How To Confidently Negotiate In A Job Interview (When You Are Shy & Non-Confrontational)

Negotiating is an intimidating task for most people, but it is especially difficult for people who are high achievers and people pleasers. Mostly, because it’s not something most of us have had to do before. If you were a high achiever in school, most of the time, your accolades were earned and presented to you; you didn’t have to confidently negotiate to be seen as smart or successful in school.

However, in your career, you will need to confidently negotiate. And this can be particularly difficult if you are a person with self-doubt or impostor syndrome because your default will be to a people pleaser. You don’t want to rock the boat because you are grateful to even a job offer, you don’t want to jeopardize your chances. 

I know negotiating can be difficult. I used to get so nervous at job interviews, that I would even think about negotiating a job offer because I wanted to avoid the confrontation. But as I changed my mindset, negotiating got easier, and now it is a vital part of my everyday job.

Before I start outlining the 5 steps to negotiating when you are non-confrontational and a people pleaser, I want to put a quick foreword about why you should be negotiating. If you work in the service of others or love your job, it can be easy to avoid negotiating because you love what you do so much you would do it for free. However, negotiating is a pivotal part of a career and it’s important to reframe our minds that negotiating is bad; it’s problem-solving. 

When you negotiate, it’s important to understand that you are doing this because this is providing this type of value, not just a number. 

One of the examples I like to keep in mind is CEOs of non-profits. The CEO of the Red Cross makes over $300K. And you might think (like I did), what that money should be going to the people Red Cross helps, not the CEO. It’s so important to reframe how you think about making money and not feel guilty about negotiating.

Yes, 300k is a lot, but also running a global company is a lot. If their position was volunteer, not only would not one do a full time for free, but you couldn’t possibly get anyone with that experience that’s willing to do it for less considering a lot of CEO positions pay far more for operating a global organization. And although that is a lot of money, they are also doing a lot of work that saves the organization much more, allows the organizations to help more, and is well worth the money. In order for anyone to show up to give that value, they need to be paid accordingly. Red Cross is known as one of the most well-managed charities in the world because they have the staff to manage the organization.

So if you would like to learn how to confidently negotiate when you are shy, non-confrontational, and when you really don’t want to – follow these 5 steps!

 

1. Ask A Question

It can easy to think that negations are only comprised of businesspeople in intense boardrooms, but negotiation is just problem-solving; it’s finding a solution to a problem. So if you looking to solve a problem and want to bring up your perspective, what do you do? Ask a question.

This is my default for everything, but it a great jumping-off point to sharing your ideas. When you ask a question, you expect the other person to respond, and then you can respond. This opens up the floor to the negotiations. And if you negotiating salary in a job interview, you also respond to a question, with another question. For example, if the employer asks you “what are your salary expectations?” You can answer, “Well I would love to hear more about the position, what is your budget for this role?” That puts the onus back on the employer so you can avoid giving a range or specific number. It also gives you a negotiation point to start from.

 

2. Start With Gratitude 

Negotiation is about understanding the other person’s side and situation. As you move through your career, it’s important to understand to approach career relationships with a goal to solve a problem, not an entitlement. After the employer answers the salary, negotiation terms, etc., thank them.

Tell them you really appreciate this opportunity (or offer if they’ve made it), but move forward with the negotiation, by again asking the reasoning behind their decision. You can say “thank you so much for this opportunity. I’m so excited to have the opportunity to be a part of this team, but based on my research, positions with this responsibility are usually paid X amount. Is there room to negotiate?”

 

3. Back it up with facts

Now, this brings me to point 3. You need to back up your reasoning with facts which means you need to have done it prior to the interview. Use Glassdoor.com or another salary comparison website to see the average salary in your area for this position. Make sure that you are clear about what salaries for comparable companies are and what the responsibilities include.

But don’t limit your salary expectations to JUST the job, see what the salary is comparable to the responsibilities. A lot of times jobs can have responsibilities of a more senior position or different positions, make sure you negotiating based on responsibilities.

 

4. Don’t forget to negotiate terms other than salary

A lot of people stop negotiations at the salary. But especially if you work in public service or a union environment, there might already be a certain range. Instead of negotiating just salary, make sure you negotiate confidently other terms as well including education, paid time off, vacation, work from home flexibility, and anything else that can be included in your role. I know a couple of people who have negotiated parking spaces at their work because parking can be expensive and annoying to constantly find. Everything is negotiable.

 

5. Avoid the word “Fair” Aim for “That’s right”

The idea of fairness is subjective. When you try to argue “what is fair” in a negotiation, it invalidates the other person’s point of view. Instead of trying to reach a compromise that’s “fair,” aim to reach a negotiation that’s “right.” People love to be right and feel like they are doing the “right” thing, not begrudgingly being bulldozed into a decision they don’t want to do. That’s when negotiations turn hostile, resentful, and why most people prefer to avoid them. This is a method I learned from Chris Voss who wrote the book “Never Split The Difference.” So instead of approaching negotiations by what you think is “fair,” create statements in which the other person will respond “that’s right.” For an example of how to use this negotiation in a sentence, and tie the entire negotiation together, be sure to listen to the podcast episode!

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It’s so important to negotiate confidently in a job interview. Negotiating is about more than just getting your way, it’s about finding a solution that works for everyone. If need help learning how to overcome self-doubt when it comes to achieving your dream career, make sure to sign up for 1:1 coaching! Good luck!

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