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How to negotiate with candidates at the offer stage

Lee Biggins, founder and managing director of CV-Library

Today’s job hunters know what they want and as such, they conduct their job search with a strict set of criteria in mind. Recent data from CV-Library, has revealed that the UK is a nation of hagglers when it comes to their careers, with over half (52.9%) admitting to negotiating with a potential employer over a job offer, and a further 72.8% stating that they got what they wanted as a result.

When recruiting, you may find yourself in the middle of a negotiation after offering a candidate the job. If they’re talented and you want to keep hold of them, it’s important that you handle this well. Below we discuss what are today’s workers willing to barter for, and how should you handle it in your business.

Money is the motivator

The number one thing that workers negotiate during a job offer is salary, with nearly three quarters (73.3%) saying this is top of their list. Money is often the motivator for professionals, after all we all want a comfortable living. Though candidates will seldom express their interest in salary during the interview stage, once the offer is on the table and they know you’re hooked, they’re ready to negotiate.

In first instance, you can reduce the likelihood of this happening by including a salary bracket on all your job descriptions. But further down the line you need to know what you can feasibly afford to offer and be fair with your pay packages. You also need to think about what this could mean for your business. Take in to consideration if their experience, personality or skills are worth what they’re asking – if they are, great! If not, it could be your time to negotiate until a reasonable compromise is met. 

Working hours and flexible working

The second two biggest bargaining chips for professionals are working hours (46.4%) and flexible working (42.1%). Recently, flexible working has become increasingly popular amongst businesses and their employees, there have even been discussions around shorter working days.

As a result many workers would prefer to have more flexible working and are will to negotiate to achieve this. In reality this can be relatively in-expensive to your business and can actually result in workers being more productive. So when discussing the job offer, take this into consideration if you can be more flexible, and if so – do. This will go a long way towards securing your new recruit.

Benefits and workplace perks

Next on the negotiation list was benefits, with over a third (36.3%) admitting to haggling over these. Benefits and workplace perks can be a great tool to negotiate with, especially if you know you can’t offer the most competitive salary. Many companies offer the more standard benefits such as pension schemes and life insurance, but you can always spice this up a bit with other perks such as free gym memberships or company social events.

These also add to your employer brand and can make your company look even more desirable to candidates. So if you know that you are holding back on the benefits, or that you have more to offer, chuck in some extras to keep your new recruit happy. 

Holiday allowance and work-life balance

Work-life balance is important to today’s professionals, and because of this a quarter (25.5%) would negotiate on their holiday allowance. Again, extra holiday allowance can be a good substitute when you’re unable to offer a bigger pay packet. Offering a potential employee a few extra days holiday a year can save you money in the long run on higher salaries. As with the other terms of negotiation, take into account how many extra days they’re asking for, and come to a compromise.

The overall things to remember are what you can feasibly offer, and if they are being realistic. If a candidate comes at you with outrageous requests that they definitely aren’t worthy of, it could be the case that you’re actually better off without them. Each negotiation will be a case-by case basis, so there is no one set formula. But when it comes to negotiating, choose your bargaining chips and play them carefully. If you can’t offer a higher salary for example, perhaps chuck in some extra annual leave or the ability to work flexi-time.

The key takeaway is that both parties want to come out of the negotiation happy, and if the candidate really wants the job, the likelihood is that they’ll accept a little less if you’ve given them a reasonable counter offer.

Picture courtesy of Pixabay

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