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Salary Negotiation Tips for Hiring Managers

Congratulations, you have found a candidate that is definitely in the running to become the finalist for your open position. Ideally, the recruiter has already pre-closed this candidate, so it is an easy conversation where you offer the position to the candidate, and they happily accept. Then you’re off to the races to talk about the start date and first-day expectations. However, if the candidate has been close to the chest and has not felt comfortable sharing salary expectations, here’s where you guide them to a pleasant conversation.

You are off to a great start because you have not made the salary the most important part of the role. While you have a specific budget, the recruiter will have an idea if the candidate aligns within your salary range.

While many people in the hiring process would like to know how much a candidate currently makes, it becomes a more even playing field if you ask the candidate what their salary expectations are. This will help avoid the elimination of applicants on the basis of whether their expectations are too high (out of your anticipated range) or too low (often equated with being unqualified). The likelihood that either of these is true should not be the driving force behind salary negotiation. The latter could signify that the candidate is not making market rate because of a career change or because of internal pay inequality between men and women.

To address this pay inequity, many states have implemented laws around asking candidates salary histories. While your state may not have this law, it would be safe to keep the conversation on salary expectations, not on past salary history. It is important to note, however, that women answering this question may still have lower salary expectations because they are unaware of the market rate.

Consider if you have two candidates going after the same role with a very similar background -- one is male, and the other is female. Would you offer them the same rate even if the woman was making $20k less than the male candidate? While it may make you cringe to give the woman the $20k increase, you will have better retention and loyalty if you provide the market rate to the candidate. If you have the budget, it does not hurt you to bring a candidate into the right market rate and level the playing field.

When you tell a candidate just what the salary range is, it is essential to say the actual range, not what the lower range might be, so that you can offer the candidate a lower salary.
In conclusion, it is imperative to have integrity in these situations as it inevitably will come back around.

Candidates and employees DO talk about their salary behind closed doors. Your integrity in this negotiation will gain you a happy, committed employee who will likely stay with you for years to come and may follow you to other employers. 

If you need further advice on any of these topics, my door is open to discussion.