Train your Negotiation Muscles Before Your Big Interview with 3 Proven Negotiation Exercises

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Job interviews are nerve-wrecking. Sitting in front of the panel, answering their questions, talking about your experience and strengths, and convincing interviewers to see you as the best candidate amongst the competition, is a challenge. 

Add to this the probable negotiations required to resolve fleeting disputes during counter questioning and managing work-bonds or salary negotiations, all of it can seem like a daunting process. But, if you’ve practiced the art of negotiation, you can go through the interview swiftly and portray yourself as a confident and skilled candidate. 

If you are preparing for your big interview, take a look at our carefully created negotiation exercises that will help you get the position and numbers you dream about. 

Before You Start

Before anything, you need to self-answer some questions. Ask yourself:

  1. Why did I choose this company? (Focus on growth opportunities, job description compatibility, company-culture and company-reputation)
  2. Do I have the necessary skills to pull off this job? Why am I the right candidate?
  3. What’s my end goal? Where do I see myself in 5 years? (yes, the classics too)
  4. Are there any time gaps, salary declines, or quick job jumps, etc, that can be a concern to the interviewer?
  5. If they want me to sign a bond, am I ready to do it? How much time am I willing to negotiate? 
  6. If the salary is not what I expect, how much am I willing to settle for? 

Reflecting on these questions will help you prepare for the classic and inevitable counter questions and negotiations. 

Negotiation Exercise #1: Employing an Employer

One of the best ways to hone your negotiation skills is by doing a role-playing exercise. Rope in your friend(s) or a family member(s) for some help. Make them your employers, and schedule mock interviews. From how to enter the room to salary negotiations, these interviews should cover everything. 

Focusing more on the negotiation aspects, ask them to give you counter questions wherever possible. Hand them the above questions you reflected upon as well as a list of Googled interview questions as examples. Also, ask them to create some intense situations to put you under pressure. 

During salary negotiations, guide them to first ask you why you think you deserve what you’re expecting and then respond with why they don’t think or why they can’t meet your expectations. 

Run multiple mock interviews and go back and forth with responses when you negotiate, try to use different reasoning for persuasions each time.

This negotiation exercise will help you identify the areas where you need improvement. You will also discover your strengths and figure out ways to use them to your benefit during the real interview. 

Negotiation Exercise #2: Tacking the Faultfinder and NaySayer 

Your interview won’t necessarily be a cakewalk. The interviewers will test your problem-solving, quick-thinking, and communication skills by putting you in some very tricky and troubling situations. They will try to persuade you and create a situation where it would almost become impossible for you to negotiate any further. 

A classic example of a tough interviewer is the one who constantly either tries to find faults in your answers or criticizes the weak parts of your arguments. They are also the ones who are quick to say no to your expectations; these interviewers need a special dose of your value proposition hand served to them. Ask your mock interviewer to assume the role of the fault-finder or naysayer and try to keep your cool and come up with composed answers.

This negotiation exercise will further hone your negotiation skills. 

Negotiation Exercise #3: Playing the Value Tug of War 

In a job interview, the salary negotiation revolves around your value as an employee. While your value as an employee may be somewhat objective, it is also subjective. This is where you will start the essential value tug of war with your employer.

As a universal corporate truth, and also a universal truth about all games, there are two sides to each game and each side plays for their own team. So the interviewer is on the other side by design; they will most likely try to emphasize what you don’t have instead of what you do have. Here, do or don’t could be knowledge, skills, experience, recommendations, etc. 

In your mock interview, ask your interviewer to focus on your weaknesses while you counter with your strengths. You will soon know your strengths and weaknesses like the back of your hand.

The Bottom Line 

A job interview and negotiation go hand in hand. With the above negotiation exercises, you will be able to swank your negotiation skills and persuade the interviewers into agreeing to your terms.

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