New to HR? Learning The Art of Negotiation

new to hr? learning the art of negotiation

Negotiation is something you need to be skilled at in order to get the right offer. No matter what job you’re interested in, the art of negotiation will be a valuable asset to your career. Money is always a touchy topic. But with so many conversations going on now about money and equal pay, it is important to understand where you stand – and they – stand.

Recently, for a school homework question, I went to and put in the information for my current position and location and saw the difference between what I was being paid, versus what they consider to be the “average” in my area. It was a little eye opening and made me think about why I haven’t reached a level that others may have in my field, doing the exact same job as me.

How people view money and their job title begins at home. Having a healthy relationship with money is one of the most important basic rules when it comes to finances. Starting out, as an entry level or intern, your pay will more than likely not be what you want it to be, and if you’re not ok with that, you’ve got a long way to go. This doesn’t mean you should low ball the skills you do have or convince yourself you deserve less, it is just the way the game of business is played. However, this is also a downfall of many organizations. If an organization can not pay a person what they deserve for their role in the company, that employee will more than likely leave. Causing the organization even more money and lost time.

Here are a few things I’ve learned along the way to help me get what I’m due:

Understand the Organization Might NOT Have the Budget for YOU

Organizations can only offer what they have to pay. If you’ve been working in an area for a long time and have the skills and knowledge of a top performer, there is a certain amount of money you feel that you’re owed for your services. That’s fine. Everyone has a certain amount of money that they won’t compromise on. But, this does mean that you might lose out on an opportunity to work for the company of your dreams because they only have a set budget for a new position and your numbers don’t match. It’s not about what you have to offer or can bring to the table – don’t take it personally. Only you can decide if you’re willing or able to go below your fixed number to work for a company that you’ve been after.

Understand the Amount of Money You Need to Live

Having a healthy relationship with money starts with having an understanding of the basics it will take you to survive. Once you understand what you need and what you want, you’re better set up to negotiate for both.

I think negotiation works best after or during an interview. You’ve discussed the job description with the employer, determined your role and position, talked about the company culture and what you both can do for each other. Now it is time to talk money. Don’t get nervous, you’ve had this conversation over and over in your head. Some companies are inflexible in their budget and unfortunately will low ball an offer because if you take it, that’s more money they are saving. But the worst they can say is no.

Does this Amount Include Your Professional Development?

Think about your own growth in HR, because it can be expensive. The training, the classes, certifications, conferences – will your company be willing to pay for this or is this something you’ll be financing out of your own pocket? Some people might think of this as an added benefit, but it is an important one that you need to constantly be on top of. Your growth in this field determines how far you excel.

Don’t Wait Until the Last Minute

Some organizations don’t disclose pay information in the ad, and it can definitely be frustrating. But this is one of the most important reasons for why you don’t need to let the hiring process get to the offer before you disclose the amount you need to make at this organization. Understand the company might not be able to provide this and pass on you, but at least you won’t have wasted your time on multiple interviews.

There a lot of great articles and podcasts about learning how to negotiate and you should be taking advantage of all of them. Don’t wait until you’re in the situation to know what you need to survive. Figure out your finances early in the game to determine where you stand. This will also help you with eliminating jobs that do not fit your criteria. Negotiate smart and hard, and most importantly, remain true to yourself.

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Jazmine Wilkes

Proud millennial human resource leader focused on sharing HR insights, learnings and resources. Sharer of memes. Author of HRJazzy. Connect with her on LinkedIn.

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  1. Donna Paige says

    Great article. This is something I’ve struggled with; I am entry-level and unsure of how to negotiate a starting pay. I will take the advice in your article.



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