Workwrite Resumes

Salary Negotiations: What employers want

Cartoon about negotiations.

When you think of negotiation, you think of winning, right?

That’s great! That’s what you want.

Now, think of everyone winning. That’s even better, because the people you’re negotiating with are your new colleagues and managers. Alienating them before your first day is bad form, not to mention dangerous to your career.

So is not asking for what you want. The trick is to know what that is. (We figured it out in Salary Negotiations: How much do I ask for? and Salary Negotiations: Preparing to negotiate benefits.)

Now, think of what your new employer wants. This is what the cartoon above is illustrating. Most negotiations revolve around positions. This is what I’m saying. This is what they’re saying. Often, common ground between positions is difficult to find.

Interests are another thing. They are the desires that hide underneath the positions, and like an iceberg, they’re the 90% you want to pay attention to.

Put yourself in the place of the CEO or the hiring manager. Imagine the 3 most important things this company wants. How to do that takes some homework. Research the company to find out what they need.  You may have to do some detective work to determine this. You can:

  • Talk to people who have worked there or work there now.
  • Talk to people at competing businesses or in the industry.
  • Do online research into the concerns of this industry.
  • Find a LinkedIn Group of people in this industry and read about their concerns.
  • Find a professional association of people in this industry and read about current news. You can call the executive director of this association and ask about common goals.

The list you want to come up with are concerns the company might have that they can negotiate. These might include:

  • Lowering their payroll expenses (by paying you less than they paid the last person).
  • Performance-based compensation (that gives bonuses instead of raises).
  • Getting rid of the pension program.
  • Stop paying for health insurance.

You already know your low and high salary numbers and the benefits that are important to you from the two previous exercises mentioned above. Your job in the negotiation is to persuade your prospective employer you are worth what you are asking.

You must establish your worth in the mind of your prospective employer before you name your amount. You can do that in two ways during the negotiation.

  1. Accentuate your “economic value,”  the money you can make or save the company. For example, a sales representative directly affects revenue through sales. An accountant, on the other hand, saves the company money through efficiencies and  die-hard accuracy.
  2. Highlight your value-added dimension, that extra skill or knowledge you bring. For example, in my pre-careers industry life, I worked for newspapers. I started out as a reporter. In a small newspaper, you do everything, so I gained experience in page design and layout. When I interviewed for a reporting job at a larger newspaper, my page design skills were my value-add.

Next Time: Tactics for gaining the advantage in a negotiation


Image Credit: Some rights reserved by Jonny Goldstein

Leave a Reply