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Avoid Discussing Salary | No BS Hiring Advice

Avoid Discussing Salary | No BS Hiring Advice

Jeff Altman, The Big Game Hunter explains why it is not in your firm’s interest to show your hand before extending a job offer to someone.


Today, I want to offer you some no BS hiring advice in the realm of salary negotiation with candidates. Now, as an HR professional business owner, manager, at an organization that's involved with hiring, negotiations are always one of those tricky issues. You want to get someone for the least amount of money, but you also want to make them happy. So, you don't want to necessarily squeeze them. But you also don't want to overpay because, after all, you've got a budget to contend with.
Often, hiring managers, HR professionals, you know you are you going into a negotiation with a candidate or with someone like me, a recruiter who's representing a candidate (NOTE: I no longer do recruiting) and you get to a point in the negotiation where you reveal your hand about what you're willing to pay for someone. Probably, not a good idea.
Now, let me break it into two parts. First part is with a candidate. By telling them, "the most I'm willing to pay is such and such . . . " I'm not talking about we're screening someone ithe very beginning. I'm talking about at the pre-offer phase when you're really in the negotiation phase about salary . . . what you've done is basically tell them this is the max I'm willing to pay and, if you offer them five cents less, they are going to go, "What happened? You said you'd pay to such and such but you came in less." It impacts your ability to make them happy, make it attractive for them to join . . .What have you.
You're better off in those kind of situations offering a little bit less than what you're prepared to offer. So, in this way, if you come in higher than that, they get a little bit more enthusiastic. One of my clients has that built into their offer scenario where they talk about less. If they get the person for less, great! But, at the same time, was prepared to go a few dollars higher. They are able to show, time and again, that this is a tactic that, for them, saves some money and, if necessary, they are already slotted for more so there's no sweat.
The second part of this is in talking with recruiters like I was, I worked very closely with my clients. I don't play games. Some recruiters play games and, you know, the issue comes down to you're about to make an offer to someone. They will know how much are you going to offer? How much are you going to offer?
What they're trying to do is close the candidate for you and that sounds great . . . but if you tell them, "well, I can go up to (I will pick a number of random) $10 and you offer them $7.50, or, let me be clear about that, you're prepared to go to 10, but initially you want them to to offer them $8, so, if they say yes to $8, great!
If you need to, you'll go to $10, you tell that to a recruiter, they're not going to try to hard because they know they've got the 10 locked up and their fee is contingent upon how much you want to pay. And, I'll simply say that, especially for contingency recruiting firms, you know, it's better not to let them in on the numbers. The executive search which I try to do with many of my clients even though, often, I operate on a contingency basis, I'm working for my institutional customer.
Yes, I have to deliver a candidate to you but, you know, at the same time, I'm trying to be fair. I want to have that strong relationship with you and I don't play games. So, if you tell me you're prepared to go to $10 but you'd like me to offer $8, I'm going to do that. I'm going to work toward closing it. I've done that many many times. But ,you know, for most recruiters, you can hold back that extra information because, otherwise, there's no financial incentive for them, particularly in the contingency world.
So, better to hold back. Don't always be so revealing about the numbers you're prepared to pay. Make the recruiter work that much harder in order to close the sale. It saves your organization money.
Hey, it's not your effort that's going into this.It is the recruiter's and, if you burn out one, there's gonna be another one who's gonna replace them. And, frankly, if they're doing deals with you, they're going to keep working. So like I said, hold back on what the numbers are going to be so this way, you know, you're not just giving away extra money unnecessarily.


Jeff Altman, The Big Game Hunter is a career and leadership coach who worked as a recruiter for more than 40 years. He is the host of “No BS Job Search Advice Radio,” the #1 podcast in iTunes for job search with more than 1300 episodes and his newest show, “No BS Coaching Advice.” He is a member of The Forbes Coaches Council.

Are you interested in 1:1 coaching, interview coaching, advice about networking more effectively, how to negotiate your offer or leadership coaching? Connect with me on LinkedIn. Then message me to schedule an initial complimentary session.

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