Negotiating your way to a new job

Published: Jun 04 , 2014
Author: Keith Stacey

In an increasingly volatile economy with the prospect of extended working lives many of us will find ourselves negotiating our way to new employment opportunities.

The Scotwork preparation agenda is a good place to start.

We need to start with a clear set ofobjectivesthat are both realistic and optimistic. Your ideal job is probably not available and therefore it is important to focus on what is your must get position. It may well be that the networks available from being in the workforce are more important than the money on offer.

Research is essential and you must have as much information about the market place and the employer as possible, as well as being a skilled advocate for your own skills and knowledge. In a connected world there is a premium on collaboration, communication and creativity, so demonstrate these attributes in your application and interview. While the job sites on the net will provide much information, also use your own networks. It may not be a close associate that provides a key introduction or opportunity but the man at the local service station. Malcolm Gladwell describes this as the strength of loose connections.

Your efforts should be framed within a clear strategy. A particular opportunity should not be seen as the end point but as a stage in a clear path to your real goal. It may be that an entry-level position in an expanding area represents a better opportunity than a better paid one an area without potential.

When seeking a job there are many tasks to be carried out by you. You need to be a skilled listener (observer) of the other party in an interview. You need to know when to talk and when to be silent (leader). You need to be able ask questions (summariser) of the interviewer about the requirements of the task and the resources available to you.

Any negotiator is aware that to get what they want they will need to make concessions. Most of us can easily list the things we want from our next job - a list of demands. We are generally less able to identify the areas where we are prepared to be flexible. Are we prepared to retrain, do formal courses, work part-time or move town, state or country? Remember concessions must be traded for something in return not made unilaterally - make sure you have a healthy and creative wishlist.

Keith Stacey


2018 Keith 432

About the author:

Keith Stacey
Keith is a Principal Consultant with Scotwork and has over 30 years experience as a business consultant, educator and trainer. He is a regular consultant to senior executives in professional practice and his principal interests in management are strategic planning, project management, client-relationship management and conflict resolution.

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Be Specific With What You Want

You are out for a drink and the bartender asks you – “What would you like?” to which you reply “Guess!”. “Alright then” he says, “How about a red wine?”. You shake your head to this and say “No, that’s not what I want. Guess again.” After much back and forth, the bartender is justifiably irritated and through gritted teeth he tells you “I have other customers I need to serve, you look like someone who would enjoy a refreshing Sauvignon Blanc so I’ll pour you one of those. Enjoy your night.” This is a silly analogy to what I observe every week in most negotiations. Often there is a lack of specific disclosure as to what it is that the party wants or they take a long time to bring this information forward...

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