7 Tips for Salary Negotiation With a Job Candidate

7 Tips for Salary Negotiation With a Job Candidate

It’s a great feeling when your top candidate is eager about your job offer, isn’t it?

But you can’t pop open the champagne quite yet: There is still the salary negotiation. Job seekers today are informed, prepared and ready to negotiate, and you should be, too. Here are seven tips to make sure you get what you want out of a salary negotiation.

1. Plan ahead.

Establish a salary range for the position before you even begin recruiting. Know the market value of the position you’re hiring for, factoring in years of experience, geographic location and demand for the skills and background required. Resources such as the 2014 Salary Guides from Robert Half can help you with this.

2. Decide how far you can go.

If a candidate asks for a higher figure than you’ve offered, you have three choices: agree, make a counteroffer or stick to your guns. Consider both the value she would bring to the business as well as whether you have other options if this contender says no. How difficult and time-consuming would it be to begin your search again?

3. Proceed with caution.

Also think about whether an offer large enough to convince this candidate would be out of line with existing pay levels for comparable positions in your company. If you agree to a higher salary to win a stellar candidate, you risk lowering the morale of existing employees if they find out a new hire is making more money than they are. In addition, paying above scale may create a legal issue if the pay isn’t equitably distributed among your employees. Confer with your HR department if you’re unsure of the ramifications.

4. Think creatively.

If you can’t match a candidate’s salary request, consider expanding other parts of the employment package, such as flexible scheduling or a performance-based bonus or signing bonus. Applicants often willingly compromise on base compensation if concessions are made in other areas, and company culture and perks can be attractive even if your pay scale isn’t tops. Be sure to make any signing bonus contingent upon a minimum period of employment.

5. Know when to walk away.

Although some HR experts discourage pressing an uninterested candidate, probing a bit in order to find out why he’s being hesitant can be helpful to your recruitment efforts in general — as long as you do it tactfully and don’t press too hard. Try to identify the source of the problem and make reasonable accommodations if you still feel strongly about the candidate’s potential benefit to your team. But don’t get so caught up in negotiations that you lose sight of what’s ultimately best for your business.

6. Put it in writing.

Once you and the candidate agree on the salary, benefits and start date, ask him to sign the offer letter to confirm that he understands the basic terms of the offer. If you’re making a job offer contingent upon reference checks, a physical examination, drug testing or background checks, make sure the offer letter says so and that the candidate understands and accepts these conditions.

7. Stay in touch.

Two to three weeks is the customary time between an acceptance and start date. But a lot can happen in that time. If the new hire is employed, she will likely put in two weeks notice and her current company may make her a counteroffer to stay. The more you can stay connected through regular communication, the more excited and confident the person will be about his or her decision to work for your organization.

What are some of your tips for salary negotiations? Let us know in the comments section.

Salary Negotiation Tips: What to Do When the Candidate Counters