Heading into a tough negotiation? A local consultant gives 5 tips to winning big

Jenna Bayuk, founder of Vancouver-based Kinship Kollective, draws on 15 years of experience to turn vision into reality.

Walking into a negotiation is kind of like confessing your love for someone: every word matters. 

Business consultant Jenna Bayuk, who founded Vancouver-based Kinship Kollective in 2019, spent 15 years helping entrepreneurs across various industries to develop their companies, market their brands, acquire talent and improve day-to-day operations. Guiding people through big career moves is part and parcel of her job as she serves clients across Canada and the U.S. 

My superpower is being able to translate vision into reality,” Bayuk says. Capitalizing on her experience, here are five tips to help you win a negotiation. 

1. Look into the size of the company

Company revenue is a great indicator of its ability to compensate. Is it at $5 million or $50 million? If it’s a team of 50 people, did it get to 50 people in the past year or has it always been 50 people? A lot of startups can’t compete with bigger companies from where they’re at, so knowing what you’re getting into and having a bigger picture in mind will help ensure that your ask is reasonable.

2. Keep realistic expectations

If you’re moving into a similar role or a slightly higher level role, you can expect a 10 percent increase in total compensation as a general rule of thumb.

3. Understand the problem that the company is trying to solve

Following the company’s mission/vision thread will reveal its team structure and what your growth path will look like in that role. Understanding the “bigger problem” going into the negotiation can make it easier to articulate the value that you will add to the team and can help you project your points through the most relevant lens.

READ MORE: 2020 HR Report: 3 agents share their negotiating tips

4. Do your market research

Are you applying for a role where there are a ton of candidates in the pool or are you specialized in what you do and there’s limited access to people with your experience? When you get to countering (whether that’s regarding vacation days, base salary or an increase in the bonus that they’ve laid out), the data behind that is always going to help you explain your ask and why you want it.

5. Is the company right for you?

Do your values align with theirs? None of the above matters if you’re not going to enjoy the opportunity and the team. You want to be able to look at the role/company and see yourself there for the next three to five years because switching jobs every year raises a lot of questions from an external recruiting perspective. In order to have stand-out experiences and show growth within a role, you need to be there for a few years to build the momentum and experience.

Some companies do a great job of articulating their values but when you get to ask those questions, meet the people and understand the team structure, you have to look at them as much as they have to look at you. That’s where the magic happens and where great culture is built—when everybody’s excited about who they’re working with.