Business owners and hiring managers are often surprised when their top candidates start negotiating a presented offer. Yet, this shouldn’t be alarming. Candidates come prepared as there is a plethora of guidance on the internet and job boards on how to negotiate offers. So, hiring managers need to be prepared too.

Getting ready to negotiate with your top candidates? Here are three tips for successful negotiations:

1) Expect to negotiate: Start by making a solid salary offer in line with the candidate’s expectations, yet leave a little wiggle room for negotiations. Don’t make low ball offers as that could immediately turn off the candidate and may set a bad tone for negotiations.

2) Negotiate without emotional attachment: There is nothing wrong with a candidate looking out for themselves financially, so don’t take it personally. Don’t go into negotiations trying to win at all costs or to prove the candidate is not worth what they are asking. This is not a competition to see who is the best negotiator. Keep a level head and try to find the win-win for both sides.

3) Be flexible: If a candidate negotiates for more salary, benefits, or vacation, look for ways to meet them half way. If the cost of what they are asking for is less than the cost of going through the hiring process again, then consider granting their request. Avoid the trap of thinking you can’t pay them more than a current employee in a similar role. Paying a newcomer more may upset the apple cart with current employees, but the current market forces may be beyond your control.

With a tight labor market, candidates may have the upper hand in negotiations. Candidates may also be evaluating multiple offers so your offers need to be competitive with the marketplace, regardless of your current pay structure. Rejected offers is a possible sign you are paying below market. In that case, you have two options. Pay more than you expected or find candidates with less experience.

If you need help in drafting or negotiating a candidate job offer, give us a call at 317-578-1310.