The Employer’s Quest: The Employee at the Right Salary

Found the right candidate? Now comes the money talk.

The ideal person for your open position is sitting across from you. They’ve met your requirements and you’ve met theirs; the only thing left to discuss is salary. How do you offer them enough to entice them to sign on, without blowing your budget?

Show them your cards

Before beginning salary negotiations, your potential new employee should have as much information as possible on the position, the company, and the people. While it’s somewhat common to discuss compensation in an initial interview, that’s usually premature.



During those early talks, you may not yet know the candidate’s worth, and he or she may not know the full extent of the job. A lower offer might seem acceptable until they realize the amount of travel involved; conversely, if they quote a high salary and then fall in love with the company, position, or project, you may have already ruled them unaffordable. Do your best to defer the conversation until you are both adequately informed.

Investigate the climate

As the hiring manager, you’re responsible for knowing what the position is worth, what similar positions pay, and how much you are willing to spend for the potential benefits of this new employee. It’s not practical or fair to base your offer on what the candidate has been earning; in a fluctuating job market where people change careers often, previous salary is an unreliable predictor of worth.

At the same time, a prospective employee should know his or her own worth and not be afraid to ask for it. Not only does this simplify the interview process, but it also implies that they are responsible and bold when necessary, which are traits that will serve them well in any position. By noting the underlying attitude with which someone approaches the salary conversation, you can gain even more insight into whether they are right for the job.

Start the conversation

Ask the job candidate what salary range they are looking for in a new position. Some people will answer quickly and will have a set range in mind. Others will ask, “What have you budgeted for the position?” That’s a fair question. You can either answer that question or bounce it back to the job candidate by saying, “I will be happy to share what we have budgeted for the position, but based on your income needs and what you’ve learned about the job so far, what are you looking for?” This will usually elicit a response from the candidate. Only the most savvy job seekers will comfortably defer this direct line of questioning. Regardless of who states a suggested salary first, throwing out that first number is just the beginning of the discussion, unless the salary figures are wildly different. If both parties are interested in making the job match work, they can typically craft a suitable compensation package.

Welcome to the company

When the right candidate arrives, you’ll be ready to agree on a salary that suits both of you. Leverage connections to your advantage, share all your information, do some research, and you’ll be able to negotiate with ease. After the final handshake, prepare to welcome your newest employee.

PsychPros specializes in recruiting the best candidates for the behavioral health and social service fields. Contact us today for more information.


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