Introducing the salary negotiation expert: Amy Miller
[00:00:03] Hi everyone.
[00:00:04] Thank you for joining us today for the first salary negotiation how to a recruiter if we can have a bit more experience in salary negotiation than most but that doesn't mean you have all the answers when at the right time to approach the seller in conversation and you really lose by going first. I decided to introduce you to a recruiter at Microsoft as she breaks it down and sets you up to handle your salary negotiations like an expert exploring the challenges and being numbness.
[00:00:31] But first just a few housekeeping items.
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[00:01:14] Thank you so much for the warm welcome and introduction and more importantly for a chance to share. Well if anything at least some cautionary tales about salary negotiations. As Gary mentioned I'm a recruiter here at Microsoft. This whole topic and the whole discussion today is really just stuff that I've learned over about 17 years in recruiting that's both with small companies large companies and everything in between. Some of the things that we're going to talk about today are just first of all what is really our goal when we talk about salary negotiation and we talk about closing that deal-making that offer what do we really want. Well we want to win right. We want everyone in this to be happy. That includes us the manager the candidate and of course ourselves. We would love to get out of this feeling good about the process. We're going to talk a little bit about the right time Gary kind of mention that he is going first really the wrong play or you know what's the good time to approach that.
[00:02:15] I don't know about you guys. I occasionally talk to candidates who push back a little bit. Maybe they don't want to talk about salary and anyone else just me. Probably not. All right so talk a little bit about that in ways you can navigate those concerns and questions again who should go first. Can't talk about that enough. There's a lot of discussion around closing. So we'll touch on that a little bit as well. And then the last two points cannot go together. How do we get both of these participants on our side in this fight get them to be our allies and then also using data to do that and to drive that conversation.
Why does the salary discussion even matter? Simple. It’s emotional for the candidate.
[00:02:51] So first question I get whenever I'm talking to a new recruiter or even talking to managers about the salary discussion is why does it even matter why do we have to talk about this right now and why is it important and can't we just wait till we make an offer. And there's there's a lot of emotion that gets stirred up in a lot of things start happening when you start talking about finances with people. So why does it matter. Simply put this is one of the most emotional parts of the job search and the recruiting process. So think about it. You know we apply to jobs. No big deal I click a button I upload a rise may have some feelings about that.
[00:03:36] I know some people get mad because it's a difficult process or they think it's too easy or you know there's a lot of different things that can kind of pop up with that.
[00:03:47] But I don't think anything else in my experience there's no other part even the interview of the recruiting process that stirs up quite as much emotion as the salary discussion.
[00:04:00] People lose their minds a little bit on all sides of this equation. So that's why it matters. That's why I think we need to talk about it. We need to talk about it a lot and we need to talk about it often when you talk about it with our peers with our managers and with our candidates.
[00:04:15] So what's the problem. Why is this so hard.
Candidates think that recruiters aren’t on their side. That’s a myth!
[00:04:19] Here's the thing. I spent a lot of time on the Internet probably more than I should have.
[00:04:24] So what I have learned over the years is there is a lot of really bad advice out there. There are a lot of career coaches you know former recruiters whatever rate people on all sides of this H.R. recruiting equation who are creating this adversarial mindset who are telling candidates oh the recruiter is not on your side.
[00:04:55] The Recruiter is out to get you. The recruiter is going to lowball you. The recruiter is only in it for the company.
[00:05:03] That's not accurate.
[00:05:06] And I say that with conviction because I'm telling you it is not accurate for me in how I run my desk and how I operate.
[00:05:14] And it's not accurate for every recruiter I know a lot of my really good friends are recruiters and we talk about this stuff and we are all left kind of scratching our heads going man why do candidates feel this way.
[00:05:28] Don't they understand how hard I fought for this offer don't they get what I traded to get them a sign on bonus things like that so I know in my personal experience and that of my many recruiting friends that this is not an us against them. This is not an adversarial relationship where we're trying to stick it to anybody in this process. Like I said a couple of nights ago we want a win. We want a hiring manager to hire a great candidate with the right budget. We want the candidate to get a great new opportunity at the right compensation level and package and we will to close a deal we want to fill a placement we want to solve this problem. The talent acquisition.
[00:06:10] So we've got to kind of start moving away from this mindset that recruiters are out to get you or recruiters you know are in the business of lowballing it's just not true.
[00:06:23] So we'll talk a little bit about that will we'll get into some of those myths and try to help provide some context and shed some light on the truth of recruiting and yeah we're probably going to attack some really bad advice that's out there. You know I'm more than happy to debate that anytime anywhere. So if anybody's looking forward your questions as we get through this presentation. But yeah that's where this problem I think stems from is just we're not being clear enough in our process and in how we work and why we work that way so that candidates can feel that they can trust us with their with their salary negotiation.
Internet resources for salary negotiation are all about the negatives and making things adversarial
[00:07:01] All right speaking of the Internet what does the Internet say about salary negotiations.
