I’m not sure anyone actually ever coached or taught me “how” to make a job offer. I’ve taken my own experiences of being offered jobs, coupled with what just makes sheer sense to me, and have come up with this approach: talk about the role, discuss why everyone is excited and how this is going to be a great career move… and then comes the discussion on money. I always save that for last. If I know I can close the deal easily, I’ll dive right in and give the figure, launch into a schpiel on our bonus program, and then hit them with benefits. I drive hard, put the pedal to the metal and quickly close the deal. That usually works well for me.
For candidates where salary might be a tougher negotiation, I usually start out with a little bitty on our ranges and how we generally determine compensation. For others, I’ll include a discussion of what the industry standard is and how our offer compares. I think a few times, I have even come flat out and said that we’re not going to be able to meet what they were expecting and then launch into where I can take them, what the earning potential might be long term and why their expectations might not be in alignment with our compensation structure. Essentially, I talk ranges, goals, rationale, and our intent.
I’ll also go for an emotional connection a la Paul Herbert in hard-to-close deals where I’ll emphasize motivation, the impact they can have (yes, you can help to change the world!) and that coming to work for my firm can’t be about the money – they have to want this role and I heavily emphasize the intangible benefits. And thankfully, I’ve actually never had a job turned down because of money, including when I’ve asked people to take pay cuts… but that’s not to say that I’m 100% confident when making offers. I actually hate talking about money and dread that part of the discussion.
I suspect some of the issues in the study Ann sites where most/many/all employees don’t know or understand the salary ranges for their positions and how base pay increases were determined could have linkages to how and what is communicated when first bringing an individual into an organization. My firm also does a compensation orientation session for new staff so they understand our pay philosophy and compensation structure. Another best practice, if I’m to toot the horn for my wonderful HR team and leadership. What are other folks doing though? Are there other best practices to share out there? I’m eager to hear what you’ve got up your sleeves.
Jessica Lee is a VP of TA at Marriott International where she leads a team that enables the company to think big, broad and boldly about all things talent acquisition and in effect, keeps them relevant and ahead of the curve in how they attract and acquire top talent. Don’t be fooled by that fancy pants title and description though, she’s still an everyday HR gal in the trenches at the core. SPHR certified, a decade and a half into trench HR life… she can whip up a corrective action plan or source for your purple squirrel in a heartbeat.