Some of you are aware that I run another blog on HR and Talent called Fistful of Talent - check it out if you haven't.
Anyway - I did a post over at FOT last week entitled, "How Candidates and Recruiters can use First-Strike Advantage in Salary Negotiations". Here's a taste, hang with me because there's a point:
"OK – let’s get this out first – you’re a star. You’re trolling the web for ways to get better at the Talent game and interact – that’s why you’re here. As Eddie Vedder once said – “This is not for you.” Then again maybe it is.
Tim Sackett and I did a presentation at SHRM. It had a fancy title about influence, but I’ve presented the deck elsewhere as “How to Raise Your HR Game by Thinking Like a Money Hungry VP of Sales”. Which is not to hate on sales pros – it’s actually to push some love their way. HR pros (and recruiters) can learn a lot from how a sales pro uses negotiation tactics to get to “yes”.
Topic/problem number one in the presentation is the following:
“Dealing with Unrealistic Expectations”
The way a sales pro would deal with this?
“Make sure to deliver the first strike in any negotiation.”
I went on in the post to outline a reasonable way that an HR leadership candidate who approached me after the presentation could deliver a first strike with a company she was doing a final interview with. As luck would have it, the recruiter and the company had made no effort to block and tackle where she needed to be related to $$$. Check out that advice here.
One additional thought on that - a commenter on the post pitched in that a good way to approach this type of negotiation was with ranges. Here's what he said, then I'll give my 2 cents after the block:
"I have to disagree about the First Punch theory. Clearly a candidate has to know up front what he/she needs to earn in order to meet the financial demands of his/her life as well and warrant a move or transition. In addition, if there is going to be a discrepancy, it’s important to be prepared. However, in an article I wrote recently, I discussed the benefits of leaving the number discussion in the hands of those hiring. I’m sure that makes it seem like they have all the power, however, that is untrue.
If a candidate does the work up front that I suggested- researching comps, calculate our “3 Numbers” and, if asked for a preferred salary, offer a range. Companies tend to allow for 10-20% wiggle room when negotiating. Offering a range allows for both sides to feel they are getting their needs met. And if negotiations are necessary, dialogue is possible when no one is married to a specific number."
So - I agree with the merit of using ranges when talking about salary, but let's make sure we're honest. If you use a range to communicate salary to a candidate, which number in the range does the candidate hear? The highest one.
If you use a range as a candidate to communicate what salary it would take to land you to an employer, what number does the employer hear? The bottom of the range +2K. Ranges are effective at times, but understand the game and the psychology that's in play.
Back to the point of the original FOT post. Find a way to strike first in the negotiation, whether you're a candidate or an employer. He who gets his number out first in a classy, professional way....usually wins.