8 hiring basic negotiation tips and a back up plan
Editor’s note: this is the second and final piece of this hiring negotiation series.
Let’s pretend you’ve been looking to fill a critical role for several weeks.
You and your team have reviewed numerous resumes and conducted several interviews. Hopefully you have followed most or all of the tips we provided to you in Part I Hiring Top Talent- Negotiation Skills for Small Business Owners of this article and you have set yourself up for a powerful straight-on negotiation conversation.
So now let’s pretend that you’ve finally found the right candidate.
However, despite your having taken measures to understand their expectations, they are asking for a higher salary than what you have determined is possible given your budget constraints, and they appear to be inflexible.
Here are eight basic negotiation tips to follow and what you can do when things don’t go your way:
1. Understand that for a negotiation to be deemed successful, both parties have to win.
It is ultimately detrimental to you to convince a candidate to say yes to an offer that is not fair or that they are not absolutely thrilled about. Regarding base salary, when it comes down to your candidate being totally excited vs. just feeling satisfied with your offer, if the difference is 10% or less, give it to them!!!!
You do not want someone starting with you that is anything less than thrilled about having been offered what they truly believe they deserve.
2. Taking advantage of a candidate’s weak position is never a good idea. Don’t do it!!
For example, I’ve often witnessed companies thinking they can get away with paying less than the market bears for a position to someone that is out of work. But no doubt, once the candidate gets past their desperate situation, they will fly the coop in a heartbeat at the first available chance.
Intuitively they will always know that they were taken advantage of.
3. During your entire negotiation-type conversations.
Make sure you have asked questions about the possibility that their current employer might counter-offer if they resign, or if they are expecting an offer from anyone else.
Ask what they would do in both these cases. Realign with what is most important to them.
You should also make certain that they are not using you to get an offer they can then present to their boss in an effort to get a raise.
4. Make sure you have all the facts regarding the candidate’s prior compensation history and how it maps to what you are offering.
For example, people will often tell you the full compensation they were eligible to receive but in truth, they may not have even come close to it.
That’s because bonuses, which are often included in compensation history, are almost always discretionary and even when offered, may not actually have been paid.
5. Consider the actual monetary value of health and other benefits they are receiving vs. what you are offering.
Wherever possible, stay at par or better than what they’ve been used to.
Benefits such as vacation may not hit you too heavily from a budgetary standpoint but could make all the difference to the candidate. Again, transparency is always the best path. When you can’t match a benefit, be honest with the candidate and show them an effort to make up for it in another way. Get creative!
6. Hopefully you have learned throughout the interview process what really matters to your candidate.
This information can help you create incentives that make up for compensation aspects that you cannot meet.
For example, if you are a small business that cannot pay for health benefits competitively, perhaps you can create a bonus structure that allows you to offer additional time off if that is important to them. How about creating a special fund to help them save for their child’s college education each time they meet a huge performance goal that adds to your bottom line.
The possibilities are endless!
Next- Negociation tips 7 and 8 and 2 things that could go wrong and what you can do to save the day