Salary negotiations with Job seekers from different cultures.

In many cultures negotiating is a real art form, like a dance.
In our Western culture some people have a lot of trouble doing this dance.

If you have had the chance to negotiate salaries with people from different cultures you will see that their style differs from what we see with locals.

Western negotiations are usually focused more on the words we use in the negotiation.
In many older cultures the meaning comes from the process itself.

For example, the Japanese society by necessity tend to be focused on a achieving harmony.
They tend to be very indirect and very formal in their communication.
Status and respects are very important in their communications.
The Japanese have no word for "no". They also do not seem to have a word for "yes" either.
The closest you will find is "hi" which loosely translated means "uh-huh I hear what you say" it does not mean "yes, I agree with you".
Rather than saying "No" outright, which would destroy harmony, they will say something akin to "We'll have to think about that" or "that would be difficult".
We need to be very careful that we don't misinterpret such phrases as meaning "maybe" or even "yes".

Tradition and status are not so important to the average Australian.
In fact we actively rebel against them with our tall poppy syndrome.
We tend to have a high regard for personal and family security than concern for the collective population.

As a Westerner, solution that I prefer to get to is to make the problem the problem - not the people involved.
By that I mean state why you came to the salary that you have and the issue that you are constrained by from increasing the salary.

This means establishing a dialogue of making the problem something you both want to solve.
"All staff are remunerated based on their production. If we can find a solution that ensures a higher level of production, we can increase the salary."
This sets you up for a conversation such as:
"Once you have produced this, then I can give you a pay rise, if I do it before I'll have a mutiny from my existing staff". The ultimate aim being fair exchange and a motivated employee.

I have found that in general the Indian populations have a fairly rigid negotiation style.
Although a very compliance driven culture, due in large to the British occupation, they tend to have a simple market battering style. By that I mean they will ALWAYS ask for more than what the job deserves to be paid.
They will labour the point as to why their rate is the reasonable, to the point of not even engaging in a two way debate.

An Indian hiring manager taught me many years ago how to handle this style.
It is the same way that Australian's have been taught to handle a Bali street barter. You walk away first.
This is just a negotiating ploy.
Most of us get very frustrated with negotiating ploys as we "just want to get on with it".
Again it is the process.

The trick is to be patient and have a BATNA (Best Alternative to a Negotiated Agreement) up your sleeve.
To put it simply, you need to have a plan B candidate and communicate it to the job seeker.

Unfortunately this ploy leaves very little wriggle room.
There is no logic involved in the process and it can easily become a battle of egos.
One person feels like they are being robbed at the end.
In a market stall, the customer is always made to feel like they have got a bargain.
In hiring staff, having a staff person that feels like they are being robbed is a liability.

Those that want all the money now will probably jump ship for an extra $1.
They are best suited to a contract role with strict penalties for breaking the contract.


What is your experience with negotiating with different Cultures?

Let me know, I'd love to hear from you.

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