A week or two ago, I riffed that Your Pay Is Market-Based - With or Without Ranges. My point - and there was one - was that you can't get caught up in salary ranges when making an offer. It's good to know the minimum and maximum of the range, but that has ZERO to do with the $$ a candidate will accept. From my earlier post, to get you warmed up:
"Say it with me - the market rate for any candidate is the $$ amount they will accept. They've got info about what they are worth, you've got info about what they are worth. When it all comes down to it, ranges give guidance, but you can't rely on the extremes in the offer process. You use the range to close business.
The market rate for any candidate is the $$ amount they will accept. Everything else is noise...
So, if you have a candidate who grudgingly accepts a fair offer, don't feel bad. Adam Smith would say the acceptance, even with the static, is the free market at work."
Capitalist Reader and blogging cohort Totally Consumed pitched in with the following comment on dealing with candidates who aren't happy with your offer:
"I would also recommend that if you have a candidate who grudgingly accepts a fair offer and gripes openly and loudly about it throughout the offer negotiations - rescind the offer. This candidate will only cause you problems in the long run."
I agree with TC and feel like most hiring managers and HR pros don't fully understand all their rights when it comes to pulling an offer. The best example I can give you is this: Let's say that a candidate is negative about the specs of your offer and counters, or simply says that he/she needs more.
Can you pull the offer at that point and walk away? The answer is yes, but most hiring managers I interact with feel hopelessly constricted.
The reality is that you can pull your offer at any point you need to before it's accepted. The majority of the time you don't, under these circumstances, because you want to work it out and believe it can be accomplished, and that's fine.
But. for the offer that suddenly feels wrong, based on the candidates reaction, don't be afraid to walk, especially if you have a solid #2. It's your right to do so, so don't feel bad or blink if that's in everyone's best interests...