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Negotiation Strategies that Set You Up for Success in a New Job

Recruiters are trying to scope jobs as best they can and interviewing for certain skill sets. But, in some instances, I’m hearing from candidates that midstream—between the second and third interviews—they find job requirements have changed.

The culture of work has shifted dramatically over the last two years. The Great Resignation, also called The Great Reshuffle and The Great Reevaluation, has been a bit of a media darling lately, but it’s more than hype when you consider nearly 69 million people quit their jobs in the U.S. in 2021. People are reevaluating and thinking more and more about work-life balance and other broader definitions of job satisfaction than just salary and title. 

At the same time, according to Susan Baushke, a Career Transition & Mobility Consultant for LHH, employers are under pressure to replace talent that moved on to other pastures. While many of her clients are being actively courted by organizations, many candidates, she says, are increasingly nervous that what they are being promised is not what they are going to get. This is a consequence of organizations having so many positions to fill and not knowing precisely what kind of candidate is needed. 

“I doubt employers are consciously and deliberately doing a ‘bait and switch’ on candidates,” she says, “but there are a lot of open positions, and therefore, fewer people to do the work. Recruiters are trying to scope jobs as best they can and interviewing for certain skill sets. But, in some instances, I’m hearing from candidates that midstream—between the second and third interviews—they find job requirements have changed. Candidates are being asked about different skills than were originally listed in the job description.”

Baushke has been working with her clients on how to protect themselves from changing requirements while still in the negotiation stage. She wants to ensure candidates put ample thought into assessing whether a new employer will be a good fit for them, instead of giving the employer all the evaluation power. “The Age of Association—where employees associated with a certain company—is past,” Baushke says. “We’re now in the Age of Authenticity. It’s the age of ‘I have to know who I am and what I’m doing, and how I’m adding value and reaching my goals’.” 

Here are some tips Baushke offers for negotiating your way into a job that is a much of a fit for you as you are for it. 
 
Set assessment milestones: A 30-60-90 plan 

One major shift in the work world over the last few years is that the employee is continuously assessing the employer, and not just the other way around. Many clients, Baushke says, are unaccustomed to the idea that, as a candidate or new hire, they should evaluate the employer as much as employer evaluates them. 

And, she says, agreeing to have an official review at 30-60-90-day intervals is an organized way of thinking about it. “I encourage bringing up a 30-60-90-day review as part of the negotiation. This demonstrates a firm commitment to have reviews in these intervals to ensure both employer and employee are on track.”

Make a career pathing plan part of your development plan

When thinking about career trajectory, Baushke stresses that employee development is no longer just about salary increases or promotions, but about looking at sustainable employability. These are concerns that should be addressed at the negotiation level. 

It’s important that candidates think about where they see themselves within that organization—if indeed they do—in five years, and how they can be developed to reach that goal. Baushke suggests, “Ask if they have a mentorship program. Do they assign sponsors? Do they offer career coaching for development? Will they support pursuit of additional course work? Think about anything that will help develop you to get you to the next level.”

Don’t quit your search 

Baushke stresses the importance of a contingency plan if a job just really does not meet the expectations set out by the interview process. “It’s about putting it in your head as a candidate or a new employee that you need to be continuously assessing the employer. At every stage, ask yourself ‘Is this correct for my career? Am I reaching my objectives?’” she says. “I recommend candidates don’t stop searching until they are 90 days into the role and have figured out whether it really is a match or not.”