Negotiation skills

Negotiation skills involve being able to bring about agreement on a course of action through discussion, to achieve mutually beneficial results. Your skills of persuasion would influence a positive outcome. To negotiate effectively you will need to communicate with impact and listen to the other parties' objectives.

Activities where you could develop negotiation skills

On your degree programme you may need to actively debate a topic with others. Alternatively, group work usually requires adjusting your ideas and taking on others’ viewpoints to successfully complete the project. The following activities, which may be undertaken as part of or alongside your studies, can be good ways to develop your negotiation skills:

  • Peer Mentoring Develop negotiation skills while supporting others through their studies and wider university life.
  • Skills Training Sessions A variety of sessions are usually offered during the academic year, some of which may give you the opportunity to practise negotiation skills. Check CareerConnect for forthcoming sessions.
  • Volunteering Gives you the chance to develop a range of skills while giving something back to the community.
  • Work shadowing Short-term activity, a day or two, to gain an insight into a particular role or industry. Use your negotiation skills to arrange or make the most of the experience.
  • Join an SU group or committee The Student Union has a whole range of activities; you could try ‘mooting’ or model United Nation. Also, joining an organising committee will help you practice negotiating with others.

How negotiation skills may be assessed in recruitment?

Some examples of application form and interview questions which are designed to test negotiation skills:

  • Give a recent example of when you negotiated a successful outcome
  • There are times when no-one is prepared to listen to or agree with your point of view. Give an example of when this happened to you.
  • Tell me about the last time you won someone over to your point of view
  • Tell us about a situation when you had to modify your plans or actions to take account of other people's views.

If you are unsure how to structure an answer for either application or interview questions, visit the application and interviews section of our website and find out about the CAR (context, action, result) and STAR (situation, task, action, result) models. Our recommendations are based on feedback from employers.

In assessment centres you may be asked to take part in group discussion and role play exercises to demonstrate your powers of negotiation. This could include representing a department in a group activity and trying to assert your point of view to gain support from the other group members.

You may also be asked to discuss a case study in a team, and you may have to negotiate a set of recommendations or represent a particular interest.