Ah, salary negotiation. Every recruiter’s and every job candidate’s most sought after conversation.

Yeah, I’m being facetious. If you want to see a free flowing job interview suddenly become engulfed in tension, start talking dollars and cents. And if the remuneration offering does not align with what the other party has in mind, visions of a long future together could suddenly become a distant fantasy with one party finding themselves alone at the table.

The savvy recruiter will have done their homework long before advertising their job role. They will know what the market is presently offering for the position, and they will have a good understanding of current supply and demand. And the job candidate, well they will know the salary range attached to the job. Their line of thought, they are a valuable asset and will be pitching for the higher end of the bracket.

Now while talking money may make the best of us a little apprehensive, I recommended that this discussion is not left until the eleventh hour. Why? Well, why go through the entire recruitment process if you can’t reach an agreement on remuneration. Everyone wants to know early within the conversation if this is a relationship worth pursuing. So, regardless of which side of the fence you are on, it is best advised to bring the matter of remuneration to the fore as soon as possible. Expectations and needs differ, but you do not need to waste each other’s time.

The intuitive recruiter will ascertain at several stages throughout the process to understand what the candidate’s salary expectations are and reiterate the responsibilities and opportunities of the role to ensure the candidate understands that the salary range offered fits the role. Generally a candidate will be looking to increase their present salary by an average of ten per cent. Unless the candidate is making a radical career change in which case their remuneration expectations will likely differ considerably to their current situation. If asked to present a desired salary, a candidate will generally verbalise a value that falls midway between their base rate and that optimistic number they would like, but aren’t realistically anticipating.

Obviously a seasoned recruiter will know that there is more than one way to skin a cat. In other words, money doesn’t always talk. There are a host of other non-monetary incentives that can be offered to a candidate to sweeten the deal. Every organisation has budget constraints and they stretch to recruitment. Yet for the right candidate, who perhaps has aspirations of earning a little more than what is presently on offer, bonuses linked to KPI’s may pique their interest. And what about profit sharing, additional leave entitlements, a company car, flexible working options, childcare, educational opportunities…the list goes on. Meeting in the middle is a favourable outcome when expectations don’t quite align. It is the type of trump card that could secure top talent that money couldn’t buy. In fact, how much an employee is needed and how rare their skill set is, can be the fundamental basis for calculating how much a position is worth. In the scenario where an outstanding candidate presents, it is wise to reassess the recruitment budget. After all, great employees soon prove their return on investment.

Sealing the deal may be easy if a fair offer is presented. If not, expect counteroffers to commence the negotiation phase. This is not a time for either party to begin bartering over minor monetary values. Swings and roundabouts is a phrase that comes to mind here. And in the case where a deal cannot be struck, other options need to be explored…You didn’t think that all the candidates had been dismissed, did you?

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