Using Negotiation Techniques To Get The Most From Your Job Interview

by by Jan Potgieter
(London, UK)

There are few more stressful events in your career than interviewing for a new position. It makes little difference whether you are interviewing for another position with more responsibility within your present organisation or if you are exploring new opportunities - the stakes are high.

A positive outcome will decide how much of your time & skills you will be devoting to a new opportunity and what you will receive in return for that commitment. A negative result may mean that you miss out on the opportunity to increase your earnings & level of job satisfaction which may have a significant impact on your financial & emotional well-being.

What are some of the key things that you can do to tip the scales in your favour?

1. Be aware of how you respond to stress.

Each of us have different reactions to stress. Some of us start focusing on the detail & the numbers becoming quite aloof, others zoom in on the importance of relationships and often respond quite emotionally. It is very important that you realise how you respond in stressful situations so that you can ensure you prepare an approach that will ensure you come across as confident and conscious of all the elements that contribute to success in the workplace. Needless to say, success in the workplace demands an approach that successfully deals with both the emotional & personal needs of colleagues whilst at the same time contributing to the achievement of 'hard' organisational targets.

2. Spend adequate time on preparation

You are never likely to over prepare for a discussion about your future!

I am often surprised at how little preparation interviewees engage in. The focus of your preparation will vary slightly depending on whether you are interviewing for a new position within your present organisation or if you are pursuing a totally new opportunity elsewhere


A. Interviewing for a new position in your present organisation:

-Ensure that you are in sync with the vision & the mission of the organisation.
-Compile a detailed list of the objectives that you have delivered to demonstrate your ability to achieve agreed goals.
-Obtain references or testimonials from colleagues (your present manager would probably be the best one) attesting to the qualities that are being looked for in the new position.
-Be prepared to explain how you respond to severe pressure & stress.
-Conduct research on the levels of remuneration paid to people in similar positions within your industry.
Prepare a detailed set of questions to ask during the interview. Some of the most important questions would include:

-Why is the position available?
-What would indicate success in the position?
-How will success be measured?
-What support will be made available to aid in the achievement of set objectives?
-What will happen in the event of overachievement of objectives? What will happen in the event of underachievement of objectives?
-What does the ideal candidate look like for this position?
-What evidence would convince the interviewer that they have found the best candidate?
-Ask the interviewer to describe the company culture to test whether this coincides with what you regard to be acceptable.
-Would you be able to meet some of your potential colleagues so as to assist you in understanding team dynamics before making a decision?

B. Interviewing for a new position elsewhere:

-Ensure that you read up as much as possible about the new organisation including taking a look at what is said about the organisation by their competition & market analysts.
-It i-s critical to understand the vision & mission of the organisation.
-Figure out how the organisation's vision & mission overlaps with your personal goals & vision for career development.
-Compile a detailed list of the objectives that you have delivered in the past to demonstrate your ability to achieve agreed goals.
-Obtain as many references and/or testimonials from present & past colleagues, clients & suppliers attesting to the qualities that are being looked for in the new position. By the way, probably the single most important question asked by people checking your references will be: -Would you hire this person again??
-Be prepared to explain how you respond to severe pressure & stress.
-Conduct research on the levels of remuneration paid to people in similar positions within your industry.
Prepare a detailed set of questions to ask during the interview. Some of the most important questions would include:

-Why is the position available?
-What would indicate success in the position?
-How will success be measured?
-What support will be made available to aid in the achievement of set objectives?
-What will happen in the event of overachievement of objectives? What will happen in the event of underachievement of objectives?
-What does the ideal candidate look like for this position?
-What evidence would convince the interviewer that they have found the best candidate?
-Ask the interviewer to describe the company culture to test whether this coincides with what you regard to be acceptable.
-Would you be able to meet some of your potential colleagues so as to assist you in understanding team dynamics before making a decision?

3. Create alternatives

Do not leave yourself in the position where you have to reach agreement at all costs. By far the best way to increase your power in any negotiation is to ensure that you have a number of equally attractive alternatives available. This way you will prevent yourself from agreeing to a sub optimal arrangement and you are able to walk away from the table if need be. If you want to increase your power there is no substitute for creativity - make sure that you create as many alternatives as possible.

4. Use time to your advantage

Understand the impact of timing on decision making. If you need to have an outcome in a hurry then you are likely to concede more and vice versa. Make sure you ask questions about timing and ensure that you create an environment within which you are not pressurised by time.

5. Lead with your weaknesses

One of the key principles of persuasion states that to establish your credibility & authority it is important to own up to your weaknesses early on in negotiations. This will achieve two things:

1.It will prevent you leaving the interview on a negative note having left your weaknesses to be uncovered by the interviewer?s questions at the end of the interview.
2.The likeliness is significant that your interviewer will uncover your weaknesses in any event. When they do discover your weaknesses and they happen to be exactly what you told them it will establish you as a trustworthy & credible resource. There is one important point though - only lead with your weaknesses if your strengths far outweigh their impact!
6. Ask for more than you want

Almost without fail you will be asked to state your expectations with regards remuneration. Based on your research you should anchor the negotiation by slightly overstating your expectations. Be careful not to pose what might be viewed to be an extreme demand as in this case the interviewer may decide that it will be impossible to reach agreement. By slightly overstating your remuneration expectations you are leaving yourself room to make concessions in order to advance the negotiation at a later stage.

If you don't have to make any concessions then you will have icing on your cake!

Good luck with your interview!

Business Negotiation Solutions Ltd
(www.negotiationeurope.com)

Business Negotiation Solutions Limited
(www.negotiationeurope.com)

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