As you identify your ideal candidate in a vast pool of applicants, move through the interview process, and become increasingly certain that your chosen prospect has what it takes to move your forward, you’ll need to start thinking about the offer process. And as you do so, you’ll need to balance two important but conflicting concerns: 1.) You want the best of the best. Now that you’ve found your talent, you’d like to seal the deal and keep her onboard after she’s settled in. And 2.) You’d like to pay the lowest salary possible…without threatening these goals.
How can you get the process off the right foot and make sure the outcome of the negotiation satisfies both sides of the table? Here are a few considerations to keep in mind.
1. You’ll need to be smart, but also fast. Timing is critical when you’re trying to land the best candidates. Every idle hour that goes by is an hour in which your competitors are reaching out and taking action. And even if this isn’t happening, the best candidates are still the most vulnerable to changes of heart and unexpected opportunities. So don’t hem and haw over a few dollars. Make a decision and act.
2. Determine beforehand if you’ll be open to negotiation. Don’t be caught off guard if you make an offer and receive a counter offer instead of a simple yes or no. Know how you’ll respond. Again, timing is crucial.
3. If you plan to make a lowball offer due to budget constraints (or willingness to take a risk), be ready to emphasize the perks and benefits that may make up for monetary compensation, like a strong health insurance package or a 401K.
4. Remember that the risk of a lowball offer doesn’t end when the candidate says yes. Low offers typically lead to lingering doubts and regrets on the candidate’s part, and if even the slightest hassles meet her on the job (like a surly boss or cramped workspace) a salary at the bottom of the market range won’t be enough to keep her nose to the grindstone when she could easily dust off her resume and correct this error.
5. A salary premium for a highly trained candidate will be a cost that you incur year after year, including annual standard pay raises. But if you take on an untrained/uncertified candidate at a discount and then provide or subsidize this training, you pay those tuition fees only once. Keep this in mind as you wind down the selection process.
For specific tips and guidance as you calculate salary offers, reach out to the NC staffing experts at PSU. Put our years of negotiation experience to work for you.