Negotiation tactic for grads to set them up for long term success

College grads with little experience in the business environment shouldn’t be terrified by salary negotiations – in spite of the current economy. How well do you know your stuff? Is there something you have that can benefit the company you’re interviewing for? Then you that as leverage; hone your negotiation skills as much as possible, have a goal in mind and don’t let your lack of experience to be used against you. Inexperience can be an asset. “Freshies” can have great value. They may not have years of expertise in a certain domain, but they hold fundamental information, which is enough to get you started.

Recent graduates have a lot to offer even now when times are tough. However they need hiring managers that can listen to them. Here are some smart tactics to help you land the best deal.

Don’t talk about money right away

Postpone the money talk for as long as possible, and engage in a conversation with the hiring manager; or at least wait until you are sure that you are what the hiring manager wants. Enter negotiations appearing confident and be certain of what you can offer. If the other party pressures you to give a number, you should give them an answer without being too specific. Say something like “I expect to get a rate comparable to other people working at my capacity”. Thus you gain precious time; give a straight answer only after you’ve been offered the job.

Stay confident

Arriving empty-handed at a job interview won’t get you too far. It is essential that you know all the details about the job at hand before making a salary request. In case the hiring manager takes you for granted, use your communication skills to ask for a better paid salary. Before doing that, make sure you’ve done your research in advance. Know the average salary package that company currently pays people with the same skill set as yours. Sell yourself and your skills, and emphasize on the idea that nobody else can offer what you can.

For example, if the company deals with many foreigners from European countries, it can be a great asset that you know French and Italian. Use that as leverage, and make them see that you have the potential to help their startup thrive.

Adopt a humble attitude

Many business people adopt a hostile attitude when they want to close a deal. This is usually done by overly confident negotiators who are used to unethical techniques to get what they want. You are not one of them; enter a salary negotiation wearing proper clothes and big, bright smile. Leave your aggressiveness at home as it can do more harm than good.

Friendly negotiations can get you a lot farther than hostile negotiations. As a new grad, you can’t afford to brag about skills you don’t possess. This approach will sooner or later backfire, and you will be on the verge of losing everything. Showcase an enthusiastic attitude the moment an offer is made. Be excited and appreciative even if the package is not what you expected. It’s quite alright to inform the hiring manager that you need a few days to think about their offer.

Don’t agree to a job offer that doesn’t bring you any personal satisfaction

Most recent grads would accept any job offer due to their lack of negotiation training, and because they believe that they can’t do better. How can you expect to grow professionally if you don’t like what you do? Sometimes walking away from a bad deal is way better than agreeing to it and spending 1-2 years performing tasks you absolutely hate. Of course, just because you’re turning down a proposal, it doesn’t mean you have to do in the most negative way.

Decline an offer politely and maintain a professional attitude throughout the entire meeting. Don’t allow anyone to mess with your good mood. If a company can’t offer you a more advantageous salary package because of your lack of experience, then say thank you and move on. There are other offers waiting for you, so it’s certainly not the end of the world that you declined one offer. Why it’s so important to be professional – because what goes around comes around, and you may have the opportunity to connect with that company again in a few years.

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