[00:07:07] Not a whole lot. I hate I it. You can see here hey I'm a company girl. I use Bing. I did a quick search on salary negotiations. I got over 8 million hits. Right. And if you just look at not only what comes up first but also the related searches. It's all how to get a better offer. Never say this dos and don'ts how to ask for a higher salary. It's not that there's anything implicitly wrong with those articles or with that starting point. But it almost puts me in a defensive posture. You know if this was a webcast you would actually see me standing up trying to you know leaning back in my boxer stance a little bit because this feels a little adversarial and it feels a little bit like I got to be ready to go into battle and I got to be ready to fight back against whatever this is.
[00:08:01] So that's the information the candidates are seeing when they're going into this job search.
[00:08:06] They're going into this interview process and start thinking about how am I going to negotiate my salary and get a good deal. This is the information that's being given back to them Don't do this don't do that. Never say this. You know we'd have to collect articles that make sense. But again we're creating almost this scenario if I can't trust you.
[00:08:28] Well knowing that Internet nonsense is agnostic of course Google will give you the same results more or less. So again tactics for better compensation how much to ask for. That's probably a good one of salary negotiation guide. There's clearly no shortage of information out there. Five million plus results here. It really kind of got to pick through and decide gosh how much of this really applies to me and how much can I effectively use to better my situation.
[00:08:57] That's why these discussions are so important and why I think as recruiters we have a responsibility to help drive that conversation with our teams.
When and how do we start talking about money? It has to be early, often, and specific for both in-house and agency recruiters.
[00:09:10] When it is the right time to talk money now I'm willing to bet that if you ask 10 recruiters what is the right time to start the salary discussion. You're going to get 10 different answers. There are so many variables here so I want to cover just the highlights and try to provide some context around why we do what we do. But I also want to share my personal philosophy on this.
[00:09:36] It has to be early.
[00:09:37] It has to be often and it has to get specific as time goes on as we get closer and closer to a potential offer. The more I know the more I understand the more information I have the better job I can do for you as your advocate in the job search process. A lot of caveats there. Right. I happen to be a corporate recruiter. I'm clearly going to be talking to you about a particular company about probably a particular team probably about a particular position doesn't always start there but we get there pretty quickly in most cases. Right. Let me talk about agency for just a moment. I spent many years in agency recruiting. I loved it. It was great. My philosophy hasn't changed.
[00:10:26] I felt the same way as an agency recruiter about salary discussion and negotiations as they do now good agency recruiters good recruiters understand the gravity of what they're doing and understand the importance of these discussions and being a good advocate for our business partners.
[00:10:48] That's both the hiring teams as well as the candidates.
[00:10:52] I have yet to meet a recruiter who will admit even privately over drinks to lowballing a candidate I've not heard of it happening. But if you ask the candidate population apparently it's all we do all day long.
[00:11:05] So again we've got to try busting those myths we've got to try to work around that and that's why having this transparent discussion early and often makes it easier for us to do so talking early talking often talking specifically sometimes that's a high-level discussion that doesn't necessarily mean I've got new to a specific number but it does mean that we've kind of open that door and we've recognized you know this is going to be something we need to cover. We're going to have to talk about this at some point. So we start that discussion we dig a little deeper with every phone call. My personal belief once we've now identified hey I think this role is the right one. I think you're a fit for this position if I'm agency for this company whatever.
[00:11:53] Now we're really starting to get more specific with the position that we want to talk about or the role that we want to maybe present you for have you interview for we should have an understanding what that's going to look like what that compensation might be. Right. And then finally for recruiters for any recruiter through listening to this none of us want to go into that conversation with our hiring team and not be able to say I feel pretty good that you can afford this person. If a candidate is cued up to talk to the business snacks that can be a technical screen that can be a phone interview that can be an impersonal you know your mileage may vary depends on how your process rolls. If that's the next step in the process we better have at least an idea of where we're at where we need to be no manager wants to come back from an interview.
[00:12:47] High on a candidate can't wait to make this person an offer and then you roll in with the bad news a week later that gosh she's a hundred thousand dollars over our budget.
[00:12:57] So that's why these conversations are important. That's why we've got to start talking about it early.
It can be tough for some candidates to discuss salary. But it’s important nonetheless.
[00:13:07] Easier said than done right. Yeah. You know I explain that a lot. I'll share that with most candidates I kind of give my philosophy on life and recruiting as in regards to salary and sometimes they're still not too keen on giving me the digits and I get that I get that. I know.
[00:13:31] In my personal experience a little war story for you.
[00:13:34] I was working for the government. Actually I had a role in a state's employment agency for a couple of years in between recruiting gigs and I wasn't making a whole lot of money in comparison to my previous field and my peers of course. And I remember starting to kind of put my toe back into the corporate recruiting waters and gosh maybe this is something I want to do next because I'm poor and boy I really didn't want to talk about salary I knew I was making significantly less than my peers.
[00:14:08] I mean by two thirds. I mean we're talking major differences in salary and I was nervous that you know if I could tell you where I'm at now and you know you might laugh at me first of all and secondly you're probably going to think I'm cheap you're probably going to think you can get me for half of the going rate you know and I was nervous about that but I had a manager who got it. And she called it out from day one when we first started talking like Hey I know you've kind of been doing recruiting related stuff and that's great. And you know obviously that's why we want to talk to you and maybe make you an offer and just sell you know here's where we are compensation wise.
