Recruiting solutions for salary negotiation: Tips for recruiters

Posted September 18, 2017 by


If your employer is like the vast majority, you try to keep your candidates in the dark about salary range until you’re ready to discuss it.  This is not the best recruiting solution that results in top talent. It is a disservice to both you and the candidate, so we are providing tips for recruiters to prepare proactively for these conversations with candidates.

 Common mistakes recruiters make while negotiating salary 

  1. The biggest mistake is to pretend that candidates are in the dark about what your company can offer. Candidates now have tools that facilitate their research into what is a competitive salary, and where your organization lies in the range. In addition to using resources like their college career center or networking with alumni, they can find a number of salary calculators online, not to mention glassdoor’s databank of companies and average salaries for individual job titles. Entry level candidates are familiar with these tools and they use them. Any talent acquisition team that thinks they’re the ones holding the cards, is mistaken.
  2. “Using a ‘take it or leave it’ approach with a candidate that you want to hire,” according to August Nielsen, HR Director at Veterans United. “This is hardly ever a great strategy for long-term success.  This approach really sets the tone for the rest of the candidate and employee experience, and everything the candidate experiences from that point forward is seen through that lens. The lesson learned here is that a ‘take it or leave it’ approach isn’t going to plant those seeds of success, trust, and genuine care of employees that drive the best talent to your doors. The best recruiters know how to establish and maintain trust and credibility for both parties.
  3. Not including a salary range in the job description. The vast majority of job postings currently do not include a salary range, so you might think you can blend into the crowd. However, things will start to change quickly because of how Google for Jobs has decided to rank search results. Google deems salary range to be an important factor for job seekers as they search online. This is logical. Google wants to provide job seekers with search results that give them exactly what they’re looking for. So if job postings with salaries listed make job seekers happy, Google prefers those job postings in the list of search results. When Google ranks your job postings so low that job seekers won’t even find them, you will be swimming upstream to attract many quality candidates.

Also read our tips for job seekers to negotiate salary and benefits

It’s more than bringing people through the door. How to advocate for a more expensive candidate:

An expensive candidate may be worth itIf you want to hire a top candidate who is negotiating for a higher salary, first and foremost, says Nielsen, “a recruiter needs to know their candidate’s and company’s needs. No candidate is perfect, but if every box about their experience and suitability for the company is ‘checked,’ leaving only the salary box unchecked, then those are starting points for discussions for both ends.”

Calculating the ROI of hiring a more expensive candidate should include additional intangible benefits too. For example, if your organization is struggling to change its culture or has other human resource challenges, and your top candidate can offer the character or attitude that can help move the needle, this is worth something. Talent acquisition is much more than bringing people through the door. It is about aligning talent with business strategies.

Related: Looking beyond your top schools and majors can help bring the culture change you’ve been wishing for

More often than not, says Nielsen, a candidate whose “salary requirements are a bit higher than others, but clearly fits the company’s needs regarding culture, skills and abilities, it’s undoubtedly well worth the extra money.” If you have done the hard work of vetting candidates and present the best ones, then “this should be an easy sell.”

Remember that you have the same tools that candidates available to them to research salaries. In addition, recruiters at most larger companies will also have access to various salary survey data. “This data is important,” says Nielsen, “but the greatest tool is knowing your candidate’s value and the boundaries you must establish during the negotiation to make the salary fair for both parties. A candidate that senses you have the capacity to pay more but are choosing to be greedy” could turn the negotiation into a declined offer.

PONDER THIS: College Recruiter has delivered thousands of email campaigns to millions of students and grads. We typically see an open rate and click-through rate that is twice that of our competitors. Would it make sense to learn how our expertise can drive more candidates to your career site?

How recruiters can maintain professionalism and negotiating power in front of the candidates

Recruiters can maintain negotiating powerRecruiters often do not have the authority to make budget decisions, but having to carry the negotiation back and forth with a superior can demean your authority and empower the candidate to stand their ground.

Recruiters can address this by making sure that they always build a relationship with the candidate during the entire hiring process. “If there is mutual respect,” says Nielsen, “and a personable, genuine channel of communication between both parties, then the right things to say will reveal themselves naturally. Remember that the candidate is likely nervous about the conversation. As a recruiter, you know a fair salary, so be firm and be fair, and truly try to work with your candidate’s needs.”

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