Asking Powerful Negotiation Questions

Establishing your value and asking for more is not a selfish act, says Alexandra Carter, Director of the Mediation Clinic at Columbia Law School and author of Ask for More: 10 Questions to Negotiate Anything. Instead, it primes others on how to value you and those who will come after you.

Negotiating is also more than asking for a higher salary and includes intangible benefits such as recognition for your achievements and mentorship and training opportunities. Asking questions is the most underutilized practice in a negotiation strategy, notes Carter. Some powerful questions she suggests asking yourself in any negotiation process are:

    • What’s the problem I want to solve and how? This can help frame what you want to ask for and how you ask for it.
    • What do I want from this negotiation? Consider both tangible and intangible needs.
    • What am I afraid of? Air out your emotions and hesitations by writing them down. Once you acknowledge your feelings, you can move forward to creating a strategy with confidence.
    • Where have I successfully advocated for myself or others in the past? In evaluating the strategies you’ve used and simply thinking about a prior success, you are more likely to do better in negotiating.

Remember, whatever you want to ask for, keep it optimistic, specific, and justifiable. Learn additional tips including how to boost your confidence going into a negotiation by listening to this episode on the How to be Awesome at Your Job podcast.

Written by Rawlisha Pena, Assistant Director of Career Services and Leadership Management, August 25, 2020

Gaining Insight into an Organization’s Culture

Deciphering the tenets of an organization’s culture is difficult, especially when much of it is unspoken. If you are preparing for a job interview or about to accept an offer, be sure to do your research to determine if this organization is the right fit for your values and professional interests.

Below are a few questions you can ask:

    • What does career advancement look like in your organization? What factors are considered when promoting employees?
    • In what ways are employees empowered to share new ideas?
    • What are some initiatives you have in place to promote an equitable and inclusive environment?

Find additional questions and tips in this Muse article to gain better insight into the norms and practices of an organization.

Building a Positive Professional Brand

Whether you’re job searching or starting field, let your professional brand speak for itself.

Your professional brand communicates your core values, strengths, and attitude in and out of the workplace and helps you stand out as a marketable candidate for future roles.

For your brand to be effective, however, the mediums through which you convey who you are and what you offer need to be consistent. This includes not only your job applications, Linkedin, and other social media activities, but also your personal interactions.

In assessing your brand, consider the following questions:

    • How are you presenting yourself and communicating with others online and in person? Do your email messages and nonverbal behaviors, for example, reflect the professional image and reputation you seek to project?
    • How do you respond to feedback, criticism, or conflicts and challenges? Do they demonstrate your willingness and initiative to adapt, collaborate, learn, and grow–attributes particularly critical to the post-COVID world?
    • How are you nurturing the relationships you have with others, such as with supervisors, classmates, professors, mentors, and leaders in your field?

Your professional brand will evolve as your career grows. What impression do you want to leave on others? Use this to guide the steps you need to take to refine your brand, so others can have a clear sense of what you stand for and why they should hire you.

JCCA Virtual Recruitment Session for Social Worker and Supervisor Positions | Thursday, August 13

Interested in ensuring the safety and well-being of New York’s most vulnerable children and families?

Attend our upcoming recruitment session with JCCA on Thursday, August 13, 1-2 PM ET. They are actively recruiting graduates for immediate openings across various foster care and prevention programs, as well as students graduating in Spring 2021 for openings anticipated in the future.

To receive a link to the event, register via Career Connect.

JCCA helps abused, neglected and traumatized children heal physically and emotionally through compassionate, quality care. Its 37 programs include foster care, residential treatment facilities, mental health services, case management, education programs and special services for children who have been the victims of sexual abuse.At this event, you’ll have the exclusive opportunity to:

    • Connect with senior leaders at JCCA
    • Learn about current and future social worker and supervisor openings across various foster care and prevention programs
    • Gain insight into their work and their investment in the professional development of their staff, including the opportunity to accrue hours towards the clinical license

Supporting children and families is incredibly important work and provides opportunities to build critical skills and experience that are transferable to all areas of social work, including knowledge of public systems. Learn more about their work and opportunities at https://www.jccany.org/who-we-are/employment/.

Questions? Contact us at swcareer@columbia.edu. See below for more information regarding the presenters.

INDIVIDUALS WITH DISABILITIES: Columbia University makes every effort to accommodate individuals with disabilities. If you require disability accommodations to attend an event at Columbia University, please contact the Office of Disability Services at (212) 854-2388 or disability@columbia.edu at least 5 days in advance of the event. 

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About the Presenters

Lorraine Stephens, LCSW, Senior Vice President, Foster Home and Preventive Services
Lorraine served as the Deputy Commissioner of ACS’s Division of Family Permanency Services, and later became the first Deputy Commissioner of the NYC Department of Homeless Services. Lorraine was Vice President of Strategic Planning, Government Relations, and Special Initiatives at New York Women’s Foundation. She currently serves at JCCA’s Senior Vice President of Foster Home and Preventive Services.

Kirsten Cooper, LCSW ’05, Assistant Vice President, Foster Home Services
Kirsten has been with JCCA for 15 years. She began with her BSW internship at JCCA in 2004, and then went on to pursue her MSW from Columbia in 2005, when she returned to JCCA to complete her MSW field placement. Following her internship, she was hired as a social worker in the adoption unit where she worked for two years until being promoted to her first supervisory position as a Social Work Coordinator in after-care. She eventually moved laterally to a different supervisor role in therapeutic foster care and continued to be promoted to her current position.

Antoinette Bryce, LCSW, Program Director, Unaccompanied Minor Program, Adoption and KinGap Unit, Child Success New York
Antoinette started at JCCA in 2010 as a Case Associate and went on to earn her MSW through the support of JCCA professional development programming. Throughout the last ten years, she has held multiple positions both laterally and as a result of promotions. These roles included: Permanency Specialist, Family Preservation Specialist, Adoption Coordinator, Administrative Supervisor, Assistant Program Director, and finally Program Director overseeing three separate units at JCCA.

Lynanne Bruun, LCSW, Borough Director, Brooklyn Preventive Services, Brooklyn Child and Adolescent Guidance Center
Lynanne started with JCCA in 2011 as a social worker in the Foster Home Services (FHS) group homes program. She moved up to a supervisor position in the FHS CSNYC program in 2014. She then made a lateral move to be a supervisor at the clinic in 2016, and in 2018 was promoted to Borough Director where she now oversees a preventive program, FTR, as well as the clinic and Second Chances.