You've got him right where you want him. He's wide-eyed; practically
begging. All you have to do is say the word, and he'll give it to you,
just the way Mama likes it. Yes, oh, yesss, extra vacation and
immediate enrollment in the 401K!
The new-job negotiation is indeed a seduction, and you want to play
just-hard-enough to get. You're never in a better position than in
these early stages of passion, when they're trying to lure you - once
you're in the job, you rarely have that same level of "hand." But
unless you play it just right, not only will Mama not get what she
wants, she might walk away with nothing but bruised feelings, burned
bridges, and a bitter taste in her mouth.
Q: So, CC, how exactly do I ask for what I want?
A: There's a fine line between respectful assertiveness and
hubristic arrogance. CC has seen too many women fail on both sides of
it. Either they're wimpy, feeling it's unladylike to negotiate, or else
they come on like a litigator hopped up on the Juice. ("Behold my list
of demands!") By the end, CC is ready to not only rescind the offer but
also recommend neutering.
Repeat after CC: "I really want to make things work, but would
it be possible to increase the salary/vacation/title/minibar
allowance?" Not "I need," "I want," "I must have." No one cares that
your roommate went off her meds and has to move back in with her
parents or that your kitty needs a new kidney. Keep it direct but
respectful. There's room to get tough later.
Q: What's my next step if that fails?
A: Listen to the pushback. Do you get a sense that the recruiter
has room to maneuver? Ideally, you want them to make the first offer,
but every good negotiator knows that trick ("No, after you, I insist").
Realize what hand you are playing (you're the hottest of shits, and
this job has been on the market for four months and has been turned
down by three other hot shits) and who your opponent is. While many
companies expect a little wiggle, CC knows one exec who famously
insists he is never going to pay a penny more than what you are
Q: What about soliciting a new job offer just to go back and get a raise at work?
A: Ah, the bane of CC's existence. Going on an interview and/or
trying to get a fair sense of your market worth is OK. But if you have
no interest in the job, stop the charade early. And for God's sake,
don't accept and then not show up Monday morning, saying you've changed
your mind. Then you will piss off CC, and as those who have lived to tell know, it's not pretty.
Check out The Marie Claire Guide to Getting Ahead
The game of life? Win it, easy. How to put your bank account and your career in fast-forward.