By Ashley Hughes This article is a part of the May/June 2020, Volume 32, Volume 3, Audiology Today issue. Negotiating can be very intimidating for most people, regardless of their professional experience. People often describe the process as uncomfortable and sometimes fear the perception of being pushy. However, reaching the point of negotiating compensation is a pivotal step when interviewing for a job. I like to think of negotiating as an opportunity to discuss and demonstrate one’s value to the prospective employer. Keep in mind, even though your initial salary is just a starting point, it can significantly impact your financial trajectory going forward. Why Negotiate? Recruiters say that only 25 percent of candidates negotiate initial job offers. Perhaps this is due to the uncomfortable perceptions many job seekers feel about negotiating their own compensation. However, 80 percent of employers say that, when candidates do negotiate, it makes a better impression than not (Lowenstein, 2012). So how much money is being left on the table? One study found that the average gain from negotiating, from a single negotiation, is 2–4 percent. Over time, this can add up to an average of $2 million to $4 million during the course of a career (Lowenstein, 2012). Creating and claiming value are two fundamental aspects of negotiation strategy that exist in tension with one another (Lax and Sebenius, 2006). In any negotiation, the parties must decide whether to be competitive, cooperative, or some of both. As you might imagine, the best outcome for one party may not necessarily be the best for the other party. For example, if you want $100 more than offered, it may not be in the company’s best interest to increase the monetary compensation. If both parties choose to prioritize their own preferred option, not what’s best for both parties, they will often both get the worst outcome. In this situation, if the company is unable to increase the money offered, you could ask for something else that they may have more flexibility around, such as another day of paid time off (PTO) or a four-day work schedule. When value is created in negotiations, it’s often referred to as “enlarging the pie.” This can be done through a cooperative process known as interest-based bargaining, or joint gains (Lax and Sebenius, 2006). In this process, the parties find ways to increase the amount of benefit divided between both parties. The main way to create value is to try to understand the interests of the other party: Why do they want what they want? By sharing information openly and communicating with one another, the parties work to find shared interests and create value or expand the pie. Doing this makes it more likely that both sides will get something they want out of the negotiation, leading to a “win-win” solution, the ideal resolution. This content is an exclusive benefit for American Academy of Audiology members. If you're a member, log in and you'll get immediate access. Member Login If you're not yet a member, you'll be interested to know that joining not only gives you access to top-notch resources like this one, but also invitations to member-only events, inclusion in the member directory, participation in professional forums, and access to patient resources, tools, and continuing education. Join today!