5 Ways To Gain The Upper Hand In A Job Offer or Interview

So, you have been looking for a job for a while now and you finally get invited for a job interview. No doubt you feel like the employers have the upper hand. Because after all, they have the ability to hire or reject you.

However, you have this process way more in hand than you probably believe or think. We are often so focused on being a great candidate, that we forget that the company, employer and job offer need to be great for us too!

This brings me back to the time where I applied for a certain job opportunity. The recruitment agency handling the application process got back to me and told me I was a great match for the job role. However, the company wanted me to accept a salary below my yearly salary indication. I rejected their offer immediately.

First of all, not because “it’s all about the monayyy.” I knew that what they were willing to offer me did not align with the experience I had gained over the past years. The recruiter asked me to give the interview a try just so that I would be certain about my decision, which I knew I was. Nevertheless, I went for the interview anyway. However, I was determined to be critical and to negotiate – I was not going to settle.

A few days after the interview I got a call from the recruitment agency, and the company was willing to hire me. Not only that, they were willing to offer me the salary I asked for. And this got me thinking, if I was desperate enough to accept their offer just because I needed a job, I would have missed out on the opportunity of having what I deserved – A better salary.

The point I’m trying to make is that you CAN have the upper hand. However, it all depends on whether you will choose to settle for that job offer or salary.

So, how do you have (or gain) the upper hand in an interview or when negotiating a job offer? 

1. Build professional expertise

Having a broad skills-set is key for gaining the upper hand. When it’s obvious that you’re more than capable of doing the job, it puts you in a much favourable position. And it also makes it easier for you to base your arguments on your experience and work history.

Building your skills and professional expertise is, therefore, a must. Whether you’re currently employed or not, always look for opportunities to develop yourself and to broaden your skills.

2. Be (or bring) the solution

When going for the job interview or when negotiating an offer, make sure you thoroughly analyse the job description. Why does the company want to fill this current position you’re applying for? And what might be the problem that they are facing?

Try to anticipate what their current issues are and how you are going to help solve them. As a matter of fact, convince them that hiring you is a solution to the problem. When you’re confident and believe in what you have to offer, they will believe it too.

3. Dare to Negotiate

Settling does not lead you to success, taking the risk does.

According to a recent study, women negotiate job offers far less than men do. The study says that because women don’t ask for more money or better benefits, they don’t receive them. Women often tend to fear the risk of negotiating, due to the fear of violating social norms of female behaviour and also because women tend to undervalue what they bring to the table.

Don’t miss out on the opportunity of having what you deserve to have, due to the fear of negotiating. Of course, know when to negotiate, and when the opportunity presents itself don’t shy away from it. If your corporate background and experience qualify you to have certain benefits, don’t be afraid to point this out. Settling does not lead you to success, taking the risk does.

Because think about it. If a company claims to be so great (some companies do) but they can’t recognise your talent, skills, and expertise or they are not willing to pay you ‘enough’ for it, why bother working for them? Why accept what they think you deserve when you know you deserve better?

4. Ask Detailed Questions

A job interview (or negotiation) is a two-way street. It’s not just about you trying to convince them, the employers need to convince you of the job too. So when they ask you “Do you have any questions for us?”, don’t be afraid to be critical. If there’s something you’re unsure about, politely ask whether they can clarify it.

Basically, don’t just sit there nodding ‘yes’ throughout the whole interview. Nevertheless, it is important to anticipate when to ask the right questions. ‘How To Ace The Job Interview With Ease’

5. Have some money in the bank

One of the reasons why many of us settle for a certain job offer is due to fear. The fear of not getting another job interview, the fear of not being good enough, but also the fear of not having the financial stability. Let’s be honest, anyone who hates their current job right now would love to quit their job, but ‘when you are grown’ you’ve got bills to pay.

For this reason, I would recommend that you make sure that you always have ‘backup cash’. At least if money is not your main concern, you’ll less likely rush or settle – This, in the end, will give you more flexibility, and maybe also the confidence to gain the upper hand.

Sarah Johnson

Sarah Johnson is a marketing professional and the Founder and Editor of Corporate Career Girl. Her true passion is to empower career girls in the workplace and help them bridge the gap between university and the corporate environment.