Most of the time hiring managers send an offer letter to the potential candidate in what is often considered the final step in a long and trying hiring process. While hiring managers hope a candidate will simply sign the offer and send it back, there is another situation which will often arise, a salary negotiation. Counter offers are commonly faced by employers and it’s important to be adequately prepared for this situation. While it’s often assumed that this is only a concern for the candidate, there are various tips and tricks hiring managers should consider when navigating a salary negotiation with a potential new hire.

Be transparent from the start

Many companies have limits when it comes to salaries and its important for hiring managers to make that clear when posting a new position. Job sites like Indeed or Glassdoor often encourage employers to provide a salary range when posting a position. Not only does this weed out under or over-qualified candidates, but it creates transparency and expectations from the start of the hiring process. By being transparent with potential news hires about these salary requirements a business can save themselves prohibitive costs. However, if a hiring manager feels the candidate will be especially beneficial to the organization but cannot provide them with a higher salary, consider offering other non-monetary benefits such as a flexible work schedule or more vacation days.

Create limits internally

Before salary limits can be effectively communicated with potential candidates, it’s important that the business set and share these limits internally. Executives should evaluate the position they’re hiring for and take into consideration the experience required as well as the overall hiring budget to create an effective range that makes sense for all involved. 

Setting the salary range internally before posting the job and making an offer, can prevent various issues. For example, if the internal salary range is $50,000 to $60,000 and a candidate counteroffers at $58,000 there is still room to negotiate without busting the budget. Also, salary ranges help set an effective internal pay structure based on employee experience. This prevents a new hire from making more than existing employee when both have the same skill set.

Keep negotiations positive

The hiring process is often long and difficult for both hiring managers and prospective candidates. Therefore, when the stage of salary negotiations is finally reached it’s important that the process stays positive for both parties. This is especially true when considering the existence of employer review sites like Yelp, that can hurt a business’s reputation if a bad hiring experience takes place. From an employer perspective, if the potential candidate decides to pass on the final offer, it’s important to remain cordial despite frustration.

With today’s record low unemployment rate, the hiring process is already difficult and salary negotiations can make it even harder when working to make an effective hire. However, by setting internal salary limits and ranges, building transparency from the beginning of the process, and preparing to remain positive throughout the negotiations, hiring managers have the necessary tools to create a successful salary negotiation and find the perfect new hire.

Matt Thomas is president of WorkSmart Systems Inc.