I hope that you enjoyed the article, How To Use The 4C Negotiation Strategies.

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I wanted to use this post to elaborate a little more about the third “C”: Compromising.

At a previous employer, I had the opportunity to sit in on an interview with a candidate for a Senior Buyer position. In this particular instance, I didn’t have any decision-making authority but could certainly influence the decision, which was being made by two higher-ranking procurement executives.

The gentleman being interviewed was a very sharp individual and seemed to be perfectly qualified for the position. I kind of liked him.

However, he was asked a question and, with his answer, he just blew his opportunity to get the job.

Actually, the “question” wasn’t a question, per se. It was one of those classic behavioral interviewing conversation starters.

One of the interviewers said, “Tell me about a time when you had to compromise in a procurement negotiation.” The interviewee looked nervous, taking a minute to dig through his memory banks for an example.

He then proceeded to tell a story about a time when he asked for a concession from a supplier, the supplier refused and, after much back-and-forth, he ended up accepting the supplier’s terms. The interviewees asked a couple of follow up questions to confirm that this gentleman didn’t get any more value from the supplier through that conversation.

The interviewee sensed that he messed up. He asked, “Was that a bad example?” and the interviewers admitted that they were looking for a story that demonstrated more of a split-the-difference type of scenario and they quickly moved on to additional questions.

The interviewee performed well for the rest of the interview. But he wasn’t offered the job.

He basically lost the job on the compromise question. He gave an example of “Caving In” when he was asked for an example of “Compromising.”

Now, when most of us prepare for purchasing job interviews, we tend to prepare our stories of successes. Compromising can feel more like a negotiation failure. So, many of us may be like the interviewee in this example – without a story prepared about our failures.

To me, this story demonstrates a couple of valuable lessons. First, always make sure that you use the “4C” negotiation strategies in order and don’t skip any steps. In other words, don’t cave in if you didn’t try to compromise first. Second, while continuing to make sure to prepare your success stories for job interviews, also prepare some stories about your not-so-successful efforts. Of course, end those stories with a positive – what you learned, what you accomplished in spite of the failure, how everything turned out good in the end, or a similar “silver lining.”

To Your Career,
Charles Dominick, SPSM, SPSM2
President & Chief Procurement Officer – Next Level Purchasing Association
Author – The Procurement Game Plan
Struggling To Have A Rewarding Purchasing Career?
Earn Your SPSM® Certification Online At
www.NextLevelPurchasing.com
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Charles Dominick, SPSM, SPSM2, SPSM3

Charles Dominick, SPSM, SPSM2, SPSM3 is an internationally-recognized business expert, legendary procurement thought leader, award-winning entrepreneur, and provocative blogger. Charles founded the Next Level Purchasing Association in 2000, oversaw its incredible growth, and successfully led the organization to its acquisition by the Certitrek Group in 2016. He continues to blog and provide advisory services for the NLPA on a part-time basis as he incubates his upcoming business innovations. Charles is also the co-author of the wildly popular, groundbreaking book, "The Procurement Game Plan: Winning Strategies & Techniques For Supply Management Professionals."

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