[00:14:54] This is kind of the going rate. This is what the market looks like. This is probably where we're going to be.
[00:14:59] How does that work for you.
[00:15:02] Oh my goodness that works great. Says it was fair. It was comparable for the market it took into consideration the work that I was going to be doing not necessarily the place that I had been so that's that's an important thing that we need to do for our candidates as well.
[00:15:24] You know we have to look at where is this person work now. What are the potential. You know red flags there that might exist in the candidates mind. Why would they maybe be unwilling to talk about this. If it's a nonprofit or a government agency or something it's not that hard to guess will guarantee this person feels underpaid vs. the private industry or whatever. So you know we are really kind of be mindful of those things. And I think first of all asking that question hey do you mind sharing with me your salary expectations.
[00:15:57] Right. Let's talk about that in a minute. That's there's an important distinction between expectation and current comp but do you mind talking about this.
[00:16:04] I'd love to understand better what it would take for you to make a move make a decision.
[00:16:08] Join our team whatever you need to know this because why do we need to know this. Again going back to this is a very emotional part of this discussion.
How to ask a candidate about their current salary: ask about their opinion of the market
[00:16:19] This is the one thing that can kill a deal. This is the one thing that people tend to get worked up about. I want to make sure we're uncovering any landmines that might be there before we get to the altar and you're in love and then we can't close the deal.
[00:16:34] I'm asking because I want to make this successful for you and for my business partners. Empathy goes a long way here. Hey I get that this is a weird conversation to be having in our first or maybe second phone call. I know you have probably met read advice on the Internet. Well-intentioned articles from otherwise intelligent people tell you not to talk to you about this. I get it. You know I don't know if I talk to me that's a personal question. What do you make. Who asks that here's why it matters. Here's how I'm going to use that information to get you the best possible deal. But you know what Mr. Candidate feels weird for you right now. We've just met. We don't know where we're going to go from here. Let's talk about the markets.
[00:17:32] I live in tech Europe so I'm probably talking to engineers data scientists something like that.
[00:17:38] Let's talk about what the market says about what a software engineer makes. I read this article that said this. I know that talent in this field is really hard to find which drives up prices. What do you guys think of that.
[00:17:54] How does that sound do you have you. Have you missed candidate on some homework and do you have some ideas about what the market says this should be if you can take the person out of the discussion.
[00:18:08] You'd be amazed at how quickly that turns the conversation.
[00:18:13] You know now we're no longer talking about Amy's compensation because that's weird. I don't want to tell you. But if we're talking about what do recruiters make. Oh I got all kinds of opinions on that. We can talk about that all day long.
[00:18:27] Try that with your engineers with your accountants with your receptionist with all of these different positions and different kinds of people that you're trying to hire. Try that conversation and see where it goes you know. Talk about their view and talk about the market and talk about labor market information and all the different places that you can go to for this kind of detail. Sometimes just a lot of places.
[00:18:52] Sometimes you gotta take the average you know there's no one believes that's the most accurate but turn it to the market conversation and see if that doesn't change how high your candidate responds.
The compensation discussion should be about more than just the base salary. Use the benefits you have as leverage.
[[00:19:07] It's also important to note that this whole compensation discussion has got to be about more than just the base salary base salaries typically pretty important. You know are some salespeople they're on commission you know things like that. There's certainly some levers that you can pull in different industries and for different profiles but for the most part this is where people are paying their bills. Right. This is the this is the bottom line number that tells me I get to keep my lights on. So it's pretty important. But you have to understand your company or your customers pay philosophy to make sure that you're talking about those other composition elements that could be important. Again if we're talking to salespeople you can bet that a commission structure is going to be critical. They're going to want to know how that works what that looks like how quickly they can earn it. Is there a cap. Things like that. Be ready to talk through that. In addition to just give me your number right talks through not only is it important to them but also making sure that they understand what it looks like for your specific opportunity. Sometimes it goes even beyond compensation. I once this is this is a few years ago when I worked for a very small company about 100 people total at the time and was recruiting fairly high-level person for a brand new position. We just created. So kind of a big deal we had some objectives that would not be met without this person. So very important that we wanted someone for this role.
[00:20:42] And unfortunately the kind of person that we needed the market said this person would make 20 to 30 thousand dollars more than what we were prepared to pay so.
[00:20:54] Course I did what any sane recruiter would do. I stomped my foot. I locked myself in my office and cried for a little bit. I tried to do my way out of it any way I could but at the end of the day it was my role to fill.
[00:21:07] I had boundaries I couldn't change. Edward got it.
[00:21:12] So then it becomes what else do I have to offer. What else can I put on the table here for a great candidate who can do this job at this salary. As it turned out found someone amazing.
[00:21:24] Love your background loved her profile she had all the skills she had the right personality she had everything called her up hey let me just be very transparent with you from the gate.
[00:21:35] I know you're probably making X. This rolls only going to pay Y.
[00:21:39] But here's why it may be a great role and as it turned out she lived literally 5 minutes from the office and had been commuting an hour and a half for that extra 20 kids salary.
