Later on this week we’ll be doing a series of articles for Workforce Recruiting, most of which deal with the topic of pending pay equity legislation like the Paycheck Fairness Act.
I know that sounds boring, but it’s not. Here’s why – the focus of most of those articles is how candidates who have better negotiating skills tend to end up with higher salaries than equally qualified candidates who refuse to negotiate. Is that good or bad?
Regardless of your opinion, my ears perked up when I heard this last week:
Me – Sally (candidate in play) has another offer, so we need to think about that before we make ours.
Rick (name changed, perhaps gender changed to protect the ID of the manager) – Kris, I’m not going to tolerate a lot of negotiating on this one.
Me – OK… It’s been a little while since we last talked to her and she was obviously on the market, so it’s not surprising that she’s been offered elsewhere.
Rick – Fine, I’m just not going to play a lot of games.
Me – Cool. Let’s talk about the base, we’re 10K short from the competing offer. What do you want to do?
Rick – Hold tight. I’m not going to bring her in at a higher rate than my incumbents.
Me – I understand that and think that’s a good call. If you budge 5K, the probability of closing this one goes up from about 30% to about 70%.
Rick – No dice. With this position, she can make it up on the incentive pay. She can pull herself up via her performance.
ME – OK, we’ll move it forward – not likely to close this one, however…
I run down that scenario for you for the following reasons – even though legislation like the Paycheck Fairness Act is being proposed due to equity issues caused by effective candidate negotiators getting more $$$ for the same job, I run into a lot of managers who take it personally when a candidate wants to negotiate.
It’s personal to them. Doesn’t matter what the candidate’s gender, race, national origin or zodiac sign is, they REF– USE to consider negotiation, unless I put their arm behind their back like Tony Soprano. Telling them the job will remain open for an additional 60 days seems to get their attention.
For all the problems that can be caused by compensation equity issues, it makes me wonder if bigger problems are caused by companies and managers who refuse to negotiate. After all, the same approach can spill over from recruitment into performance management and merit pay.
If you’ve ever been insulted by a candidate asking for more, you might be a manager with control issues – or pride yourself on being an effective negotiator.
Talent be dammed!
Kris Dunn is a Partner and CHRO at Kinetix, a national RPO firm for growth companies headquartered in Atlanta. He’s also the founder Fistful of Talent (founded in 2008) and The HR Capitalist (2007) – and has written over 70 feature columns at Workforce Management magazine. Prior to his investment at Kinetix, Kris served in HR leadership roles at DAXKO, Charter and Cingular. In his spare time, KD hits the road as a speaker and gives the world what it needs – pop culture references linked to Human Capital street smarts.