Tom Sweeney

It's a coming of age tale….

Salary Negotiations: Does anyone ever win?

Posted by sweens on February 9, 2009

I have said on more then one occasion that candidates have the right to demand fair market value for their skill set.  I do not think that many people would argue with this comment.  However there are times when candidates convey to a recruiter what their salary expectations are and when they reach the offer stage – the offer is not what they expected. 


Firstly, it is the responsibility of the recruiter to convey to their account manger or client what the candidate is expecting in terms of compensation.  I personally feel that the recruiter has a responsibility to indicate the clients’ maximum to a candidate if the candidate is expecting more then the maximum.  If your candidate is looking for more then your client is prepared to pay then they need to be aware of that as any offer they receive is likely to be less then their desired compensation package.


Candidates should also be aware that if a client is willing to pay up to $100,000 for a position, that salary point is likely their maximum salary for someone with EXACTLY the background they are looking for.  If you match up with 90% of their requirements (a very common situation) the client is unlikely to pay you their maximum.  This situation is one a recruiter should prepare you for. 


Candidates should not let their final decision come down to money but both sides should be aware of the expectations – from both the candidate and the client – when moving forward on any given opportunity.    




The onus is not only on the candidate.  Companies should be paying fair market value for any candidate they are interested in acquiring in to their company.  A company should be aware of the perception they give to a possible candidate when they make an offer below the candidates’ desired compensation point.  Candidates who find themselves in such a situation can come out of the offer with a sour taste in their mouth and a doubt about how serious the company is in acquiring their services. 


If this situation happens, candidates should not run away from the opportunity as there can be many circumstances that lead to such a situation.  The company may be on a lower pay scale then the market currently dictates.  The candidate could be demanding more then the hiring manger.  The company may just not have enough money to pay someone higher then a given point.


It is important for both the candidate and recruiter to work together to establish the compensation package moving forward.  Candidates need to be honest in their expectations and not shoot for the moon.  Recruiters need to be up front with candidates on what their clients are willing to pay.  Account Managers also need to set their clients expectations if their salary range is lower then the market value. 


If everyone works together through the whole recruitment process, there is less chance that an offer will be turned down due to money.

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