When to Negotiate In Your Job Search

I get a fair number of emails and private messages with a common theme: HELP! I’ve made it through the interview and the family has made me an offer. They’re waiting for an answer but the offer is way lower than I need to make. How do I negotiate them up?

I can tell you these situations rarely turn out the way the nanny wants them to.

A negotiation is when you have your position, the family has their position and you work together to find middle ground that you’re both happy with and that you both feel is fair. It’s not when the family tells you what they’re offering and you decide on the spot if you can live with it. The only thing you accomplish with that approach is feeling presured and too often ending up in a job where you’re underpaid.

You should never go into an interview without two things. One, a crystal clear picture of what you need including your pay range, your bottomline and an understanding of how benefits and other factors affect it all. And no, this is not something you can do on the fly. There’s a process behind figuring it all out and it takes some time and real thought.

Two, knowing the family is within your ballpark. If you’re working with a quality agency, they will only present you to families that can provide the compensation package you need. (Before you start telling me how your agency sends you to families that don’t meet your needs notice I said QUALITY agency.) If you’re representing yourself, you have to prescreen families before moving into the interview stage

Once you know what you need and you know a family can provide it to you, then you’re ready to move into interviewing. It’s your job during the interview stage to show them why you’re worth what you’re asking for. Because you know they’re in your ballpark, the question isn’t can they afford you. The question is do they think you’re worth it. Once you’ve made your case, and only once you’ve made your case, should you move into the negotiation stage.  How successful you are in the negotiation depends on how well you’ve done in the interview.

I know talking about money can be overwhelming. Believe me, you’re not alone. It’s one of the toughest conversations to have. But it’s time to get comfortable with it. If you don’t advocate for yourself, no one else will. And you deserve to earn what you’re worth.

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