Career Connection Series: 5 Helpful Tips to Successfully Negotiate in a Tough Job Market
Career Connection Series: 5 Helpful Tips to Successfully Negotiate in a Tough Job Market

Categories: Employment

By Guest Blogger Shabana Wollin, PMP, Independent Consultant; Designer of iCare-2b.org , a social media network for finding employment & other community resources; and Owner of Bluefrog Technologies LLC

Negotiation is an art. Some people are naturally good at it, and some people need guidance to negotiate effectively. Negotiation is a part of our everyday lives. Take a moment to think about the number of times during the course of a day that you negotiate in some way, shape or form at home or at work.  But in order to negotiate well, you must be able to communicate effectively.  

These five tips will help you to negotiate better during your job search:

1) Do your homework and research the company before your interview.

Most companies have a variety of information available on their websites or in other ways. Some companies are savvy and are part of popular social media networks, such as LinkedIn, Facebook or Twitter, or have a company blog. Spend some time online learning about the company with which you are interviewing. If you don’t have a computer at home, visit a local library or One-Stop Career Center

If you have a contact name for the HR representative or the interviewer, connect with them on LinkedIn or read their blog posts, which will give you a perspective on their values, the corporate culture and the company’s overall strategic vision. Once you have this information, you can make better informed decisions and hence better negotiate. When you’ve done your homework, it makes you stand out from the rest of the job candidates. 


2) Make a great first impression.

First impressions are important as they sometimes make lasting impressions. It is important that you make the extra effort to look your best and are well prepared for your first interview. Be prepared to provide extra copies of your resume, answer questions confidently and to ask questions of your potential employer. This is not the time to discuss or negotiate salary.

Once you are done with the interview, always thank the interviewers for their time, smile and follow-up with a handwritten thank you note. When time is of the essence, follow-up with an email within 24 hours of your interview. Employers in this economic climate receive numerous resumes and meet a lot of candidates. It is important that you set yourself apart from the rest by making a great first impression on your interviewer.

3) Maintain a job search journal and note your experience with the interview.

A job search journal is a very helpful tool for active job seekers to keep track of their job searches. You might be interviewing with several different employers, meeting a lot of new people and learning different things about each. It is a daunting task to keep it all organized in your head and bring it back from memory a few days later. Many people have a short lived short-term memory, which can decay spontaneously over time when not used. 

Journaling is an effective way to preserve information about an interview should you need to recall it at a later time. Be sure to note in your journal the following about any interview you go on: the date & time, location, name of the company, name(s) of the interviewers, questions that were asked during the interview, how you responded and other comments or observations. This is also helpful for you at your next interview in case you feel that there are things on which you can improve.

4) Remain calm, confident and well informed when you have been made a job offer.

It is important to remain calm and confident during all stages of your job interview process and negotiations. When you have successfully followed the above three stages, you have set the foundation for effectively negotiating your next job offer.

Once you have been offered a position, don’t be in a hurry to say, “YES!” Take some time to carefully evaluate what you have been offered and if you are satisfied with it completely, go for it! If you think you might want to negotiate something, don’t be afraid to ask. 

It is important to know that everything is negotiable during the offer process. Job seekers find this hard due to the current job market and often settle for less. When you are armed with information and are confident in your abilities, always present them to the employer. Most employers expect that you will consider countering their offer.

5) Confirm, close and celebrate!

Most negotiations are done over the phone.  Once you have reached an agreement, it is important that you confirm it in writing by accepting the job offer via mail, FAX or email. Some offers can be signed digitally and faxed electronically directly to the employer. Whatever the method, make sure you have the offer in writing.  Before you sign it, be sure it lists all the items you discussed over the phone, especially the terms of compensation. It is easier to change the terms of compensation before you are hired rather than after. This letter of job acceptance closes your job search process, and it is time to celebrate! Congratulations!

We hope you find this information useful and are able to implement some of the tips that were presented to you in your career or life. Your comments and feedback are welcome. Please share with us below in the comments section. We’d love to hear from you! 

