Many companies are moving to a no-negotiation offer; what advice do you have in these situations? originally appeared on Quora - the knowledge sharing network where compelling questions are answered by people with unique insights.
There's two critical issues here. First, any job offer is a test of you both as an employee and as an ambassador for the company. Second, many companies often become somewhat jaded to their employees, because when an employee asks for anything, it's from a completely self-interested perspective. Most employees don't ask for things that are focused on improving the company. Therefore, companies often see employees as being selfish.
Your job is to use this opportunity to recast yourself as respectful and not a pushover, and also of being capable of looking out for the company. These things increase your value long-term, which is your real overall goal. If you can't get that raise now, you need to be setting yourself up for it in the future.
Ask, "Is it disrespectful if I ask to clarify a few points?" This is a form of what I refer to as a "no-oriented" question. People are much more comfortable saying "no" than they are saying "yes." The word "no" is a manner of protection, whereas "yes" is a commitment. If the answer to this question is "yes," then you just learned a great deal about your potential future employer, which makes you smarter. "Yes" is most often a trap to people who are leery of saying it.
The next thing you want to do is use a label. "It sounds like there's no movement on any of these points?" Then go silent and wait for an answer. It's critical that you wait for a response. The label acts as a very gentle form of a question that doesn't make people feel questioned. You want to keep their comfort level high here so that they are happy to continue to talk.
Then to make sure that you've thoroughly clarified the response, use a mirror. The definition of a mirror (from my book) is just repeating the last three words that someone has said. This is a great tool to get people to expand on what they've just articulated, while at the same time feeling completely in control. They don't feel challenged.
If you haven't had the opportunity to ask yet, this is where the critical question, "How can I be guaranteed to be involved in projects that are critical to the strategic future of the company?" comes in.
This is the question that recasts you as someone who is looking out for the company. It therefore increases your value to the company. This also makes you more valuable to the person you are asking because it shows that you want to be successful with them in the future.
Throughout the interview process, the questions, "How can I be guaranteed to be involved in projects that are critical to the strategic future of the company?" and "What does it take to be successful here?" should guide you to a job offer that you want.
Finally, when all is said and done, you want to use the label, "You've been very generous. It looks like there's nothing more here you can do." If there's any wiggle room at all, here's is where they will look to find it for you.
There's a saying I live by: "Never be mean to someone who can hurt you by doing nothing." It's pretty much a universal truth that everyone you deal with can probably hurt you in some fashion, whether by action or inaction. If you can accept that as true, then the opposite is also true: pretty much everyone you deal with can also help you, even in some small way, if they feel like it.
Your overall goal in the interaction is to be respectful, deferential, and pleasant to deal with so that when the final decision comes down to what small thing, if anything, they can do to help you, they will do it.
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