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Six Steps In Preparing For A Successful Career Negotiation

Updated: Apr 16, 2020

You wouldn't engage in half-ended negotiations for the company you represent, so why not give the same courtesy to your own career needs? 


Whether you're interviewing for a new job or at the stage of negotiating your contract terms, it is necessary to be transparent and honest from the start on what you stand for and what is important to you. This also lays the foundation for many other conversations to follow. Failure to be upfront, share your values, priorities and needs can work at your disadvantage when seeking to reassess your career position in the future.


Negotiating the terms of your next big thing, for many, can feel overwhelming more so, if you need a job fast. In challenging moments, it’s tempting to think the easiest way to a done-deal is by giving into every concession of the Client or Employer at the risk of downplaying your values, priorities or needs: this is not a robust negotiating strategy, nor does it do anything for your long term career development. Healthy negotiations are NOT about a loser and a winner. The goal should be on arriving at a mutually beneficial position built on supported value, integrity and intelligence.


For this reason, I’ve outlined six proven steps to help navigate your approach in the successful negotiation of your career direction.  


Successful career negotiating requires you to walk in prepared. Preparation gives you the information and confidence to think on your feet, tap into your creativity, be at ease during a conversation, and effectively offer diagnostic questions should the discussion stem into uncertainty.


Step One - Research: Do Your HomeWork

Doing your research is an essential step to paving the conversation of your career negotiations. Many well-intended professionals rely on their past negotiations, wit, charm or think perhaps they can wing-it through lively talk, but hiring executives are able to see right through it if you aren’t adequately prepared to articulate your worth clearly. In essence, find out what you're worth and be clear about your bottom line.


  1. Do the research: to understand the current salary and market statistics.

  2. Know how your accomplishments, qualifications, experience and skills align.

  3. Identify mastered skills and the results you can use to back up your game. 

  4. Be fully aware of your shortcomings and recognise areas you can tap into new competitive value.


Once you have satisfied your curiosity, determine your bottom line and what you’ll do if your bottom line is not met. Ask yourself: "what is the least you'll accept and still be happy?" 


Now, make a list of all the skills you've mastered the results you’ve produced that corresponds to your upcoming negotiation.


Step Two - Know Your Priorities

In this step, you’ll prioritise all the moving parts of your negotiation. For an executive on an international contract, this may be family housing, international medical coverage, annual flight tickets, profit sharing, bonus or vacation days.


Step Three - Map Out Concessions

Mapping out concessions means, for anything you give up, you're going to be asking for something in exchange -reciprocity. In this stage, it is critical to be clear on what to give up, as well, the appropriate compensation. For instance, would you prefer a higher starting salary in exchange for a lower bonus?


Step Four - Identify Your Bargaining Partner Needs

This involves learning as much as you can about your bargaining partners needs. 


1–What do they say about themselves?

2–What do others say about them?