As a hiring manager, finding the right fit for your company is only half of the struggle. After all, once the candidate has been recruited and screened, you need to make them an offer that’s impossible or at least tough for them to refuse. Do not let the duration and expense of your recruitment efforts blind you to the fact that you still need to make the right kind of offer, or else you risk having to go through that process all over again.
While the exact answer to this depends on the demand and supply of qualified labor in your specific industry, it is unwise to assume that the finalist holds no power over you. Your power stems from your position in your company. Theirs comes from their accomplishments, experience, and desirability in the job market. There is probably a reason you decided to hire this candidate, right? Other employers, recruiting the same quality candidates, might be appreciating those reasons and will try to take your candidate from under your nose if your compensation package, benefits, career advancement opportunities, and company culture is not rewarding.
I have all the knowledge.
You may be a seasoned hiring manager, but that does not mean that your potential employee is utterly unaware of industry standards. The widespread use of websites like Glassdoor and PayScale, along with other social media platforms have made it incredibly convenient for candidates to get a reasonably accurate estimate of their potential earnings at your company. If your prospective employee has already looked up the salary and benefits for similar jobs, then anything offering less might prompt them to explore other opportunities, unless you show them that you are open to negotiation.
I have the advantage of time.
This one also depends on the time of the year for the hiring cycle and the urgency of the position. However, job seekers are getting increasingly proactive in their job search, so it would be unwise to assume that they must accept whatever you give them because they are running out of time. You will not always have the upper hand when it comes to the time as some candidates might apply months in advance, which gives them enough buffer time to negotiate their offers.
Now that you know that you must take the candidate into account for job offer negotiations, how do you know WHEN it’s the right time to give in for negotiations?
Ideally, you should have an intended salary range for the job vacancy in question. You can try to lowball the first offer within that range if you intend to negotiate. However, to truly understand negotiation, you must see it from the prospective employee’s point of view.
Candidates negotiate job offers because they are comparing your offer to their previous/current job and their knowledge about your industry and your competitors. All workers want mobility upwards, and this can either be in terms of their salary package or the actual authoritative position of the job. A candidate will, therefore, never want to settle for less than their previous or current job, unless there are extenuating personal circumstances that require them to do so. As a manager, you must be knowledgeable of the package at the candidate’s last workplace so you can, at the very least, reciprocate it if not offer a better alternative. Your offer needs to be more enticing because the candidate is not only exchanging their old benefits package for yours, but they are also, possibly, leaving behind an entire corporate culture and workplace camaraderie that they were accustomed to.
You can also be the best judge of how urgent your job vacancy needs to be filled and how well suited the candidate is for the job. If the candidate seems promising and your company needs them, it’s probably a good idea to put on your negotiation hat and start working towards a mutually agreed-upon job offer.
Additionally, as a hiring manager, negotiating a job offer lets you delve deeper into the personality and work ethic of the candidate. You are exposed to their tenacity, drive, composure, and communication skills in a professional situation. This chance will help reaffirm your decision by building up the candidate’s image in your eyes. It could also help to dodge a bullet if you see the candidate behaving irrationally or unprofessionally during the negotiation process.
Remember that range we talked about earlier? That range was most likely based on industry and firm-wide analysis that ensures commensurate compensation across your company, so there is no reason to go above it. If a candidate asks for more than that ceiling, then you could even take that as a hint of their unpreparedness. It is not difficult to get a realistic estimate of how much a company is willing to pay for specific roles. If the candidate keeps pressing for a salary above your ceiling, it might be time to consider alternatives.
Make sure the candidate knows why they deserve a higher package
Salary negotiations are sometimes called extended interviews because the candidate must try to present a logically sound explanation for why they are negotiating for a better package. A good candidate should be able to defend their worth under pressure.
An essential part of this is judging whether the candidate has thoroughly read and understood the compensation package. They could very well be arguing a reason for an increased salary that has already been offset by one of your company’s non-cash incentives. Their preparedness for the negotiation process can be seen in their knowledge of the details for the package you have offered.
Remember it's not just about the salary
You can always try to negotiate more non-cash incentives such as benefits and extra training for potential promotions to bring a candidate down on their salary demands. After all, there is much more to a job than just the salary.
Don’t be afraid to sit down and negotiate with candidates who truly deserve it; however, you must always remember to be firm. Your answer to a negotiation process can either be an acceptance, a denial, or a counteroffer, so keep those in mind as you approach a potential employee.
If this process is not your forte it is time to hire a recruiter who will know your company requirements and compensation range. The recruiter will then present to you, candidates that have had their skills plus salary requirements vetted. The recruiter then becomes the middle person in all negotiations.
What do you have to lose? Top talent is just a click away.
What do you have to lose?
Top talent is just a click away.