[00:21:55] And I will never forget that. Her exact words to me were that three hours a day that I get back that I can go to my son's t ball game you have no idea what that is worth me that's worth 20000 or 30000 I'll do it.
[00:22:16] She's still there to this day. She's still at that company and still doing great. We're still friends. I mean it's us. So think about that. It's not just the number.
[00:22:26] You're not always going to get the lucky I get it. But it's not just the number we have to talk about all these other elements and all these other potential drivers. If you're a nonprofit. Hey we're saving the world we're curing you know little kids with diseases or what. You don't think about what does this role have to offer and what's the what's the emotional payoff up to and beyond the compensation.
Transparency in salary negotiations is key
[00:22:54] Once we've tried to set some of these boundaries put a couple stakes in the ground. Now we have to talk about how and if we can move forward.
[00:23:05] We've we've had this conversation with our candidates. We've gotten to a place where we're kind of an agreement at least on a range or a starting point or some kind of number or some kind of package. Now we've got to figure out can this conversation move forward. Does it make sense to go to the hiring manager in this instance.
[00:23:24] The story I just shared you I had a really sell the manager the manager was worried yeah great we're going to hire this person and guess what they're gonna get another offer in six months. You know they're going to leave for more money. We really had to talk through that. And I had to be very transparent even though it meant maybe sharing things I wouldn't normally share you know. You know since you know this is her personal situation or whatever but by being able to share that and say here's the scenario that makes this offer potentially work for her.
[00:23:54] We were able to move forward with the interview process. Like I said just it's been four or five years or something. I mean she's still there.
[00:24:01] This has worked right. Because of the transparency that I had with both the manager and the candidate and being very very honest being very very clear on setting expectations and really talking through what is compensation mean and what does that look like for you and what's important to you. So it wasn't necessarily just about the number but it was about really getting to the heart of what matters to you and what we can offer you that would make this work.
In salary negotiations, someone has to talk first—and it can actually build your credibility and trust
All right. Don't go first ever. You guys heard that.
[00:24:46] This is this pretty common advice right. So it's interesting. So if the recruiter and I'm told you know I don't have the first number and I'm interviewing Sarah who is my superstar sophomore engineer but she's been told don't go first kiss. You know if you put the number down First you lose. We're looking to kind of be stared at each other and nobody's going to say anything. And that doesn't work. I mean eventually someone has to talk right.
[00:25:17] Like so I don't really understand who's coming up with this advice or why it makes sense. Someone's got to go first. I don't think it really matters.
[00:25:30] But one thing I've started doing in the past few years I've really I get older I'm kind of getting over myself you know not nearly those special snowflake that I thought I was 10 years ago.
[00:25:42] So I started to be like hey I want to go first. Let me start the conversation.
[00:25:50] Let me just sacrifice myself on the altar of too much information and tell you what we pay right.
[00:26:00] And that alone just creates this.
[00:26:04] You know first of all people get kind of confused. There weren't really users that. OK. But also you know it establishes credibility. I have nothing to hide. This is not. There's nothing for me to gain by withholding information from you that would help you make a decision that doesn't help anyone. Right. So here let me just share with you what my thoughts are and where I think we're going to be and let's let's talk about the importance of trust and credibility. I will say that as a candidate I want you to trust me. I'm trusting you that the information reflected on your resume is accurate. You tell me you can code and see sharp. I'm going to trust that you can do that and that's going to show up in an interview as well.
[00:26:54] But people more tactical than I wouldn't know. So building that credibility building that trust that goes a long way to setting the right tone and expectations for future salary discussions.
Be careful with using salary ranges
Now let me add a little caveat there as I like to do you are the recruiter and you go to your manager and say I've got a great countenance for your accountant role and the person will take between 50 and 60 thousand dollars a year that's what going to cost get this person 50 60 thousand dollars a year.
[00:27:37] Hi Mr. accountant. I've got a role for you. I've already talked to the hiring manager. He has agreed that this position could pay 50 to 60 thousand dollars a year. What could possibly go wrong.
[00:27:49] It's the same range we're all on the same page right.
[00:27:57] So rolling along with my interviews and I get to offer it. I told the manager 50 to 60 thousand dollars you remember that. Well guess what. I'm going to offer 55 and they're going to love it.
[00:28:11] Hey Mr. Candidate we talked about 50 to 60 remember. Guess what I got you 55. Are you excited. No everybody is mad at you now. You know why. Because the manager heard you could get this person for 50. And the candidate heard I could make 60 thousand dollars a year here. So how you're the bad guy that ended up ten thousand dollars off how does this happen.
[00:28:38] We have to be really careful with ranges. Okay.
[00:28:43] It has been my experience in all these years. I promise you I have never had anyone not take it this way if I give you a range. If you are the manager you hear the absolute lowest number if you are the candidate you hear the absolute highest number any number that deviates that I just got shafted by my recruiter.
[00:29:04] Maybe that's where all this comes from because we think we're doing a good job providing a range of a good range. I bet you in the middle on both sides why isn't everybody happy. We have to think about how these numbers and this information is received.
