In the current competitive job market, you can lose top candidates if you’re not willing to negotiate beyond salary.
In a new survey, nearly half (43%) of workers say they have lost interest in a position when the company wasn’t willing to negotiate perks beyond salary. Even though 21% say they’ve never negotiated after receiving a job offer, you should be prepared to have these conversations.
It’s important to realize that if you’re not willing to negotiate with job candidates, you are in the minority and more likely to lose out to the competition. Nearly all (98%) of finance executives interviewed for this survey say that their companies are open to some back-and-forth with candidates on job offers. About two-thirds (63%) say they’re willing to talk about compensation. Elsewhere, 52% say they are open to various options regarding professional development and training/education reimbursement, 47% say they’ll discuss benefits, and 45% say they’ll negotiate about remote work or scheduling flexibility. Over a third (38%) say they’re willing to negotiate job titles.
“In today’s competitive hiring market, employers must go the extra mile to land their first-choice candidates,” said Steve Saah, executive director of Robert Half Finance & Accounting. “If managers are unwilling to bend on elements beyond compensation, they risk watching top applicants walk away.” He added, “Employers should aim for productive job offer discussions that include perks and benefits to reach an agreement that helps both the team and candidate.”
Before you enter negotiations, decide how badly you need or want this particular job candidate. Then weigh the cost of the perks and/or salary/benefits they want against the expense and time involved in restarting your search. Next, do your research. Know the market value of the position, factoring in experience, education (if applicable), and the current demand for the skills the person has.
Have a few rabbits up your sleeve. Develop a list of benefits or perks you are willing to put on the table during negotiations. You may be able to swap one thing for another. For instance, if you can’t meet the salary a candidate wants, he or she may be willing to settle for a flexible work schedule and a few extra vacation days.
Watch for signs that it’s time to move on with your search. For instance, if the candidate becomes difficult to reach or seems to be waffling on the offer, he or she may be using you to leverage a better package elsewhere. If you have another candidate waiting in the wings or are confident that you can find someone else, it may be time to walk away. However, if you need this candidate, tactfully try to uncover the reasons for the person’s unwillingness to give you an answer.
Finally, in your enthusiasm to hire a great candidate, consider how any perks or salary boosts you offer this person might affect other employees. If you hire someone with more benefits than someone with a similar job, it may create hard feelings or damage morale—even if you feel like you can rationalize the decision.