A salary negotiation can make a candidate feel like you want them on your team or can leave them feeling like you don’t value them at all. You could end up losing the candidate before they even start or ensure that they start their new job on the right foot. These tips will help you negotiate a salary your company can afford, while still allowing the candidate to feel good about the offer.
Be Careful What Questions You Ask
You want to be cautious about the questions you ask that are related to money. In particular, you want to avoid asking what their salary was at their last job. Many states have made this question illegal. If your state still allows this question to be asked, it’s still a wise idea to avoid asking about salary history. You don’t want to make the candidate uncomfortable.
Don’t Go Too Low
As a manager, you know what the salary range is for the position. You also know what the outliers are where you can negotiate things up to meet what they want. If you are too far off, the candidate will feel offended and walk away. They might even end up bad-mouthing the company, which can tarnish your company’s reputation. If your offer is not fair, you will come off as a jerk who doesn’t value their employees. Your offer should at least be competitive.
Ask Them What Their Salary Expectations Are
Ask the candidate, “What would your expectation be coming into this role?” When presented with this question, most candidates will say they want a fair offer based on the company’s current salary range. Tell them what the salary range is and let them know you want to make them an offer they feel great about.
Say to the candidate, “Here’s what I can do to make sure we’re within market.” And follow with your plan to double-check with human resources and perform a competitive analysis based on current market conditions. Be open and honest with the candidate and set expectations. Essentially, you want to do your homework and make sure the offer is one that will work for you and the candidate equally.
Consider Additional Benefits
Sometimes, you will have the sense that the candidate was paid overmarket at their last job. Maybe they are reluctant to share or seem to be expecting much more than you can offer. In this scenario, you have to think about what else you can offer, such as future promotions, bonuses, enhancements, an expense account, etc. Say something along the lines of “We won’t be able to offer that salary this year, but we can have a pay review in nine months.”
Salary negotiations are an excellent opportunity to create good will with a future employee. The key is to find a salary that will give the candidate a sense that you value them but is still within a range you can afford.
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