Instead of a range, give a conservative salary baseline to use as a starting point for conversations
[00:29:18] So with my candidates I tend to be a little conservative and I tell them that I say hey Sarah we generally pay North of 110000 thousand dollars on a base for this kind of role. How does that feel.
[00:29:38] Well you know hey if Sarah wants to make one of five and I've already told her it's at least 110 anything I go up from there it's going to feel really good. Or you know hey I'm making 130 right now 110 not going to do it for me. OK great. Let's talk about that. It's a conversation starter right. It is a conservative number but it's a fair number depending on what your ranges are. I mean again you have to know that for your businesses I'm making up numbers that it helps you start conversation.
[00:30:09] You've been very honest by saying you know this is kind of minimum. Like I really feel like you'll get more than this because of your experience or whatever.
[00:30:17] But here's kind of our baseline and that's okay because it gives you a starting point. Same thing with the manager. Hey you got someone senior you are someone with X amount of experience or these particular skill sets you might pay as much as 180. OK. That's what it takes for the person that fits the criteria. All right. Well you know what I got is 90 percent of the way there is going to cost you 168 awesome how that's how that works feel different on both sides.
[00:30:54] But again it's about starting the conversation putting that stake in the ground that says here's our starting point whether we go up or down depending on who you're talking to. All the other factors that come into play. But having that transparency at every point and just being really honest you know if we just stopped trying to manipulate people how much smoother this will go.
[00:31:19] But a topic for another time.
Things change during the recruiting process. Always ask your candidate what’s going on.
All right. So we've started our conversation we've laid the groundwork for some numbers. Now what do we do.
[00:31:35] Funny thing happens when you start talking to a candidate about a job you can find the most passive candidate in the world and you know they would have never taken your call if they didn't think it was their motto calling or you know they would have never answered your email either. Ever listen to your outreach. But somehow you got them on the right day and you had the right pitch in the right set of sizzle that they said OK. Yeah maybe I could maybe I could think about taking that job. All right. Well you know I've always liked ABC Company. I think I'll have a conversation.
[00:32:17] You know what's the harm. Funny thing happens when you start this conversation. Plus I sat in for some people other recruiter phone calls start sounding interesting other emails are all of a sudden being opened casual mention on the battlefield at a recruiter called me from ABC company really x y z companies hiring Sameera Azmeh all of a sudden the doors are opening for other conversations. And sometimes those other conversations are going a little bit better than yours did.
[00:33:00] No matter how much you think you have vetted a candidate or you have closed on an offer no more you've closed on a position this isn't even just salary. This is just recruiting one to one. You have to ask the question What has changed since we last talked. It could be something as common as well I took three other recruiter calls and now I have these other interviews set up which happens all the time.
[[00:33:30] It could be well gosh you know I talk to my significant other and we've agreed that it really doesn't make sense for me to move for anything less than this number that's much bigger than what we talked about before that happens a lot. Get them talking about what's changed. Revisits we talked about these numbers.
[00:33:57] We talked about you know maybe we did start talking ranges once we got closer through the interview stage and whatnot. Maybe we did you know kind of put certain things on the table. Yes we can offer a sign on bonus and what that looks like. You've got to really at every point try to uncover anything that may have changed since you started these discussions.
[00:34:24] Revisit those points take good notes fall back on the things you've talked about earlier and keep asking the question.
Tell the candidate that if they want to move up, here’s what they have to do
[00:34:33] One thing I always try to tell my candidates as well and I think this crosses most industries most levels most kinds of people that we recruit you may look like a certain level of candidate on paper.
[00:34:53] If you were to look at my résumé I'll use myself as an example.
[00:34:57] It's been recruiting for a long time worked in big companies worked in small companies worked in agencies. I probably look kind of senior.
[00:35:05] I'm kind of been around the block got a couple t-shirts but if I'm not showing up that way during the interview it doesn't mean I won't get the job it doesn't mean I won't receive an offer but they may not see me as the senior to executive level person. I think it's the same thing for our candidates. You know when you start moving up the ranks and you're getting into more strategic positions and you're holding you know loftier titles that comes with a certain set of expectations. You know there are certain behaviors. There are certain communication styles experiences things like that that come into play. So if we can go back to engineering for a moment somebody could come in and be a great engineer and write code like nobody's business. But if that person isn't showing up during the interview as someone who could sit in on a business meeting or someone who could present to the leadership team or whatever a senior person in your organization does they care.
[00:36:12] Really in fairness expect senior money so they tell candidates that again I'm all about transparency all the time I think sunlight is the best disinfectant if this is what you're looking for if this is the title you want.
[00:36:29] If this is the package that you want if this is the salary range you're expecting to move into let's talk about what a person at that level does.
[00:36:43] Perception perception perception drives a lot of this discussion and gives me as your advocate internally the ammunition to go back and say This is why this person is worth this package.
The bottom line: to earn trust, recruiters need to emphasize that they are partners in this process
[00:37:02] We're partners we are partners we are in this together. OK. We have to get this across. We the recruiters have the responsibility to get our partners to understand this.
