Salary Negotiating Tips for Employers

February 28th, 2014

When it’s time to sit down at the negotiating table with the best candidate in your applicant pool, you’ll have one goal in mind: Obtain the highest quality labor for the lowest possible cost. No goal could be simpler, and no process could be more straightforward…right?

No quite. As an employer in the current marketplace, you may feel that you hold an advantage when it comes to salary offers, and this feeling may be validated by the long line of candidates for this position who submitted resumes and attended interviews with varying levels of desperation. But if your excellent candidate comes on board and leaves within a year, the company will suffer in the long run. So it’s wise to recognize the perils of an offer that’s too low, not just one that’s too high. Here are a few tips to keep in mind.

Start with research.

Review the standard market rate for this type of work. Then unpack the data you find and determine the average rates for employees at this level, and for similar types of work—at this level—in other industries. Factor in the geographic area and cost of living. And factor in the salaries your closest competitors are offering for similar roles. Come to the meeting armed with these numbers after checking and double checking them using multiple sources.

Start low, but not too low.

Expect the candidate to respond to a low offer with a counter offer. But if your offer is too low, expect her to disappear and accept a position elsewhere. The more research you conduct, the more you can tighten the range around a target number.

Show caution when asking for a salary history.

Of course it’s acceptable to ask the candidate to present a number (or range) first. But think twice before you expect a candidate to produce a documented salary history. Her offer should– and usually will—be based on what she’d like to make and what she believes her work is worth, NOT on what she’s been paid in the past. Besides, this is very personal information that she’s wise to withhold.

Consider the intangibles.

The candidate’s commute and the stresses of the job may not matter much to you. After all, you’re paying for the work she completes, not the sacrifices she makes to complete it. But these things matter to her, and you’re about to embark on a human relationship in which both parties must be happy for either one to profit. So consider these intangibles, and if you can’t afford to raise your offer, highlight the perks of your workplace during the negotiations (for example, free parking, flexible hours, access downtown attractions, the company gym, etc). Of course, you’ll also need to highlight the insurance benefits and bonus opportunities you provide.

For more considerations and tips regarding the salary negotiation process, contact the NC staffing experts at PSU.

Five Things Job Seekers Want Most: Are These Part of Your Offer?

February 21st, 2014

When you post your open positions and send your team of recruiters out into the world, you do everything you can to attract the best and brightest talent to your workplace. But do you really know what your talented candidates want most? And are you sure you’re including these items in your offers and making them a daily aspect of your workplace culture?

1. Money

Despite what the motivational posters tell us, it’s not morally essential to love your job so much that you’d do it for free. This is an insidious notion that harms both employers and employees when it’s taken too literally. Most people enjoy what they do to some extent, but that’s not why they do it. They do it in order to be paid, and if you can’t compensate them adequately for their time and sacrifices- not just their unit-per-hour productivity—you’ll eventually lose them. Research the marketplace and present new employees with a fair wage and standard insurance benefits. Hiring costs and high turnover are more expensive than simply offering your employees what they deserve.

2. Respect

The best way to earn respect is to give respect. It’s a simple old chestnut, but it’s often overlooked and ignored by frustrated employers who don’t understand why they can’t hold onto talented workers. Let your employees know that their efforts are vital to the success of the enterprise. Even when they do the bare minimum, thank them and show your appreciation. And when they excel, provide meaningful rewards.

3. Resources

Nothing frustrates and alienates employees more than the absence of the tools they need to do their jobs well. Affordable and accessible parking, functional copy machines, properly trained managers, and reliable software are all part of this package.

4. Open Communication

Of course you aren’t a mind reader. And when your employees need something, you can’t always be expected to provide it without being asked. The same hold true in reverse. So maintain an open door policy and make sure your managers have the all the skill and training they need regarding written and verbal communication.

5. A Clear Path to Success

Set clear goals for your employees, provide them with clear and actionable instructions, and when the time comes, do everything you can to help them take their careers to the next level. If you invest in them, they’ll invest in you.

For more on how to build your workplace reputation, attract the best employees, and hold onto them once they’re onboard, reach out to the NC staffing experts at PSU.

