Negotiating During Tough Times

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					Playing the Game to WIN: Special Tips for Negotiating During Tough Times
Author: David M. Schwartz Founder & President –ROELMANA Group, LLC
Contact Information: Direct Dial: 610-359-6289 , eMAIL: LinkedIn Public Profile:

These are very troubling and uncertain times. The likes of which we have never seen before in our lifetime and, hopefully, we will never see again. On a daily basis, we have heard more than enough about bailouts and the difficult and ―unsettling‖ environment. We are all dealing with the financial meltdown and economic woes. Clearly, it was much more comfortable negotiating when the economy was in much better shape. The painful truth is that when faced with adversity—such as a recession or a dip in the job market— the natural tendency is to retreat to a defensive position, rather than mount an all-out attack. Candidates should never settle for less than they are worth. If they don’t ask – they don’t get. There are jobs and new opportunities out there for those who stay focused, keep a positive mental attitude and remain proactive. History has proven that legends are literally made during a recession. Those who are just sitting back, watching and waiting will lose out on a great window of opportunity. Following the herd has never been a good strategy. Candidates just need to learn how to "play the game" . The fact is that at the executive hiring level the economic environment often has very little impact on a candidate’s negotiating leverage. Candidates need to create a compelling value proposition by clearly differentiating themselves from the competition. Although employers might receive an avalanche of applications for an opening because people are desperate, worried and stressed out -- top quality ―A‖ players are still very hard to find and it will not get any easier. Just check out the demographics between Baby Boomers retiring and the less trained Gen X and Gen Y players coming in. If you have strong qualifications that put you in the category of ―best of the best‖ you have more negotiating power than you might realize. Not surprisingly, executive-level candidates tend to have the strongest negotiating position even though employers are reining in the plethora of perks that once were relatively easy to secure. Look at the total package. It’s not only about salary. Most employers today are reasonable and they are likely to negotiate with potential strong ―A‖ players about such things as salary review, extra paid time off, flexible work schedule, etc. Severance packages and protective clauses are a top issue for executives. Candidates tend to see these severance issues as a way to manage the risk they take when leaving a secure job. Ironically, in the early stage of negotiating compensation, the most important thing isn’t what you say, but what you –―don’t say‖. You absolutely do not want to discuss salary unless (and until) an offer is on the table. The first one to mention money –LOSES. That is my personal opinion. So, please don’t come at me to rip my eyes out or to try to strangle me. I’m not looking to get any hate mail over this either. It is very personal and a very delicate issue. You may be in desperate straights. Nevertheless, you never want to come across as being difficult. This subject comes up often and is quite easy to finesse without turning people off or giving up your strongest negotiating leverage.
Copyright © 2009 by ROELMANA Group, All Rights Reserved. – (610) 359- 6289

When an employer puts an offer on the table don’t anger anyone by saying that you want to come in to negotiate. Instead, ask for face-to-face time to address any questions that you might have and focus on clarifications (not demands). Once you have been offered what you consider to be a fair salary, don’t hesitate to negotiate for something else. Remember, you miss 100% of the shots that you don’t take. As long as you are dealing in good faith by being fair and reasonable, most employers will leave some wiggle room for negotiations. It is not unreasonable and nobody will rescind an offer, if you ask for a laptop, a cell phone, flextime, home office or another perk that will help you in your new job. Whatever you and the employer agree, always ask for all the details to be confirmed in writing. If a prospective employer seems to be put off by you asking for clarifications or for anything more, by way of a counteroffer or whatever, then that might be a signal telling you to continue your job search. Executives must have the mindset that allows them to walk away. Act as though there is something better out there. Any senior executive starting in a new job should want to feel valued for what they have to offer and for what they bring to the table. Any employer who is in the hiring game to get the cheapest employee possible is likely not to be such a good employer, after all. What are some of the more common negotiating mistakes in this environment ?          Accepting the first job opportunity that comes along Settling for less than you are worth Limiting or exhausting your options Not doing your homework and coming in to negotiations unprepared Hung up on the use of ―traditional‖ methods and old school thinking Talking too much and laying all your cards on the table Following the crowd and not being creative Being unreasonable or perhaps too greedy Failure to ask for professional advice

The bottom line, like anything else, is that negotiations need to be handled respectfully and kept in perspective. A cooperative approach will always work best. If you do your research, set reasonable boundaries, and always come fully prepared to deal with the issues and tough questions, chances are very good –even during a tough economy that you will end up with a win-win offer that works for you and the new company.

Copyright © 2009 by ROELMANA Group, All Rights Reserved. – (610) 359- 6289

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Description: Helpful negotiating tips for executives in transition