Conquering Interviews with Better Negotiating Skills

Negotiation is a skill that we all use at some time in our lives. Whether it's with looking for a job, a dispute with a spouse, buying a car or a house, we all have occasions where we have to negotiate.

Keys to Successful Negotiation

Negotiation experts will tell you the most important aspect in a good negotiation is knowledge. This requires researching the subject you are negotiating about thoroughly. In the case of interviewing, the more you know about the industry, the company, and the job ahead of time, the better. Especially when it comes to negotiating compensation, knowing what other people in the same type of position are paid can be very helpful. Negotiating skills can also be helpful in terms of persuading an interviewer that you are the right person for the job.

Typically, when an employer decides they are going to recruit someone, they base their need on a specific person or a type of person that they have imagined. If the position is one that previously existed and the person who had the position last was good at their job, they are probably envisioning the ideal candidate should be just like the former employee. Drawing out what the employer is looking for and convincing the employer that you would be a good fit requires negotiating skills.

The good news is there are ways that you can research a company, an industry, and compensation before the interview. Does the company look for people who fit a certain profile? How much do people in your position generally get paid in the industry? To find out more about the company or industry, check out the Vault Reports web site:

To find out about what other people are being paid in the industry, consider getting a Personal Salary report. This is a report that will detail what someone in your position should make in a given industry:

A second principle used by effective negotiatiors is to come up with alternatives. Good negotiators don't walk into a negotiation with only one way they can get what they want. They think of several scenarios under which they could be satisfied. This kind of creative thinking can be very impressive in a job interview situation. For example, if you are not the best match for the position as they described it, presenting to the interviewer a couple of other scenarios under which you could be a better fit with their organization can score you major points and possibly turn a situation that could have been a waste of time for both parties into one with a positive outcome.

When most people hear the word "negotiation," they automatically think of one party being successful and the other not. Typically we think of a negotiator overpowering their opponent and getting them to agree to something they didn't want. While some negotiators do use tricks, most successful negotiators do not rely on them because they do not work in the long term. After all, someone can only be tricked one time, and after that they won't trust you anymore. In a good negotiation, both parties come away successful and get something they want.

Another important point to keep in mind is that you have something the other person wants. They wouldn't take the time to interview you if you weren't potentially valuable to them. As in any negotiating situation, you should always be prepared to walk away if an outcome that you would be satisfied with does not appear to be available.

About the Author

Scott Brown is the author of the Job Search Handbook ( As editor of the weekly newsletter on job searching, Scott has written many articles on the subject. He wrote the Job Search Handbook to provide job seekers with a complete yet easy to use guide to finding a job effectively.