As a recruiter, I’ve had to learn to adapt to many different personalities. (Haven’t we all?) This applies to both candidates and hiring managers alike. When it comes time to make an offer, you’d better know the personalities on both sides very well if you want to make the deal.
There are candidates that can’t stand negotiating; they hate it as much as they usually hate confrontation. With folks in this category, you only usually get one shot at an offer. They’re not going to negotiate; they will either accept or decline, pointe finale.
Then there are those on the opposite side of the spectrum, no matter how good your offer, they have to negotiate; it’s in their DNA. In this case your offer better have one aspect that has wiggle room where you can give at least a little just to make the person feel like they done their duty. I liken this to buying a car. Most people don’t go into the dealer and offer to pay full price for the vehicle of their choice. In fact, if they don’t negotiate something, they usually feel like they either failed or got ripped off, or both.
Then there are the hiring managers. Some don’t like to negotiate and some do. Once upon a time I started working with a manager and had one hire that nearly fell apart because the manager does not negotiate after the offer is in writing, but the candidate wasn’t going to start to negotiate until he saw the initial offer in writing. I saved the deal, but really wish I had known up front how both people like to operate.
The worst case scenario for me though is always the lowball offer. There are some managers that always want to start low and negotiate till they get to the bare minimum the candidate will accept. It may seem like the manager is being cost conscientious, but this for me is always a critical mistake. It does not matter whether the candidate is active or passive, employed or unemployed, NEVER EVER LOWBALL AN OFFER.
To me it seems quite obvious that in doing so you immediately damage your relationship with the person that you want working with you for the next five to six (hopefully more) years. Yup, seems like a job where Captain Obvious should jump in with something to say. Sadly, Captain Obvious doesn’t always show up where needed; so on his behalf, I’ll spell it out.
I’m not saying that negotiation is bad, far from it. It is a normal part of the process. As recruiters, we try to make sure that we know up front what the candidate is looking for and ensure it fits with where the manager wants to be. If we get it right, we can often make an initial offer that satisfies the candidate’s needs and the manager’s budget, but things don’t always work out perfectly.
The point is: don’t deliberately start out low just to try and get a better deal. Start from a place that takes into account internal equity with the team, the duties and responsibilities of the position, and the experience and needs of the candidate. Look to find the middle ground that is win win for all parties involved. It isn’t always easy and yes there will often be negotiations involved; but if you start from this place and use open and honest communication, you start the relationship off on the right foot. This also means that you need to know when to walk away, but I’ll save that for later.
For the record, I’ll also state that an offer that only matches an employed person’s current compensation is, more often than not, one you should consider a lowball. (Not always, but often.)
But hey, we’re all recruiters here; we already know this stuff, right? Where’s the hiring managers blog? ...What do you mean there isn’t one? ...Sigh….