Tips to Find Joy in Recruitment Negotiations

December 22, 2023

Talent Engineer

Written By:

Lisa Russell | Talent Engineer

Illustrative graphic of two people standing on a teeter-totter shaking hands

If you cringe at the thought of negotiating, you’re not alone. Most people like negotiating about as much as they do public speaking. Thankfully, there is good news.

For those of you who manage recruiting and hiring processes, these tips can help you go from experiencing negotiation as a necessary evil (where one party inevitably loses) to a means by which a new scenario is created. In this type of negotiation, all parties leave better off than where they started.

Negotiation is the meeting place of ideas, people, and groups coming together in brand new ways. Negotiations are the beginning of new relationships.

This is something worth celebrating! Like any good relationship, successful negotiation requires communication, vulnerability, and active listening from all parties.

In recruiting, strong negotiation tools are needed throughout the alignment, interviewing, and offer stages of the process. Good negotiation will lead to a balance between the needs of the organization being met and the new employee feeling valued.

Alignment & Interview Negotiations

Whether you’re a recruiter working with hiring managers or a hiring manager working with internal stakeholders, several negotiations take place during the process of defining the ideal candidate. You will need to identify the current needs of the organization, the projected needs for the future, the skills of current employees, any gaps/barriers to achieving company goals, and budget limitations.

There are also stakeholders that may have competing interests or perspectives on what is most important. This leaves space for disagreement yet simultaneously reveals opportunities for negotiation.

How to Apply ZOPA to Negotiations

Learning and applying ZOPA, the Zone of Possible Agreement, can help with achieving alignment more efficiently. Picture a Venn Diagram. The middle area where the circles overlap is a great visual for ZOPA. It shows the common ground or shared values between multiple parties. Before you start sourcing candidates, make sure each stakeholder has identified all their “must-haves” and “nice-to-haves” based on their unique perspectives on how to achieve company goals.

Gather everyone’s lists and begin to define your ideal candidate starting with the qualities your stakeholders have commonly listed. Throughout the rest of the sourcing and interviewing process, refer to the ZOPA to stay focused on what is most widely seen as necessary. This will help ensure alignment throughout the process and eliminate the need to go back to the drawing board once you have started.

Graphic showing Venn diagram circles of ZOPA

Offer Negotiations

During the offer stage, it is typical for salary negotiations to commence. During this stage, there are many opportunities to either lose or secure top talent. As a hiring manager or recruiter, you should have a clear understanding of the budget for the position—the minimum and the absolute maximum the company will spend on this role.

You should also know any areas that are flexible—such as vacation time, paid holidays, volunteer hours, tuition reimbursement, or opportunities for continued education.

In addition, you should know your candidate’s ideal salary, benefits, vacation time, and any other needs.

Compensation should be one of the primary items discussed during the initial screening so by the time you get to the offer stage you have proactively eliminated the need to go back and forth several times.

When you give the offer, you should have crafted one that meets as many of the candidate’s requests as possible within the company’s budget. If needed, you can go back to the areas where you have flexibility to create a package that meets the candidate’s needs and is still feasible for the company.

A woman negotiation on a business call on her laptop

Reservation Point

The term, Reservation Point, is the minimum offer a party is willing to accept and is the underlying principle of ensuring a smooth offer process.

Having open, transparent discussions about the company’s budget and the candidate’s needs from the beginning of the interview process ensures all parties begin this new relationship with everything they need, without compromise, and with even some of their expectations exceeded.

Don’t shy away from negotiations, embrace them!

Negotiations are taking place all around us, all the time. No need to shy away. Remember, they are simply the beginning of new relationships, the starting point for ideas, people, and groups, to create something new in the world. Taking proactive steps to prepare ourselves and our teams can help eliminate the fear of negotiating and help you to celebrate the opportunity instead.

DISHER Talent Consultants love to negotiate; it is what we do. We welcome the opportunity to work with your team to recruit top talent for your company, help you establish your own talent department, or conduct training for your team around best recruiting practices. Schedule a time to talk with us to learn how we can partner today.

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