Shabana Wollin, PMP is an independent consultant and owner of Bluefrog Technologies LLC. She actively blogs on topics such as employment, communication, social media and project management. She also designed and developed a successful online resource portal for people with disabilities entering the workforce. This portal, iCare-2b.org, was designed with the intent of helping not just people with disabilities to find employment opportunities, but also to serve as a useful resource for their families, caregivers, employers, teachers and local advocate agencies. Visit http://www.linkedin.com/in/shabanawollin for more information.



12 Responses to Career Connection Series: 5 Helpful Tips to Successfully Negotiate in a Tough Job Market

  1. Igor says:

    Good luck man. As someone who has had plenty of rejections in the last few (several) months, all I can say is that something will happen for you. Just hang in there. Btw, you are really lucky that you heard back so quickly. Usually I send a thank you e-mail the next day but don’t expect to hear from them for a couple of weeks. The worst ones to wait for are those generic rejection letters that take over a month to get to you. I got one of those after a really good interview too; I bugged the interviewer, HR, anyone I met from the company two weeks after the interview and every week after that. I really liked the job and so was antsy the whole time. This persistent strategy, however, did land me an offer from another company, so just keep on trying, and the sooner you know, the sooner you can move on to new opportunities.

  2. Dave A. says:

    This is a good conversation. I was hired five years ago. It was fun to watch, first my agency did not know what a schedule A was. Then I could tell they worried about what they were getting themselves into. Bottom line, the system is not set up to seek you out, it is set up to eliminate you if you make even one mistake on the application. It doesn`t matter if you are disabled or not. You have to use the disability coordinators and most of the time they do not respond to you. You have to make a lot of noise to get noticed and then do not make any mistakes on your application or resume.The truth is, there isn`t much difference, either you are qualified or you’re not and if you are, then make noise and be as persistant to the point where you get their attention.They knew me well by the time I got to my interview and there was no negotiations, just get in, then work yourself around. Good luck you guys!! Get aggressive!!!!

    • Sundep says:

      You have explain the right way to job search. I wish all the program directors of residency and fellowship should provide this kind of information. This is an awesome website. Thanks a lot.

  3. Carol C. says:

    I really appreciate any help that I can receive as I have not worked in four years and I am looking to advance into another career field that I have schooling and experience in, disability has prevented me from working in my former career. Thank you so much for all of your expertise.

  4. Michael R. says:

    Good information. I would like to know if you have interviewed and it went well; should you call/email/phone the prospective employer? How much is too much?
    - Michael

  5. Anony. Ms says:

    Uh… where’s the “negotiation” tips? There really isn’t anything here that addresses the art of actual negotiation.
    I have to second Jeanmarie’s comments. In my 35+ years of employment and contracting… gotta say same. What really would be helpful here is an article with such tips SPECIFIC to the disabled community. Most of us know all this stuff, but what most of us have found challenging is, for example, navigating the “can you do this job with or without accomodation…” question(oning).
    The article here seems less about negotiation and tips and more about the writer’s (likey a contractor looking for a contract) quest to get and find a contract for themselves by publicizing (via writing this simple nothing-new here) little blog/article/piece. Honey, you’re going to have to do much better than this to compete successfully in THIS market!

    • Matthias M. says:

      Excellent explanation of the thinking behind a much better way of searching for a job than looking at ads or, even worse, answering recruiter ads. Thank you for explaining it in such a nice way! This approach is sorely needed and all graduating students deserve to know it. Matthias M., MD

  6. Shawn says:

    Your post has information that is helpful and informative. great tips. I would like you to keep up the good work. You know how to make your post understandable for most of the people. Thanks and keep up the good work.

    • Algon says:

      Thanks for sharing this tips and also your resume is the first step in the process of a strategic career move. The resume is an essential piece to all types of job searching approaches, as well as playing a crucial role through the interview and selection process. One of the most useful techniques for constructing your resume is to focus it on a specific target job, and then go through and deconstruct the deliverables of that job from other related job postings. Accomplishing this successfully will generate a resume that not only opens doors toward future career success, but assists you in preparation for the interview process.