Resume Gap? Four Tips that Can Help You Re-enter the Workforce

February 14th, 2014

If you’ve been away from the workforce for less than six months, most employers won’t pay much attention to this, and will be far more concerned with your overall credentials and experience then your short departure from the office. But if your gap extends longer than a year or two, you may need to allay some serious concerns before you’re presented with a job offer. Here are a few tips that can help you overcome this potential obstacle.

1. First, Don’t Let the Gap Determine your Destiny

Most of the time, a resume gap isn’t a big deal until somebody on one side of the table makes it a big deal. So don’t be that person. If the gap concerns your interviewer, let her bring it up. Let her explain her feelings, and then let her ask whatever questions she’d like to ask. Don’t make assumptions about what she’d like to know, or what she considers a problem.

2. Be Honest with Your Employment Dates

The fastest way to turn a simple employment gap into a red flag dealbreaker is to falsify or misrepresent your employment dates. Some job seekers are tempted to do this, but by all means, don’t choose this path. Time away from the workforce is almost always supported by an honest and valid reason (like childrearing, caring for a family member, a return to school, career change, etc). But there’s never a valid reason to lie on a resume. Don’t make a small issue into a big one.

3. Be Ready to Frame The Gap in a Positive Light

Don’t bring up the gap until you’re asked, but when you are asked, be ready. Have a clear statement prepared that explains why you’ve been out of the game, and be ready to talk about what you’ve been doing during this time in terms that reflect well on your candidacy. Have you been volunteering? Consulting? Lecturing? Caring for a family member? Explain what you’ve been up to and how your activities have helped you grow as a potential employee.

4. Explain How You’ve Stayed In touch With Changes in Your Industry

Use both your cover letter and your interview to explain how you’ve stayed in touch with trends and developments relevant to your field. Have you been publishing articles in industry journals, joining open source communities, teaching courses, or simply maintaining an active professional network? If you’ve done any of these things, don’t miss a chance to share this fact.

For specific information and personal coaching tips that can help you get back into the workplace, reach arrange a consultation with the staffing experts at PSU.

Don’t Scare Candidates Away! Keep Your Interview Process Enjoyable

February 7th, 2014

If you’re an experienced HR pro or hiring manager, you already understand the importance of treating your candidates with respect. Of course you would never bully them, bait them, insult them, or cross examine them as if they’re being accused of a crime. Foolish moves like these will drive away great candidates and cause a form of adverse selection; eventually, talented contenders who have other options will look elsewhere, and only the desperate will remain.

But to conduct a truly successful interview, you’ll have to go a step further than basic civility. Here are a few ways to make your interview process not only tolerable, but enjoyable—on both sides of the table.

1. Approach the process in the right frame of mind. Of course you have a job to do and a position to staff. But if you take an all-business approach and never let your guard down even once, then your candidate probably won’t either. So relax. Think of the candidate as a guest in your home, an interesting person you haven’t had a chance to meet yet.

2. Remember that the process works two ways. The candidate will be taking and leaving impressions as actively as you are. The power balance may appear to tip in your favor, but if she’s the right one for the position, you need her as much as she needs you.

3. Keep an open mind. Cut off any budding feelings of skepticism or criticism before they appear on your face. If you need additional information or reassurance after a candidate speaks, ask for it. Don’t just glare disapprovingly. Again, the candidate will pick up on your energy and will close down if you do.

4. Smile if your candidate makes a nervous joke, and nod if she shares information which seems to make her proud. These gestures don’t express any kind of commitment on your part—they’re just polite. And they’ll improve the experience for both of you.

5. Notice if your candidate wants to redirect the conversation, and follow her where she chooses to take you. This may reveal far more useful information than you’d get by forcing things back onto the script every two minutes.

6. Strive to impress. Invest effort in generating a feeling of warmth, welcome, competence, and enthusiasm for the task at hand. Small details like a clean, well-organized interview space, a firm handshake, and respect for the candidate’s time can dramatically elevate the conversation and help both of you get the most out of the process.

For more information on how to make the interview process a pleasant experience and how to leave a lasting impression on your most talented candidates, contact the NC staffing experts at PSU.

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