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Over the Table – Negotiating an Employment Contract

Negotiating Contracts

Deal or No Deal? Source : SEO

‘Think of the conditions of your employment contract as kings, queens, bishops or pawns in a game of chess when you’re negotiating’

Bargain your way to achieving the work-life balance that you want. Here are some brief pointers on how to negotiate your employment contract and get what you want in your job.

Initial Thoughts
Write down what you want; what your absolute minimum conditions are, the conditions that have not been satisfied in your position, or the areas in which you would like a better outcome.

Make sure you know what you are not willing to negotiate. When negotiating, have this clear in your mind and walk away when you are not happy with what is being offered.

Think about the reasons why your employer may not be meeting your conditions.

You need to have an understanding of the other party’s concerns and issues in order to negotiate conditions successfully. Don’t view them as an opponent to be beaten.

Think about what you are willing to compromise to get a better outcome.

Making your first offer
Presenting your first offer is of the most crucial parts of the negotiation process. Remember never to be the first to make an offer. Hearing their offer first will give you a better idea of what you should offer.

If the other party’s offer is unreasonable, make sure you don’t back yourself into a corner by accepting anything less than what would be minimally acceptable to you. Suggest to them that the negotiations will not go any further if they don’t offer you something more reasonable.

Accepting their first offer may make you look too enthusiastic or make the other party think that they could have asked for more. So never take the first offer.

Rather than accept their first offer, suggest an offer that is more beneficial to you and that is not your ‘walk away point’ or what is minimally acceptable to you. This allows you more room to negotiate.

Closing the deal
Help secure the offer by giving them something you know they want. For example, if you offer to do procedural work, take additional hours or cover extended office hours in exchange for a higher salary. You will need to make some concessions but if you plan it carefully enough, you might be able to give up conditions you don’t care much for.

Make your concessions progressively smaller. For example if you are negotiating salary, you may discuss reductions of $8,000 than $5,000 than $2,000. If your concessions get bigger and bigger as you go along, the other party may think that if they persist, they will get more out of you. This will increasingly disadvantage you.

Make sure your contract reflects exactly what you agreed upon.

Ensure regular reviews of your contract are included in the offer so that the contract continues to reflect the changing needs of both parties.

Make sure a dispute resolution process is also included in the contract.

For more information on negotiating an employment contract, visit the GPRA website.