How To Negotiate From Same Side Of The Table
Both candidates and companies benefit when they can adopt mutually respectful, beneficial, and realistic – rather than overly adversarial – stances during new-job negotiations, according to Salveson Stetson Group, a full-service retained executive search firm.
“Candidates may be able to achieve more of the compensation benefits and career goals they desire if they take a realistic, flexible, understanding approach in negotiations, and will be better positioned to work with those they are negotiating with after joining the company,” said Sally Stetson, co-founder and principal with the 10-year-old executive search firm.
"Conversely, companies in such situations will be recruiting candidates who feel better about their new organizations and are more focused on accomplishments, rather than harboring any bitterness about unrealized negotiating objectives,” added John Touey, principal with Salveson Stetson Group. “It’s a win-win situation when candidates and companies can figuratively negotiate ‘from the same side of the bargaining table.’”
Among the tips for candidates and companies in how to realize the most from negotiations are:
Tips For Candidates
· Negotiate as if you have already joined the company and are only working out a few minor details. “Convey your enthusiasm for the job and the company throughout the negotiating process,” said Stetson.
· Be flexible in your approach to compensation. “If the company cannot budge on base salary, consider asking for things such as a raise in your annual bonus target, a one-time sign-on bonus to make up for money left on the table, or an accelerated performance review process,” said Touey.
· Understand where the company is coming from. “What is their philosophy on compensation? How will the company’s current performance affect their ability to raise their offer? Are they the type of organization that puts its best foot forward on an initial offer, or leaves room to negotiate?” asked Stetson.
· Revisit the reasons you were attracted to the company in the first place. “Does getting 10 percent less than what you would have hoped for in an offer affect that rationale in a significant way?” asked Touey.
· Frame your worth in terms of the value you would bring to the company – not the value an offer would have to you. “Show them how your background and experience can help them meet goals and solve problems. Don’t say the reason you need more money is because you have two kids in college,” said Stetson.
· Be clear with yourself – and the company – about the changes you propose in the offer. “Understand the issues you need to resolve, and don't keep going back to the company with more requests for changes. Identify your most important needs at the start. Don't hold back some requests until the end – when they will be perceived as ‘surprises,’” said Touey.
Tips For Employers
· Don't frame this as a personal issue. “This is a business negotiation, don’t take it personally,” said Stetson.
· Understand what the market is paying for the skills a candidate would bring to your organization. “If you want top-flight talent, you can't solely consider what the company compensation plan says you should pay. There are a number of other variables that need to be considered,” said Touey
· Try not to let the candidate negotiate directly with his or her new boss. “Most candidates are uncomfortable doing this. Use your human resources department or your executive search firm to act as a broker for the deal. This will allow a candidate to ‘save face’ when he or she starts a job – especially when difficult or sensitive negotiations occur,” said Stetson.
· Maintain a positive communication environment. “Let the candidate know you are excited about the possibility of him or her joining your team,” said Touey.
· Leave some negotiating room if you can. “Everyone likes to feel as if he or she has some power in the process, and candidates will want to see some movement on the part of the company during negotiations,” said Stetson.
· Keep in contact with the candidate. “If there are time lags in the process, the hiring executive should be encouraged to call the candidate a call to maintain a positive relationship,” said Touey.
About Salveson Stetson Group
Salveson Stetson Group (www.ssgsearch.com) is a full-service retained executive search firm founded in 1996. Specializing in $150,000+ salaried positions, Salveson Stetson Group places executives at organizations ranging from Fortune 500 companies to non-profit entities. The company is based in suburban Philadelphia.