How to negotiate salary

Written by Nate Hendley

The interviews are over and you’ve chosen the best job candidate. He is highly qualified and eager to work for your firm — it’s a perfect fit. Now, it’s come down to salary negotiations.

What a delicate situation: you want to keep your personnel costs down, but offering too little could mean losing the candidate.

The trick is to be poised, precise and most of all, well prepared, says Alex Cocq, human resources director at Accenture Canada, a Mississauga, Ont.-based management consultancy.

Cocq offers the following suggestions for salary negotiations:

  1. Do your homework. “You must have a good understanding of what the job is worth to your company and to the marketplace,” says Cocq. You know what your company pays for various positions, but are you also familiar with current market rates? If not, there’s no shortage of websites that offer Canadian salary data. Check Statistics Canada’s page, as well as this site run by law firm Campbell Cohen.
  2. Determine the new hire’s expectations. It may be difficult, but at least try to identify the candidate’s floor — the minimum he will accept. Also try to discover what he was paid by his previous employer.
  3. Describe the perks. Salary isn’t the only consideration for many job seekers. Be armed with information about training, vacation days, overtime pay, subsidies for education and any other perks your company offers, such as flextime. Decide in advance whether exceptions can be made to your benefits package.
  4. Don’t get cocky. It’s a mistake to assume your company has the best salary and benefits package in the industry. Trying to convince the job hopeful that he “won’t find a better salary anywhere else,” says Cocq, isn’t likely to win him over.
  5. Know your candidate’s tricks. The keenest job seekers will be armed with salary negotiation tricks of their own. Be prepared for them. For example, career websites recommend that interviewees never mention salary before the interviewer does. See what else the experts recommend to job candidates by searching the Web for “compensation negotiations.”

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© 2003 Nate Hendley

Originally appeared on PROFITguide.com