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Welcome to Recruiter Q&A, where we pose employment-related questions to the experts and share their answers! Have a question you’d like to ask? Leave it in the comments, and you might just see it in the next installment of Recruiter Q&A!

Today’s Question: What are your best negotiation tips that employees should know when they’re trying to land promotions? How can they convince management that they are the right person for the job?


Skyler1. Don’t Let Your Current Title Limit You

Ignore your current salary and job title. Instead, focus on improving your skills, both within your industry and outside of it. These skills should include public speaking, writing, and communicating with other employees.

When it comes time to meet with your employer about a promotion, ask them what it is they expect of you in order for you to receive the desired promotion. Repeat back to them, “Okay, great. What I am hearing you say is that if I complete XYZ, then I will receive ABC. Is this correct?” The negotiation takes care of itself at this point.

Skyler Irvine, GraceLane.co

Jordan2. Make Smart Rationalizations

I suggest making your request more persuasive through smart rationalization. Here are a few successful rationales we’ve seen:

1. You need it. Need is a powerful negotiating tool. You can’t stay in a job that doesn’t meet your needs.

2. You want it. Tell your employer that this promotion will motivate and excite you. The more motivated you are, the more you’ll do for the company. It’s a win-win.

3. You deserve it. Bring concrete examples of how you’ve excelled in your current position to prove that you’re ready for the next step.

Jordan Wan, CloserIQ

Cheryl3. Prove Yourself Outside of the Organization

Let management know about leadership experience that you have outside of the workplace. Even if you have not had the opportunity to demonstrate leadership skills on the job, your other experiences may be persuasive.

For example, you may have taken on a leadership role in a professional association, or you may have used your leadership abilities in your community. I had a client who was in finance, and he headed the finance committee of his homeowner association. This is relevant experience, and it can help you build a case for your promotion.

Cheryl E. Palmer, Call to Career

Matthew4. You Need Leverage and Foresight

One of the best negotiation tips that I know has to do with two things that are related: foresight and leverage.

Most employees don’t have the foresight to see how their bosses will react to their negotiation efforts. As a result, they usually push too hard or push too little. Employees might value themselves much more highly than their bosses do.

Similarly, nobody is getting promoted because their boss is “nice.” They are being promoted because they have leverage. Leverage can come in a variety of forms – e.g., the employee’s performance or a job offer from a competitor. Whatever your leverage may be, you need to present it in such a way that everybody in the room knows you are in a position of power. If you have your leverage and the foresight to make a play, you’ll probably be walking out of the room with what you want.

Matthew Mercuri, Dupray

John5. Data > Emotions

It can sometimes be hard to make a case for your promotion based on direct results, especially in very collaborative situations, but it’s still worth framing everything in terms of direct costs and results.

This means not only preparing data and facts that support you, but also anticipating your boss’s questions or concerns and bringing relevant data for those along as well.

John Turner, UsersThink

Michelle6. Go Beyond the Job Listing

If you’re applying for an internal promotion opportunity, get to know the hiring manager and what they’re looking for. Sometimes, it’s more than what is listed in HR’s job description.

Michelle Merritt, Merrfeld Resumes and Coaching

Olga7. Remember: A Negotiation Is a Conversation

We negotiate all the time – at work, at home, and with vendors, businesses, colleagues, family, and friends. Finding a way to get what you want while addressing the wants and needs of others is key to a successful negotiation. That is, if you treat the negotiations as a conversation where each party must get value instead of an argument, you are more likely to end up with what you want.

For example, a conversation that demonstrates to your employer how you increased revenue or decreased costs above and beyond expectations – a quantifiable value – paints a compelling picture for a promotion.

Olga Mack, ClearSlide


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