Power Relationships and Negotiation

Generally speaking, the higher the level of skill and experience required to do a job, the more equal the power relationship between the employer and the job seeker and, therefore, the more room for meaningful negotiation. The reverse is true for jobs that require low skill levels and little experience.

Factors Affecting the Negotiation Process

Power relationships are also affected by other, less quantifiable variables that shouldn’t be overlooked. The most important is how badly you need a job. Even the most skilled and experienced people can find themselves out of work through no fault of their own, and that changes the balance of power.

What can you do in to retain some power during the negotiation process? Consider taking these steps:

  • Audit your skills, training, experience and accomplishments. Objectively evaluate your skill sets and determine which can be transferred to other occupational categories. An experienced manager can usually apply those same skills across a broad array of occupations.
  • Develop a focused salary research strategy. Find out the compensation and benefit packages being paid for comparable skill sets for the occupation and geographic location you’re targeting.
  • Do as much homework as possible on the nature and extent of the demand for the skills, training, education and experience within your chosen occupational field.
  • Determine your compensation range and the threshold below which you cannot go. This will help you avoid making a lateral move instead of an upward move.
  • During job interviews, be prepared to make your case for the unique value you bring to the organization.
  • If in the process of evaluating your skills, training, education and experience, you discover very little that puts you in a position of power, consider additional training, education or even a transitional job that would give you more valuable experience

The more you have to offer an employer, the more power you’ll have during the negotiation process, and vice versa.

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