Three Strategic Salary Negotiation Tips for Successful Hiring

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With unemployment down and candidate scarcity increasingly becoming a real challenge, employers have identified hiring as a top workforce priority they need to solve for growth. One key aspect of hiring is salary negotiation. While successful salary negotiation has the immediate benefit of helping you secure the applicant you wish to hire long-term, it can also impact employee engagement and even retention. Here’s how you can get your money’s worth while making a worthwhile offer to prospective hires:

Know your Market

With multiple cities and states passing laws banning employers from asking candidates for their salary history, salary negotiation is no longer as many Hiring Managers know it. A smarter strategy for setting a salary range (or pinning down a more definite amount) is to research what’s out there: What is your market paying? What is the demand like where you are? Do you need intermediate or advanced skill sets for that position? Salary guides like the SCALE offer a wealth of salary intelligence as well as hiring resources to help you gain budget approval, counter-offer mitigation, and more. National salary information is available online, while more regional data is provided in the complimentary 2018 SCALE Report.

Sell the Total Opportunity

No two jobs are alike, even if the job titles are identical. Employer variables include company size, culture, locations, clients, and so on. Employee variables can include level and nature of experience, skills set, and career goals. If an eager candidate names what he or she feels to be a low salary to maximize chances of being hired, but then finds out the job requires more work, travel, or gives less flexibility than they thought, they could feel like they undersold themselves. A more confident candidate who might shoot for what they believe to be their fair worth might be more within your range if they see other enticing perks such as having flex time or working with a prestigious brand, an exciting project that’s right up their alley, or a terrific team. To maximize the chance of salary negotiations concluding to both parties’ satisfaction, make sure to put salary into context as part of a package – a total opportunity – that can be built to help meet their goals, whether it is career growth, more prestige or flexibility, and so on.

Know that Smart Candidates Do Their Homework

With information so readily available, most candidates walk into an interview with a good idea of what the position pays in your market. That being said, keep in sight that the candidate has made it through this far in the hiring process and is, in effect, a semi-finalist who is in the running for the job – yes, keep the bottom line in mind, but don’t lose a potential great hire by making an unreasonably low initial offer. A lower-range but fair salary offer that is accompanied by clearly stated expectations is a smart and strategic starting point.

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