8 No-No’s on how not to negotiate a job offer

Making a job offer to a candidate is not just about giving the person a new job and a salary, that is something that many other companies offer as well. It’s about sharing the same vision, making a good culture fit, letting them know what benefit they get from working for your company and in what way this new job will benefit their career. If your company has jobs which have room for negotiation regarding certain aspects try to avoid the following eight no-no’s:

# 1 - Sounding desperate to hire a hard-to-find candidate

I remember receiving once a call on a Sunday evening around 9pm from a CEO of a college in London ten years ago who was looking for a Business Lecturer. The day and time of his call made me realise that he was in urgent need to fill this vacancy. I got invited for an interview two days later and when I got a better understanding about the college and their staff (which this CEO was treating rudely and making them feel embarrassed in front of me) I understood why it would be difficult to find someone who would feel proud to work for his college.

  • My advice: If the search for a particular candidate seems to be very difficult don’t look, sound and act completely desperate. You would make it very easy for the candidate to ask for unrealistic terms which might put you in a situation in which you might have to make more compromises than you initially thought.

# 2 – Not telling the candidate that the salary is not negotiable.

For low skilled jobs or if your company is facing an economical tough time it is common that salaries might not be negotiable.

  • My advice: If it is a fact that salaries are not negotiable you need to make jobseekers aware of it by mentioning exactly the amount they can expect and adding in brackets “not negotiable”. This will make sure that you don’t waste yours and your candidates’ time.

# 3 - Changing important terms and conditions in the last minute which differ from your initial promise.

For example, by offering a lower salary, by reducing the number of entitled days of holidays, by including “flexible working hours” rather than the agreed 9-5 working hours etc.

  • My advice: Think carefully about what you want to offer to a candidate. Know your limits. If you want to be perceived as a credible and professional company you need to stick to what you promise. Always!

# 4 – Don’t just discuss the salary, think of all the other perks that your company can offer.

  • My advice: If the employee is asking for a higher salary than what your company is able to pay, remind the candidate that there are additional perks which are highly appreciated by other staff members too. For example, stock options, free parking, some days working from home, gym membership, free personal development courses, an additional week off during slow times, company car, mobile phone, private health insurance, performance related bonuses or whatever you can offer.

# 5 - Rushing a candidate into accepting the job offer straight away or without allowing them to take any further time to think about the offer being made.

A candidate might have also had other job interviews in the past days and might be interested in receiving those feedbacks too. Furthermore, often jobseekers (who are married and have a family) would want to discuss their potential new job move also with other family members in order to make sure that they are happy about it and agree with the decision as well.

  • My advice: Don’t pressurise the candidate but give the person a reasonable deadline (e.g. for senior positions a maximum of 7 days) by which the employee-to-be must have decided whether to accept your offer or not. Emphasise one more time that you would be very happy for the person to join and that s/he would be an important addition to the company.

# 6 - Telling a candidate all the terms and details of the job verbally but without issuing a written letter of employment.

  • My advice: By giving the candidate a written letter of employment it would allow the person to fully understand and evaluate the offer and avoid any potential misunderstandings. If you hand over this written offer in person you give the candidate the opportunity to ask any questions which you can answer on the spot. Create a comfortable environment, get some coffee and biscuits while the employee is reading through the offer and discuss any potential disagreements.

# 7 – Don’t try to cut out the third party.

In case you hired a recruitment agency to help you find the right candidate don’t try to cut out this third party by hiring the candidate directly without paying the agency their fees.

  • My advice: If you hire a recruitment agency appreciate their service and pay the fees as initially agreed, otherwise hire employees by yourself next time.

# 8 - Not engaging at all with the new hire during the notice period.

  • My advice: Give your new hire a spontaneous call after some days and tell the person one more time that you are really happy that s/he will soon join your company. You can also invite the candidate for a coffee or lunch. And if there is any highly interesting event going on in your company invite the person to attend or participate in the event. You don’t need to wait until their first official working day to give them a further opportunity to interact with your staff.

If you follow these tips jobseekers will realise that they are dealing with a reliable, honest, trustworthy and professional individual as well as a company that they can trust. 

Karin Schroeck-Singh
Karin Schroeck-Singh is a passionate Public Speaker, eBook Author, and a freelancing Online Content Producer. She has an MBA from the University of Leicester (UK) and gained 18 years of international work experience in Italy, the UK and India.