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Negotiation Technique 236: "I'm Not Going to Tolerate a Lot of Negotiation"

I'm on the record as saying that HR pros need to be better negotiators.  And effective negotiation comes with some common features, deployed as situations warrant, including the following:
 
-Bluster
-Fake astonishment
-Walking away and hoping they stop you
-Coming back after walking away with a Colombo move one day later
-Getting your number out first
-Knowing when the next person to speak loses
-etc, etc.
 
The biggest skill HR pros who know how to negotiate have is knowing which skill to use when.  But knowing what techniques are available is important as well, so I'm going to use this post to add a technique to your game.
 
I call it the "I'm not going to tolerate a lot of negotiation" framing of a an offer.
 
Deploying this technique, which I'll call the "don't try to counter me" strategy, is pretty simple.
 
You make an offer.  Hopefully that offer is fair and you have something that the other person wants, like employment.  So you make an offer of employment and tell the candidate that you're leading with your best offer, and that you're "not really looking to negotiate".
 
It's part bluster and part hardball.  You're telling the candidate the offer is fair and there's a risk that you might walk away and say no to any counter, effectively ending the negotiation.
 
Will you negotiate?  Maybe.  Maybe not.  Only the shadow knows.
 
The interesting part about this technique is that if the role in question requires negotiation, you actually should want the person receiving the offer to counter you.  You still might be aggravated by that, but maybe you shouldn't hire someone who fades away and says, "thank you for the strong offer, Ma'am."
 
How's the Groucho Marx quote go?  "I wouldn't belong to a club that would have me as a member."
 
Well, Groucho, I wouldn't want to hire you if you would accept this offer.
 
Deep.

Comments

Matt

What a terribly stupid and bullshit position to take. I am a capitalist myself (exceedingly so) and also super competitive and a huge sports lover like yourself. (now with the disclaimers at of the way so you can't attack me but only respond to the actual argument).

For a senior hire ($150k + or multiple points of equity in a company) I am ok with your answer, because yes, at that level they have enough overall clout to "walk away" from your offer and its a "real negotiation". With an average level hire (whether 30k or 100k non exec) there is an INSANE power imbalance in your favor as an employer (or HR rep) for the employer and you are really just using your power advantage capriciously and to a point where the employee (prospective) doesn't know what you want ...

If i remember correct you have complained multiple times about people "job hopping" and not being loyal to a company, but dude, if your first act is being a complete ass leveraging your power against someone you have way more of than, then hell yes they should leave ship as soon as possible.

KD

Matt -

Chill. Read the end of my post, where I say this technique might backfire and end up with you NOT having the candidate you want.

Easy there...

KD

Matt

Where does your post say that? Perhaps I am being dense? The groucho marx quote doesn't seem to say that.. i don't think.

I get that my comment was rantish (no doubt), but I just think it is crazy to start a working relationship that you don't want to be hostile by exercising excess positional power? Thoughts?

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