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Negotiating: Twenty-One Rules of the Game

By Ford R. Myers
President, Career Potential, LLC

Your negotiating ability is a strength and an asset to your prospective employer. By doing it effectively right from the start, you are proving that when you’re on the other side of the desk, you will negotiate on behalf of the company to make the best deals, get the best prices, and generate the most profit. Some hiring managers even go so far as to say that when candidates do no negotiating at all, or stop negotiating too early in the process, they’re disappointed!

Everyone knows that negotiating for your livelihood is “serious business.” But in another sense, negotiating is a game! I’ll be honest and tell you that employers win this game the majority of the time. Want to know why? Because most job seekers don’t know the rules! It’s pretty tough to win a game when you don’t know how the game is played, right?

Here are the rules that you’ll need to study and master, to achieve your salary potential:

  1. Do extensive salary research, preparation and practice beforehand
  2. Defer salary discussions until an offer seems imminent
  3. Discuss salary only with the ultimate decision-maker
  4. Get the employer to state a salary figure or range first
  5. Wait until an actual offer is extended before negotiating anything
  6. Discuss salary only after you have fully described your relevant accomplishments
  7. Know your strategy before attending the negotiation meeting
  8. Always negotiate the offer, no matter how good it seems initially
  9. Finalize the salary first, before negotiating other items such as benefits
  10. Never misrepresent your former salary
  11. Don’t confuse salary with the full compensation package
  12. Avoid tying your potential salary to your old salary
  13. Use silence as one of your most powerful negotiating tools
  14. “Fit” is more important than financial compensation
  15. Leverage one offer against other offers if possible
  16. Be patient and disciplined throughout the process
  17. You don’t get what you deserve; you get what you negotiate
  18. Never accept or reject an offer on the spot – do a thorough analysis
  19. You can only win at negotiation if you’re willing to “walk away”
  20. Be sure the compensation package you finally accept is a “win-win”
  21. Maintain a positive, upbeat attitude and enjoy the “game!”

Remember, compensation negotiation IS a game. Games have rules. Games are supposed to be fun. And as is true in all games, the more you practice, the better you’ll do. By mastering the twenty-one rules of this game, you’ll be on a more “level playing field” with a good shot at winning your next negotiation!

About the Author:
Ford R. Myers is an award-winning career coach and President of Career Potential, LLC. He is author of the best-seller, Get The Job You Want, Even When No One’s Hiring. Ford’s firm helps clients take charge of their careers, create the work they love, and earn what they deserve! He has held senior consulting positions at three of the nation’s largest career service firms. Ford’s articles have appeared in thousands of publications and web sites, and he has been interviewed on every major television and radio network. Ford has also conducted presentations at hundreds of companies, associations and universities. Learn more at

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