Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Negotiation Technique #1: Going Out on the Balcony

Salary negotiations are always nerve-racking, nail-biting and perhaps exhilarating. Being a recruiter, I've probably been involved in more salary negotiations than the average Joe. Negotiating your salary is always stressful because you are down to the final step, you most likely are very interested in the position, and don't want to sound too greedy or too needy. So once you are at the final stage, and most likely have at least addressed potential salary ranges and compensation models, you may want to have one last weapon in your negotiation arsenal. One of the best techniques to employ is the "going out on the balcony" tactic.

What is this technique you ask. One of the best ways to get a little breathing room once a true offer is on the table is to take a moment before accepting the position. At this point, the company wants you, and you want the job. Now you need to see if the salary is in line. Upon getting the offer, tell your contact that you want to look it over and think about it. Next you can do a few different things. 1. Go out on the balcony and scream "woo-hoo" at the top of your lungs, 2. talk over the position with your family, or 3. completely disregard it because it is so out of the realm of possibility for you in terms of salary.

By taking this moment to consider it, you are telling the company that you want to carefully weigh the opportunity and the salary that accompanies it. You are able to discuss the new role with your family to make sure it fits in with your needs and lifestyle choices. This break during the negotiation also puts the situation in your hands, perhaps making the company realize how much they want you. If you come back from your break on the balcony to tell them that while you are interested in the position, you need $X to really make the necessary sacrifices to your personal life, etc, it will be received understanding that you really considered all elements of the offer.

Now how long you need to hang out "on the balcony" is your call--there really are no rules. If you are sure the offer is fair and what you are looking for, tell them you are accepting the offer as soon as you can. If you are really struggling with an element of the offer, you can take several hours, or a day or two. But you want to keep the negotiations alive, and as you take longer to decide, the potential employer starts feeling that you may not be as committed to the company as they would like. So taking your time can help but taking too long can possibly hurt your negotiations.

I think the best rule of thumb is to let the employer know how long you need to think it over. That way they know when they will hear back from you, and can start planning accordingly.

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