Talking about money with strangers is never a comfortable topic. Combine that with the tension of an interview, and a salary negotiation can become an awkward moment for both employers and candidates. To make it worse, the employer really wants to know if the salary being offered is within the candidate’s range of acceptability, yet the candidate has been warned never to be the first one to bring up salary. Wouldn’t it be easier if someone knowledgable about hiring could act as your middle man and handle the discussion for you both?
The good news is, that’s what recruiters do on a daily basis! We act as a neutral facilitator who can see both sides of the picture, bring in salary data from an objective tool (we use Payscale.com), and help both parties accomplish their mutual goals–for employers, to make a great hire, and for candidates, to find a great job. Inviting your employment agency to facilitate the salary negotiation process can be less stressful for both of you. Here’s a true story about a recent salary negotiation:
A client had asked us to partner with them to find a candidate for a leadership role in the company. After one of our executive search consultants presented several good candidates, the client narrowed it down to one who seemed like the best fit. The consultant made several consecutive calls between his client and candidate to come up with a compensation figure on which they could both agree. But the number that was tentatively thrown back and forth it meant a pay cut for the candidate–let’s call him Rick–who was nervous about how he was going to make it financially the first six months. So Rick asked our consultant to request a signing bonus to offset his first six months’ salary.
A common worry for many employers is, What if the candidate doesn’t work out and we lose our investment? Our client had originally considered giving a higher salary but had decided to start lower and give a raise a few months into Rick’s employment. They really wanted to hire him but naturally felt a bit uneasy now, being asked to pay out such a large chunk of money up front.
Addressing their concern, the search consultant said, “I can see where you might be worried about paying such a large signing bonus. If Rick doesn’t work out, then you’d be out that bonus money. You may decide not to pay anything extra. Or maybe another way to meet his request would be to break up the signing bonus amount into six parts and pay a part each month for half a year. It would accomplish the same purpose and yet keep you safe from losing that lump sum. And it’s still less than the top salary range you were considering.”
A few more calls volleyed back and forth as the consultant clarified several issues with Rick, relayed his answers to the employer, and helped put the employer’s mind at ease that Rick really was committed to this job. Ultimately, the employer felt most comfortable spreading out the amount by increasing Rick’s first year’s salary. Once a figure was satisfactorily agreed upon, the deal was sealed. With our consultant’s help, the employer and Rick then took the time to complete and review our Great Start Tool to ensure that the company’s expectations were clear and that the new employee would have a map to follow for his success. It was a great beginning of a win-win relationship, which is what we strive to achieve with every hire.
If you’re an employer who needs a search consultant to handle your negotiation, you know where to find us! But what if you’re a candidate interviewing for a job and you don’t have the benefit of a recruiter’s help? Business Insider says there are a few things you should never say in a salary negotiation. Some of them are just plain common sense. For instance, never say anything that would belittle or offend the employer, such as, “That’s all you’re offering me?” (For 15 things not to say in a salary negotiation, click here.)
Remember that negotiating the salary is a two-way conversation that employers expect to have with you. Salary.com encourages candidates that “most organizations–about 80 percent, in fact–expect negotiations and leave themselves some wiggle room.” But, says Salary.com, don’t go in blind. “Do research salaries for positions comparable to yours before you attend an interview or review. Know what the high, median, and low salaries are for someone with your skills, experience, and education.”