PART B. How to Negotiate Like a Scout: Be Prepared!


When Robert Barden-Powell, the founder of Scouts was asked the question,

“Prepared for what?” he replied, “Why, for any old thing,”  

Successful pay negotiations is a perfect time to be like Barden-Powell and be prepared for anything. Preparedness begins with thoroughly (and as objectively as possible) doing your research.

Know what you are worth!

Know the market value of your skills.  What do others in your field earn? What do their competitors pay?  How many people with your skills are available in the current market? 

Not sure where to find this information? Here are are few places to start:

  • Look at local job sites (trick to try – change the dollar value in the search criteria and see when jobs like yours appear and disappear), 
  • Ask recruitment consultants specialising in your industry or profession, 
  • Look to the guides published regularly by the big recruitment brands e.g Hays, or Hudson,
  • Look to government statistics
  • Ask friends in the industry. 

Also consider other factors that might influence pay e.g. is the organisation not-for-profit or government? If so, how might this influence expectations?

Now, get specific and see what you can understand about exactly how your skills might add to the organisation’s bottom line. Then get even more specific and research what challenges or current benefits are affecting the organisation and their market.

Know what you are entitled to

Understand your legal entitlements.  Avoid being seduced by false offers/ We have heard of candidates being ‘sold’ basic legal entitlements as if there were bonuses e.g. four weeks annual leave or matching your retirement savings up to 3% of your salary.  

Be clear on your own bottom line

What are your top and bottom figures and conditions?  Remember top figure is what you would ideally like and the bottom figure is the point at which you will walk away from the negotiation.

If you are not prepared to walk away, it is not your bottom line.

Back up your expectations with reasons.

Be prepared to share your research information and its sources.

To be able to say, 

“I believe the position is worth $X as it involves similar skills, attributes and level of experience to X position as currently assessed by X  organisation” is likely to be more persuasive than, “I believe I am worth $X”

In sum

Be like a Scout.

Show up to negotiations as prepared as you would for a mountain trek, albeit with slightly different provisions i.e. don’t bring a thermos of tea to the negotiations, even if you expect them to be long and cold.

Good luck out there in the wilderness of pay and conditions negotiations.

Links and all that Jazz

Next up How to negotiate like a woman: Think of others.

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