The real job of a used car salesperson is to take as much money out of your pocket as possible in order to pad their own. Car salesmen are experts at schmoozing you, using tactics that are less then honorable. Remarkably, I have seen some hiring managers and even recruiters using the same techniques.
Starting with the haggling. A car salesman will haggle by showing you this abnormally ridiculous price for the car. You’re supposed to say, “That’s horrible, I won’t pay that!” at which point they go into the back room to talk to their “manager” before coming back with a less ridiculous offer. This happens 5 or six times before you walk out having only overpaid by about $5k.
The recruiter will haggle by lowballing.
“Here’s your offer!”
“That’s $15,000 less than what I asked for. I won’t take that.”
“Okay, fine…here’s $5k more…and, free parking!”
I was on a panel once speaking about finding jobs in the game industry. One of my peers from another company told the crowd, “Never accept the first offer because the company will never make their best offer first.”
I think a company should always make their best offer first. I think lowballing is a quick path to recruiting failure. This isn’t a flea market. And, it’s not Auto Trader. If my company says it pays you based on your skill and experience, I need to pay you according to that criteria. That’s not to say we can’t still negotiate. But, this is a horrible time to start creating hard feelings from someone who should be really excited about starting a new life chapter. There is an etiquette that goes into making job offers, says Mario Laudi at Red Canary.
Avoiding lowballing also includes candidates who ask for less money. If a programmer tells me he wants to make $15/hour and I know darn well our company pays $20/hour for what he does, I should be offering the $20 and feeling really good about myself for making the dude so happy (Low numbers used cuz I hate math). This is also a great way to ensure referrals.
Good recruiters are about more than just putting butts in seats. We should also be about the relationship. An employee that comes in happy could be your company’s next recruiter. Why start things out with a testy exchange over dollars and cents if you don’t have to. I’m not a salesman. Cheerleader, maybe. Salesman, no.