Tips to Extend a Job Offer and Handle Negotiations

Finding the right talent for an open position can evoke a sense of relief, but many managers may still have butterflies in their stomach until the candidate’s decision to join is solidified.

Before the deal is set in stone, managers must extend an offer and handle salary negotiations. On the one hand, it’s important to avoid overpaying for new talent; on the other, managers don’t want to lose highly qualified candidates because of contentious salary negotiations.

Here are some steps that can help:

Research: Today’s job seekers take full advantage of the Internet to know their market value. Hiring managers need to be just as prepared by spending the time to research compensation trends to ensure their offers are competitive with similar positions at other firms. Salary surveys and professional association and government reports can be useful resources.

Be Personal: Managers should schedule a face-to-face meeting to present the offer. This gives the opportunity to discuss the finer points and to answer questions from candidates. It also allows leaders to sell applicants on the benefits of joining the company. For instance, they can talk about unique perks or the employee-friendly work environment.

Have a flexible mindset: Even if managers do their research and make a competitive offer, in some cases candidates may still ask for a higher amount. If the company isn’t able to match a promising contender’s salary expectations, there is still a chance of finalizing a deal.

Often, if a company can’t meet the salary needs of a job seeker, there are ways to bolster other aspects of the compensation package. For instance, the offer might be improved by providing additional time off, a performance-based bonus after a specific period of time or flexible work hours. Many applicants will overlook a lower salary if concessions are made in other areas.

Know when it won’t work out: While managers should have a flexible mindset entering negotiations, they need to be careful not to go overboard attempting to secure top candidates. One point to bear in mind: if they exceed already established pay ranges, current employees might find out and the morale of others may be damaged if they learn a new hire is earning more than they are.

If applicants are hesitant to accept an offer, managers should inquire about the source of the problem and make reasonable adjustments. If candidates truly are reluctant to join the team, however, it’s better to move on.

Put it in writing: If a successful negotiation is achieved, the details should be finalized in a formal agreement. This document should include the position title, responsibilities, compensation and any special arrangements, such as a six-month bonus or flex hours. This will ensure everyone is in agreement with the employment deal.

Provide ongoing support: Next, managers should make an extra effort to welcome new employees into the group via an effective on-boarding process. On-boarding goes beyond traditional orientation programs and focuses not only on helping recent hires assimilate into the organization, but also ensures their success in the initial weeks and months. On-boarding is typically related to training, scheduled milestones, mentoring programs and interactive meetings where people can ask questions about key priorities.

Managers shouldn’t wait until the first day of work to start on-boarding new hires; instead, they should send out as much information as they can about the company and its culture. It’s also a good idea to call people prior to their starting date to be sure they have any additional details they need before joining the team. This will help ensure the hiring process runs smoothly from start to finish.

Robert Hosking is executive director of OfficeTeam, a staffing service specializing in the temporary placement of highly skilled administrative and office support professionals. He can be reached at