’t always mean no. If you have an opportunity that does not look like it will pay top dollar but has the potential to pay you what you’re worth, attempt to negotiate a review period where you can discuss a raise based on performance. Or seek to incorporate a bonus or an incentive clause in your agreement. Perhaps this year’s bonus can become next year’s raise. Think long-term if your situation allows it.
10. Negotiate with class. Be professional; stay in complete emotional control; remember that integrity rules; and stay true to your values. Be you and proud of it. Fight for what you believe in, but do it in the spirit of cooperation and style. If you succeed, you will be working with these people in a matter of days. You do not want to annihilate them. Make every victory a win-win. You’ll be glad you did.

Author's Bio: 

Jeri Hird Dutcher, Workwrite, inspires executives and professionals to envision, attract, and claim their biggest dreams. She is certified as a Professional Career Coach, Resume Writer, and Employment Interview Professional. Jeri provides career / job search coaching and targeted resumes for clients in the United States and Canada. She welcomes inquiries at Workwrite.net.