[00:37:19] And when I say partners I mean my candidates I mean my hiring teams I mean HR if they're involved in your offers anyone who has anything to do with this offer situation or this placement situation we have to we have the responsibility to be trustworthy. And to be viewed as the expert in this particular part of the job you know I mean I remember talking through this is kind have a larger recruiting discussion but definitely salary negotiation was a big part of it and it was talking to a group of engineering leaders and we were talking about this is how this is going to work and this is what I need from you and this is what you're going to get from me and there was a lot of this discussion and dialogue.
[00:38:05] And I remember I don't remember what exactly I asked for but I asked for something from them and they kind of looked at each other and they all looked at me and they said you're the recruiter we're just engineers.
[00:38:19] Wow. I thought Oh my goodness this is like probably the only time I'll ever hear that and I'm going to write this out. It's a book that was born from a place of being transparent and trustworthy.
[00:38:34] You know it was because I had spent so much time talking about all these things with candidates who have now become leaders that I'm recruiting for with my leaders who I have helped build their teams. You know this is something we build over time. But it's so important to be the kind of person that is worthy of the trust of your partners. So just think about that if you're going to these conversations.
[00:38:58] What I want someone to talk to me this way.
Once you gain the trust of the candidate, they’ll start sharing things with you
OK how do we get there. Talk through the components of the offer going back to that salary piece back to an offer discussion talk about the components of the offer.
[00:39:12] We started with a conversation a month ago. We were here. You've now shared that you're interviewing at a and b. Now we're looking at this kind of package. How does that look in comparison to either what you're currently making or other offers you're looking at.
[00:39:30] You'd be amazed at how many times candidates would be willing to send you offer letters that you know in writing this is what my competitors are offering this person.
[00:39:43] I mean if you have that trusting relationship and you have people that are willing to share valuable information with you can do a better job.
[00:39:53] I can't be what I don't know. All right if you want this job you want to come work at this company. We both want that. We all want that our manager wants that but I know that that's going to take a certain kind of package. I need you to tell me what that is. I need you to walk me through what factors in your decision making. If we're talking about a relocation situation what's important to you.
[00:40:24] Is a relocation package you know that's usually pretty important. So what are some of the factors there. You know I mean what is her leadership to be like. These things we have to know we have to talk about and figure out how do we overcome it. Other important factors again base salary is one number.
[00:40:43] It's one part of a typically pretty comprehensive overall package how much do benefits matter to you.
[00:40:55] How about long-term compensation in the form of bonuses and stock all of these things have to be considered because these are important elements see relocation maybe you work for a company that doesn't offer relocation.
[00:41:11] Well if that matters to a candidate you're going to have to figure out a way to overcome it. Maybe that's a more robust salary maybe you can do something creative with a sign on it maybe you can do some kind of a remote work situation. You have to figure out how to problem solve that in your own individual organizations.
[00:41:29] But it's it's those kinds of questions that have to be asked so that I can build the right package. I don't know it's important to you if you don't tell me why I can't get this for you. I don't know that you need it.
[00:41:47] And again being transparent back and saying Hey I know this matters to you.
[00:41:51] Unfortunately our company policy is this we get us a lot with vacation for example right where you know just negotiate more vacation. It doesn't work that way. Maybe it does with other companies. Maybe there are small companies or you know certain places where you can do that. But I feel like at least the companies I've worked for where you have maybe single aides Harper's Apperson or a single you know kind of standard way that we've done this. I can't necessarily go offer one of 100000 people an extra week vacation. It's just not allowed. Right. So again you have to kind of think through these things and know what you can affect and be willing to talk through what you can't.
[00:42:34] Transparency transparency transparency.
Ensure confidentiality when a candidate discloses certain information
Another thing to keep in mind. Final point on this confidential conversation we are often privy to things that maybe we shouldn't be years and years ago at another company.
[00:42:59] I was talking with a candidate who was looking to relocate. And it was challenging because at that time that company did not offer relocation and in other words it was it was a lower paying job in other words there were certain things that you know kind of potential lax for us making an offer because we didn't think it'd be accepted. And talking through these questions you know and why as important who as this candidate disclosed some pretty raw personal stuff that had gone on and that had made it basically created a scenario where this person needed to be back in this metro area to be near family. And that's all I'll say about that. It changed the way I approach the compensation discussion and the way I approached the offer. We still had boundaries you know I could only offer a certain thing but it allowed me to understand that hey you know what this person has relocation covered. They're good.
[00:43:59] Not an issue. So you need to know. Not an issue the person can get here. You know because I had this kind of backside information.
[00:44:11] It allowed me to take what I could share what I could talk about from an H.R. perspective and from a confidential perspective put together the right package make the right pitch to the manager make the offer I've stayed in touch with this person their career has taken off.
[00:44:26] It's been a pleasure to watch. But knowing that it all kind of started with just having an honest you and me conversation.
[00:44:33] It's it's something that humbles me greatly. So just again confidential conversations know what you can share what you need to know and skip what you know. Let the data tell the story data. I know part of the country you're in how you pronounce it anyway.
Track and use your data. Rely on this information to understand the markets and your competitors.
[00:44:55] You have to have information. Recruiting is gut checks right. We know that we know it even more. I mean it's you know a lot of it is still there. But you have to have facts and figures and information that you can use to drive these discussions specifically with engineers.
