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How to Negotiate a Starting Salary with a Job Candidate

Posted by Complete Payroll | Mar 4, 2019 7:00:00 AM

How to Negotiate a Starting Salary with a Job Candidate - Complete Payroll

Making an offer to a potential employee is a delicate balance. After all, you want to ensure that both parties feel the compensation is fair and agreeable. It’s stressful for the candidate, but it’s also stressful to you as a hiring manager. What are the best ways to keep the negotiation as stress free as possible?

Access the Best Candidates

Before getting to the big interview, make sure you are choosing from the best candidates. Job seekers have been networking and checking with friends of friends in order to find the right job, so why shouldn’t you do the same to find the right candidate? Having a well qualified candidate can help justify the offered salary and take the stress out of negotiating. A well structured employee referral program can be a great resource when looking for new hires that fit the company culture.

Employer's Guide to Talent Attraction

Give The Full View

When it comes time for the interview, don’t just jump in with the heavy question, “So, what salary are you looking to make?” The candidate likely has a number in mind when they arrive, but their perception may change when they hear the full details of the position. If you ask them up front and they give a lower number, then hear that the position involves more travel or more hours than expected, they may decide the compensation should be higher. Conversely, if they start out with a higher number and then hear how great the position is and how awesome your company culture is, they might decide they would be willing to take the job for less. The key is to give them the “tour” before getting to the details of compensation.

Do Your Research

Don’t make the mistake of asking, “So, what are you making at your current job?” The fact is, it doesn’t matter what they are currently making. This may be a career change for the candidate or a step up from their current position. If they are looking for a new job there is probably a reason, but it’s not likely they are looking to make the same salary.

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It is up to you as a hiring manager to know the market for the position you are seeking to fill. Consult with HR professionals and compensation specialists in order to get a reasonable range for the duties of the position. Have a top and bottom dollar amount in mind before sitting down to negotiate with the candidate.

Respect Their Research

A candidate worth hiring has done the research to know their own worth. Let the candidate make their case for how their experience justifies the salary they are seeking. Salary negotiations are a two-way street and you can learn a lot about a potential employee by simply listening to them. Is their research thorough? Are they confident in delivering their supporting statements? These factors might also influence how strongly you are willing to negotiate the compensation.

Put People First, Numbers Second

In listening to a candidate you learn more about them. What are their motivations in seeking this position? A compensation package is more than just a salary. Other items may be important to them, such as insurance, time off, the ability to work from home, or flexibility in scheduling. The goal of the negotiation is to reach an agreement on compensation that is attractive to the candidate and to your company. If this is a candidate you must have at your company, try to find the right combination of compensation items that they find fair.

Leave Some Wiggle Room

If the candidate is still a bit high in salary expectations but your really feel this is the right person for the job, consider offering a signing bonus to tip the scales. Many companies find this effective to “land” the right person. A signing bonus is usually a percentage of the employees salary with a portion paid when they start the job and the rest paid after a probationary period, typically three or six months. (Some companies pay the entire signing bonus after the probationary period.) A signing bonus is also a good faith gesture to let the candidate know that you are trying to come up with a workable agreement.

If your company is hiring new talent, it’s important that your payroll has the expertise to handle compensation packages that are attractive. Talk to the experts right away!

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Topics: Human resources, Employees, Payroll

Written by Complete Payroll

We do payroll, HR, timekeeping and more for employers all over the country from a small, rural town in Upstate New York. And we're constantly publishing articles and other resources to help business owners, HR managers or anyone that helps manage a workforce. Welcome to Payroll Country!

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