No one—job candidate or hiring manager—looks forward to discussing the issue of pay. Negotiating a salary that is acceptable to both parties is often an uncomfortable process that involves more bluffing and second-guessing than open discussion of what is fair and realistic.
Much has been written on salary negotiations from the job seeker’s prospective, but what should the hiring manager consider during the process of deciding what the candidate is really worth? Here are some suggestions:
1. Look for a job candidate who has done his or her homework—who has decided on a minimum base salary that will be acceptable, for example, and who has researched how similar positions are compensated elsewhere in the area or industry.
2. Be prepared to discuss the salary range for the position. This is a legitimate request, and you should have the information at your fingertips.
3. If the candidate will have to relocate, be prepared to discuss living costs in your area. It may be necessary to pay the candidate a differential if he or she will have to move from a less expensive area.
4. Beware of arrogance and inflexibility. A candidate who comes on strong about his or her salary requirements and refuses to negotiate at all may not be a good fit for your organization.
5. Discuss benefits separately. While they are clearly part of the total compensation package, they are usually not “negotiable” in the same way—unless you’re hiring for a high-level position.
6. Be prepared to talk about the position’s nonmonetary rewards. You may not be able to meet the candidate’s salary requirements, but if the job offers superior growth potential or career advancement opportunities, the candidate will want to know this so that he or she can consider such factors in making a final decision.