      • Auth says:

        Here’s a short list of jobs which you can create to gearente income:1. Learn calligraphy so that you can provide handwritten invitations and thank you notes to prospective wedding parties, birthday celebrations, etc. Seek out clients through wedding planners at nearby churches and temples. A starter calligraphy kit usually runs around $20 and anyone can easily pick up this skill. The going rate is usually $1 per hand addressed item.2. Become a poser who assists wedding photographers in setting and arranging various individuals in group and single photographic positions. Posers carry around a sketch book of various sitting and standing poses which consists of onion skin overlays of various wedding pictures bound in albums. Again, contact local wedding photographers and wedding planners, accordingly. The hourly pay is around $10-$12 per hour and you are often invited to attend all dining activities.3. Seek from your neighbors a gardner position which involves planting, weed removal, plant/tree trimming, light brush clearance. You will be using the neighbor’s equipment and tools. Again, do not represent yourself as a lawn mower since there are any number of safety issues involved. A door-to-door solicitation of surrounding neighbors is required and you can charge between $6 to $9 per hour.4. Offer policing/removal or clearance of trash services to surrounding neighbors which involve trash pickup within nearby residential area. Limit the extent of pickup to small areas and be aware that there are no hazardous terrain or elements involved in this process. Again, a door-to-door solicitation of neighbors is in order. You can charge between $6.75 to $7.50 per hour.5. Acquire a set of window cleaning tools [a bucket, liquid window cleaner, sponge, squeegee, handle with an extension and a small step ladder] and solicit local businesses for your window cleaning services. However, be careful to limit the height of the window cleaning to no higher than one story. Charge $1 per window panel.6. Become a proxy/stand-in for neighbors to allow delivery of goods and packages to your home/apartment. Acquire the authority to sign any receipt of incoming packages as an accepting neighbor. Charge $1 per each package handled by you.7. Consider becoming a restaurant-cafe customer liaison by using your cell phone at restaurants-cafes to coordinate with the hostess to keep track of waiting customers. Whenever there’s a very long period of time to activate a waiting list, you want to offer the restaurant your services so that customers do not have to stand around for any lengthy period of time. And when their name/assigned number comes up; you can call the upcoming customer’s cell phone to tell them that they can return to the restaurant and be served. The call back fee is usually around $0.50 cents on a per head basis. For example, a couple would be charged $1.00 while children under 6 would not be charged. Placement of a plaque which outlines your fee schedule near the hostess station is sufficient to garner attention of prospective customers who will value your services since they can do other activities outside of the restaurant often beyond the range of any inhouse paging system. You realize that everyone has a cellphone and why not take advantage of the connectivity to make the diner’s experience worthwhile. The restaurant will also appreciate the added service you are providing as a customer liaison.8. Why not become a paid feeder servicing the disabled at nearby nursing, convalescent, assisted living/care centers and hospitals. It involves feeding food to patients who are unable to feed themselves. The starting rate is $8.00 per hour. The only downside is that one has to take precautions to wash one’s hands after each feeding. A posting of your services [by a business card or flyer] on a reviewable bulletin board would be enough to gearente customers. The paid feeder position is one of the fastest growing occupation at this time.Good luck!

  7. Jeanmarie M. says:

    Really…really…really? These 5 tips have been in every textbook, newspaper, magazine article, websites, etc. for the last 50 years…tell us something we don’t already know. “There is nothing new under the sun….”

  8. KL Love says:

    I really like these tips to help give confidence to the disabled in this tough job market. I also like the Social Security Administration’s new site called ChooseWork.net. The site provides many resources and benefits of entering the job market for recipients of SSDI and SSI.
    I know that uncertainty about losing benefits and health insurance are big concerns in entering the workforce. I think the site does a great job on helping disabled people understand their opportunities.