Salary negotiations with prospective employees are seldom simple. Job candidates will want to negotiate on a range of issues beyond that of the base salary. And you the employer will also have a number of issues to consider when making an offer.
As an employer, you will be looking at what level the job is in your organization, how unique the candidate is in terms of the skills and knowledge he or she possesses, and how difficult those skills are to hire, the market value of the job itself, the salary range of the job in your organization and in your particular geographic area, and the current economic conditions, both in general and in your particular industry.
And you need to be careful. You can run into trouble if you pay more than you can afford, or offer a salary package that is not in line with other jobs in your company, or offer a pay package that you just don’t feel comfortable with. Doing any of these things is not in the best interest of the employer or the employee.
So, how do you get the best candidate while staying within your comfort zone?
The first step is to realize that a salary negotiation is not a competition. No one is trying to defeat anyone here. If either side feels as if they have had to completely give in, both sides lose. Salary negotiations have to be a winning proposition for both sides.
You should try your best to find out what the applicant’s salary and benefits package was at his or her last place of employment. This will at least give you an idea what the candidate will be asking for. You also need to recognize that most candidates will negotiate around a host of peripheral issues not connected to base salary, such as benefits, paid time off, tuition assistance, stock options, variable bonus pay, severance packages, and relocation expenses. These may be other ways to successfully negotiate a deal with a candidate.
You also need to know up front what your limits are on salary – what is the most you can offer? These limits should be built on the salary ranges in your company, the salaries for employees in similar jobs, the general economic conditions, and the financial health of your company. If your initial offer is not negotiable, you need to be clear about that with the candidate when you make the salary offer.
Even if you love the candidate, going over your limits will only lead to regret and other problems in the future. Even if you have to start the recruiting process over, you will save years of problems and crippling costs by adhering to your limits.
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