Top negotiation mistakes

Negotiation mistakes

Once you’ve successfully recruited the perfect candidate, the next, often difficult, step of the process is drawing up a good contract that suits both parties. If you’re not careful, all the hard work you’ve put into the recruitment, interview and selection process can unravel at the last minute as negotiations break down.

However, as they say, forewarned is forearmed. We’ve spoken to two of the directors from agency Communicate Recruitment Solution to find some of the top mistakes that are all too easy to make during this tricky task. Take a look at what they are to help you avoid making the same negotiation mistakes.

Before you start…

It’s worth remembering who holds the cards when entering into a negotiation. Richard Lindsay, Director of Interim Commerce & Industry Finance at Communicate points out, “If the candidate is particularly good and has other offers on the table, the candidate has more leverage. Equally, if the client has more candidate options, in the mix or candidate supply with the required skills is quite heavy, the client would be happier to ruthlessly walk away from negotiations.”

Mistake: Being an overbearing negotiator

Sometimes, clients don’t want to enter into a negotiation at all, they’ve set out the terms of employment and believe them to be final. Going in with an aggressive, bullying attitude is unlikely to change their mind. Richard Lindsay says, “Sometimes recruitment budgets are fixed and overbearing consultants who are essentially trying to get blood from a stone quickly lose all credibility.”


Mistake: Playing employers off against each other

It can be tempting, when faced with a highly employable candidate, to try to get the best deal by playing a game of face-off with different employers. This rarely works, especially at a time when there are far more candidates than vacancies, and can leave everybody involved, especially you and the candidate, with red faces.

What’s potentially worse, is ruining a relationship with a lucrative employer. Stacey Nicholl, Director of Banking and Financial Services at Communicate says, “Remember that you are building a long term relationship. Don’t use the negotiation as an opportunity to prove you can secure everything your candidate wishes if it is to the detriment of your relationship with the employer.”


Mistake: Over-promising to candidates

When faced with the pressure of filling a position, it can be tempting to oversell to the candidate. But, if he or she isn’t happy, they may end up walking away from the job after only a few weeks causing you to lose your hard-earned fee.

Instead, it’s crucial to be as upfront as soon as possible. One absolutely crucial area to avoid mis-selling is salary. Don’t offer a candidate chasing a higher salary than is available under the mistaken belief that you’ll be able to negotiate your way out of it, it’s a waste of everybody’s time.

Richard Lindsay says, “Candidates must be prepared to consider the role at the prescribed salary on offer at the very beginning. If they’re not interested, help them look at other things and don’t get involved with this. You must manage expectations.”


Mistake: Not picking your battles

A good recruitment agent will know which elements of a contract are absolutely non-negotiable, and which have some room for manoeuvre. This can be the difference between keeping both the client and the employee happy, and everybody falling out.

Richard Lindsay says, “Negotiations aren’t enjoyable for clients and some take offence by being placed in the situation. Don’t damage your relationships by entering into negotiations that you could otherwise avoid.”

Stacey Nicholl agrees, “Fight hard for what you believe is deserved, but understand when enough is enough. Every negotiation should be a step towards securing future work with the business in question.”


Mistake: Pulling out all the ‘tricks’ to get what you want

It’s always crucial to be honest, whether you’re dealing with a client or a potential candidate. Yes, you want to deliver for the candidate, but remember who is paying your fee.

Richard Lindsay says, “Don’t manufacture reasons why the client should increase the salary. It will all come out in the wash when the candidate actually starts and the client quizzes the candidate on site without your control. You could quickly become famed for your dubious tactics.”



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