OK – let’s get this out first – you’re a star. You’re trolling the web for ways to get better at the Talent game and interact – that’s why you’re here. As Eddie Vedder once said – “This is not for you.” Then again maybe it is.
Tim Sackett and I did a presentation at SHRM. It had a fancy title about influence, but I’ve presented the deck elsewhere as “How to Raise Your HR Game by Thinking Like a Money Hungry VP of Sales”. Which is not to hate on sales pros – it’s actually to push some love their way. HR pros (and recruiters) can learn a lot from how a sales pro uses negotiation tactics to get to “yes”.
Topic number one in the presentation is the following:
“Dealing with Unrealistic Expectations”
The way a sales pro would deal with this?
“Make sure to deliver the first strike in any negotiation.”
Here’s a great example of how it works. One of many post session conversations was with an HR pro who was interviewing for another job. Let’s call her Sally. Sally was flying out the next day for a final interview for a mid-level, HR spot. Here are some Sally specs on the job:
-Sally makes 95K. She’s disclosed that to the company and the recruiter.
-The recruiter in question put her up for the job, and told her the range was 110-150K for the job.
-She’s been through long phone interviews with the recruiters and 2 Skype interviews with the remote company.
-No one has boxed her in on what it’s going to take ($$$) to get her to uproot her family, leave her current job and make the move.
-Sally’s number she wants from the job is 135K.
So – Sally came up to me after the preso and wanted to know how to use the first strike negotiation tactic to get as close to her number as she could. PS – her name’s not Sally. Probably not even the right gender. You can talk to me confidentially…
But before I get to that, here’s the big problem. Sally hears the range and thinks – “I’ll do that for 135K”. The employer has to have heard what Sally’s making and thought – “we can get that done for 110-120K. ”
And it all could have been avoided with the recruiter bucking up and framing the expectation with a first strike – “Hey Sally, based on where you’re at in your career, if you end up being the right candidate for this job, the offer’s likely to come in somewhere in the 110-120K range. If we get to the end of the process, will that type of offer work for you?”
Boom. Expectation managed. Candidate framed nicely and no risk of being embarrassed as a recruiter when the candidate tells the remote company on the big interview day that she needs 135K or 140K.
No – you’re right. CEOs never lose their mind and take it as a personal affront when candidates like Sally tell them they need a 45-50% increase on the final 8 hour interview day.
But back to Sally – how does she use the first strike negotiation tactic for herself at this stage in the process? Well – she’s late in the game, so she needs to tread carefully. I advised her to play the game in the interview, and in a late stage in the day with the CEO, break out the following, “So Bob – I understand the range for this position is 110-150K and you know I’m at 95K. What do you need to know about me to know what type of offer I would accept – what I’m thinking, what it’s going to take to get me to move my family, leave Atlanta for a much smaller town, etc. Just want to be totally transparent with you so there aren’t any surprises, if I’m your candidate and we get to the offer stage.”
For the mortal CEO, he’s going to let her get the number out first.
Godspeed Sally. Everyone would have been a lot better served if money was discussed without fear and with intent to close earlier in the process.