[00:45:20] Boy I have learned that the hard way over the last several years was marketing people you know like this is why it makes sense. And this is the right thing to do or you know have failed people this is going to make you more money or whatever. Boy with engineers you've got a comic like flowcharts and stuff you know once a pivot table like they're crazy about data. So it's it's always interesting to me how my approach differs depending on the manager I'm talking with and I have definitely gotten much better over the years at keeping track you know keeping track of stuff and knowing okay here's kind of my company norms right and hopefully you work for a company that has that or maybe you can help create it.
[00:45:59] But here's what we tend to offer for these kinds of people or labor market. Here's what the market says we should do or can do or whatever.
[00:46:11] If you're asking for exceptions if you're looking for me you know maybe something that there's a higher level or something there's some reason to make a case. There you go. Are you ready to make that case you have to be able to provide the information that is more than just because we have to or because they want to or because you know I'm too lazy to keep recruiting for the right person and I want to make this easy fill if we pay enough money you really have to you owe it to your business well as your candidate pool to do the right thing and use information to do it. This is also great for helping your business partners your hiring managers understand the competitive landscape. If you're finding that you're losing a lot of candidates to a particular organization you don't talk about the things you need to say hey man this company is eating our lunch. And here's why I'm hearing from my candidates that we have not been able to hire that they're getting that on bonuses but whatever it is you know whatever it is for your situation. Track that stuff. Use I use a one no. I mean I just dump everything in there and then I pretty it up for the audience when I need to share it.
[00:47:23] But track information, write things down and then use that to craft your salary philosophy and your discussion. So just having that information at your fingertips turning it into actionable information and data is critical.
[00:47:42] So there we go that salary negotiation in a nutshell a very big nutshell very complex. So hopefully you've gotten some takeaways here. And again it's very simple.
[00:47:58] It's know your role in the process. Be transparent be honest provide as much information as you can and track the information as you're closing the closing candidates closing managers making those final offers.
[00:48:16] Make sure you're tracking everything it helps you improve for the next time.
If you can’t tell candidates an honest range, tell them the absolute minimum. But make sure you’re giving at least one number.
[00:48:34] I don't know that we'll be able to get through all of them. But I would love to them artwork. We do up an answer. Great.
[00:48:41] You know what.
[00:48:44] So the first question. Any advice on how to handle candidates at you with the salary range is we are able to share company salary than right now.
[00:48:55] That's a good one and I think you know it goes back to the problem with ranges. You know I would say this because I'm just you know kind of snarky that way. I actually tell the candidate well gosh you know I can tell you a range but I already know you're only going to hear the first the biggest number know back on and you can play with mobile. But I think it's safe to say if you can we're going to offer at least X amount at least 100k at least 40 you know whatever it is.
[00:49:31] Otherwise and this is just a brutal truth and please take us back to your business as well. If you have that kind of locked down and you just can't share numbers at all that's going to limit your candidate pool. It just is.
[00:49:44] And so that becomes an important discussion point when you're when you're meeting with your managers to say just so you know the candidates that you're going to interview are going to be the ones that are going to talk to you without knowing what we pay. How do you feel about that. That alone may be enough for them to tip that a little bit and say OK you can say this or you can share a limited amount of information. And again I would recommend going with that conservative starting point not a range.
Some candidates are unrealistic about salaries. Ask them how they got to their number.
[00:50:10] Great to read that. But how do you deal with a candidate whose salary expectations are not in alignment with the position or maybe unrealistic.
[00:50:21] Yeah that's it you guys see that too.
[00:50:25] OK good. Good to know I'm not alone. Let's use it all pick on a salesperson because I've picked on everyone else so far. Salesperson comes in you know this is a role that probably pays maybe a base salary of 50K. Your upside is maybe a hundred K and if you meet your goals and whatnot still comes in I'm not going to take it for less than a hundred thousand dollar base salary. We know that's not realistic for this market probably depending on the kind of salesperson assuming you have that information.
[00:50:59] And I just simply say well gosh help me understand where you came up with that number.
[00:51:05] And then just wait that's really interesting that's that's so much more aggressive than I would have expected. I'd love to understand what research you did that gave you that number and just weeks silence is your friend in a scenario like that. A lot of times they're going to come back to you and you know have some whack a doodle answer or they're gonna say well you know what does it pay you know then you can kind of redirect it back to the land of the real. But yeah just wait.
[00:51:41] Just ask the question and be quiet.
It’s important to take a positive approach to salary negotiations in recruiting. Don’t screen people out. Screen people in.
[00:51:46] To have great information. Next question Do you believe a salary in the first screening called the screen people out.
[00:51:56] I don't train people out that I'm glad that the question was phrased in that way we could probably do a whole new webinar on that system.
[00:52:06] But I do not give people out ice cream people when I look for a reason to move forward.
[00:52:12] And I guess this is something I will tell you I have shifted on this probably in the last year I used to really try to dig into that in the first call. I always thought that was important you need to know I need to know I need this information and I have now shifted where I'm giving the candidate the opportunity. Right. Hey this is going to be something we need to talk about. I don't know if you're comfortable with talking about it right now because we just met 30 minutes ago on the phone but we do need to start having a conversation. What do you think? And then the candidate has the choice to be like Hey let me just tell you what to make now.
[00:52:45] Oh awesome. You're good. You're off to the races. Other candidates like Yeah I don't want to tell you. OK great. But just so you know our next discussion is going to be this. We probably should talk about it before we get too far down the process. So you're already kind of setting the expectation for the next call assuming there is going to be a next call. And as long as there are in our interest in all those other things are there. There should be a next call.
If your company doesn’t track market rates, use any resources you can get your hands on—and use an average
And so is really what you use for discerning Mercury.
[00:53:22] Yeah. So I'm first of all super spoiled and really fortunate to work for a company that does provide me guidelines. I am not ignorant of how lucky I am in that regard.
[00:53:35] That's sad.
[00:53:38] All kinds of variables that come into play there. There's other kinds of conversation compensation in bonuses and sign ons and things like that. I look at all the usual suspects. I look at Glassdoor I look at payscale I look at anywhere I can find something to do with salary ranges of information. I look at all of them because nobody is right with air quotes right. If you can see me right I would say nobody is correct. You kind of have to take an average of all of the information.
[00:54:09] That's one. And then secondly this is another reason that that salary discussion is so important with a candidate. If you're talking to 20 candidates a week you're getting salary information from 10 of them. That's going to be you can plot that on a graph. You get create some data points and you can see a trend. Well gosh everybody I talk to from this really big company is making about money. You know you can start putting together those pieces of information. So as much as I would love to say oh go to this Web site. It's not that simple sadly but there are ways you can organize all the usual suspects I named. You can start putting together a picture based on a lot of information.
What to do when candidates counter: ask the candidate for a reason to go higher
[00:54:55] Great question. What are here for leaving a room for sulphur knowing that no candidate will likely ever.
[00:55:07] Yeah. So there's a couple ways that you can do this. I'll gladly talk to anyone one on one about this. If they want to go deeper.
[00:55:20] But let me give you a broader answer that hopefully people can use. I make sure the candidate understands upfront.
[00:55:31] I have negotiated a really good offer for you. I do. I see you can ask my managers they know if I'm come to them with an offer discussion. Buckle up I've already negotiated a really good offer for you if this offer doesn't do it based on our conversations up to this point. You Mr. candidate have to give me a reason why we need to go higher.
[00:55:53] Doesn't mean that we can doesn't mean that we can't.
[00:55:57] But I better have some ammunition. I better have a reason. You better have a competing offer that is higher you better have. I just got a raise. There's got to be something more than the information I already have that is going to dictate me giving you more than I already am I don't recommend lowballing either. I know the question is and I imagine a lot of people have this question you know it's kind of phrased where you know we talked to the manager and the manager like well I'll pay as much as 120 but let's start at 110. I don't like that. It doesn't feel good to me. You know I understand why I really do. But I feel like an offer should be based on all of the discussion up to this point how the interview with what the person is looking for.
[00:56:43] You know I don't like intentionally leaving room.
[00:56:49] But again if a candidate can come back and say well here's why I'm looking for more than we can go back to the business and have that discussion. I hope that answers the question again. The offer stands.
[00:57:01] I will gladly talk to anyone one on one and we can dig deeper on this but I don't want to leave anyone with the impression that I'm saying yeah I'll leave a gap because that's not necessarily the right thing and in the interest of time we're going gonna take one more audience question because they know that we have lost one element and want to make an offer more thing.
To make a job more exciting, you have to understand what the candidate wants to know
[00:57:31] Yeah well Ito it starts with what's important to the candidate that's the number one thing I think a lot of times we'll start rambling about you know are great benefits or are you know ping pong tables. Like who cares. Yeah I was I was joking about this and a recruiter Rupert admitted you know we were talking about different work perks and some people like work perks or so last year and whatever and what are my girlfriends like you really care about nerf gun wars in the office. That's kind of boring to me.
[00:58:00] We can talk about those things but it doesn't matter if it doesn't excite the candidate. So it starts with first of all knowing what your perks are.
[00:58:09] Okay maybe it's you know location to where people live maybe it's you know one thing we don't talk about nearly enough. I think my current company we have this amazing charity matching you know where the money that you give or time that you spend volunteering is actually matched up to a dollar amount to your charity if you uncover that that's something that really matters. Your candidate you need to talk about that in your offer discussion. So it's twofold. Understand what you have to offer bonus pay salary commission whatever. And then before you just start rambling about it. Find out what the is going to respond to.
[00:58:52] Then you can really craft your message around that specific thing.
[00:58:56] I hope that was the answer you guys were looking for I hope I understood the question but I think it always goes back to what does a candidate want to know.
[00:59:07] Awesome. Thank you Amy. Thank you so much for that amazing webinar. Thank you everyone for your time today. For additional information on links and talent solutions please visit our Website. Business LinkedIn dot com and also don't take our survey. Just click on the notepad icon at the bottom of your screen and answer a few quick questions should all take you about 10 seconds. That's all thank you everyone.