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Working Out Salary Offers & Negotiation

Once you've found your perfect recruit after a long-winded recruitment process, it's time to start salary negotiations.

If you're lucky, your new hire won't negotiate at all. The latest research from the US suggests less than 40% of candidates ask for more than advertised, and it's likely even fewer Brits would do the same, given our ingrained hatred of haggling.

Perhaps, however, we're just better at coming up with the right salary offer in the first place? Read on to see how you can improve your tactics to ensure that you secure your chosen candidate.

What's the big deal about getting the salary offer right?

Well, the obvious answer is you don't want your ideal candidate to walk away before you've even had a chance to negotiate. However, it's also down to trust and expectation.

After maybe one, but probably at least two interview stages, they've undoubtedly told you what their previous salary was and what their expectations are now. You've also probably outlined the salary bracket applicable to the role by this point.

Money is emotive to both parties, and you only get one chance to get it right. So, to come up with something much lower than discussed or advertised, aka 'lowballing', smacks of an underhand, cheap budget grab and will leave the candidate feeling devalued. Therefore, don't be surprised when your offer is declined, and they walk away and block your number forever.

It just makes your organisation look amateurish, and if the candidate does walk away, it's just the sort of story that gets passed around. You don't want to be the company with a reputation for trying to 'stitch up' new staff.

The flip side of the coin is not to offer too much. While your new hire will no doubt be thrilled, you're creating three problems down the line:

Firstly - you're overspending your budget;

Secondly - you're leaving little room for the candidate to grow into the role and receive raises over the coming years, and

Thirdly - you risk colleagues finding out about this new pay level – and demanding a pay rise themselves. Before you know it, you could have a full-scale pay revolt on your hands.

What factors should determine your initial salary offer?

You'll likely have similar roles, or 'grades', already within your organisation, so you'll have a good starting point. But there are other factors you can look at to ensure you are offering a fair deal:

  • Ready availability or otherwise of the skills you're after
  • Previous career progress and experience of your chosen candidate. They may be well above comparable workers
  • The fair market rate for your industry
  • The fair market rate for your geographic area
  • Current economic climate within your industry or region

Working out bonus packages to offer

Bonuses will give you some wiggle room when it comes to salary negotiation. If you have a discretionary bonus scheme, one that does not appear in a contract, then you can dangle this 'carrot' as a way of suggesting your new hire might be able to top up their take-home pay at the end of the year. Or you may have a non-discretionary scheme written into the contract, but the 'carrot' might be just as 'juicy'.

In sales roles, it is expected that a significant proportion of an employee's take-home pay is commission. The commission scheme is often based on individual and team/company-wide performance. How you present the overall earning potential at this point might also be enough to persuade your potential recruit to sign along the dotted line. This article explains more about creating commission schemes and the 'golden rules' that you must follow.

If you're still at an impasse, does your business allow discretion on holiday days? Could you offer the candidate a clear, fast-tracked career path to a high-paid promotion within a set time… providing they proved themselves, of course. It could be that giving something as simple as formal training/qualifications or flexible working might do the trick. However, you'll need to guard against the whole workforce finding out and demanding the same treatment and perks.

Of course, your ideal solution is that you already have a pay bracket in mind, one agreed with the management, and just increasing the offer a little, still within the top bracket, is enough to seal the deal.

Be prepared to walk away

As a hiring manager, the last thing you want to do is lose your target and start the recruitment process all over again. Maybe you had a second choice, but even having to go crawling back to them is not without its own issues. However, you can't be held hostage, and every role has its pay cap. If you're simply not getting your candidate to see sense, be prepared to walk away.

How do you offer a salary?

Remember that many new recruits WON'T try and negotiate! Once you've agreed verbally, then make the formal written offer, together with the package clearly laid out, with the basic wage, commission structure (and how it works), bonus scheme (if applicable), pension, holidays etc.

The job offer should also mention the position, the line manager's name to whom the recruit will report, and other terms and conditions of employment.

And then, finally, you'll get their signature and agree on a starting date!

Hopefully, you will have negotiated yourselves into a win-win situation, with both sides of the salary negotiation looking forward to beginning a mutually beneficial and long-term relationship. If you both acted professionally, then it bodes well for the future.

Published: 19th August 2018

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Date published: 29th February 2024

A photo of Sophie Jones, Aaron Wallis Sales Recruitment

About the author

Sophie Jones

Sophie is an Associate Director at Aaron Wallis, and her main focus is to help clients find the best sales talent while ensuring that candidates secure the best professional fit. Sophie doesn't just fill vacancies; she strives to understand her clients' business goals, and she identifies candidates who will not only excel in the role but also contribute to the company's long-term success. Maintaining open communication is crucial, and Sophie ensures that clients are well-informed throughout the recruitment process, addressing any concerns and ensuring that expectations are met. She's a trusted advisor, and her ability to build bridges, solve problems, and advocate for success makes her an invaluable asset in the World of sales recruitment.

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I could not suggest anything I would like you to do better. The service you provided materially exceeded my expectations. I would especially like to commend Simon Bonner; he is easily the best recruitment consultant I have ever dealt with. I particularly valued his advice and guidance throughout the recruitment process. 

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Simon was knowledgeable on his clients history, background and what their requirements were and he worked around time zones, holidays and a pandemic to get the right result.

J. Tooze, Candidate

George Humphries was a complete professional at every point, from our first phone conversation to his “good luck tomorrow” text on Sunday before I started in my new role.

E. Fry, Candidate

Aaron Wallis Sales Recruitment are a very friendly and professional recruitment organisation who listen to your needs, work with you and act on your behalf which sets them apart from many of their competitors who in my experience are willing to throw anything at you. We discussed my history, my preferences and my wishes - one opportunity was introduced. It was perfect. I start at the end of June.

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M. Wyer, Candidate

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J. McGrattan, Candidate

Less than two weeks after joining Aaron Wallis I was offered my new job. I got a £10,000 rise in my basic salary, car allowance, a laptop and many other perks, which will help to further my career. I definitely would not have found my dream job without the help of Aaron Wallis.

C. Hoy, Candidate

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Fantastic service, helped me find my ideal job quickly and smoothly. Would highly recommend them.

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R. Houston, Candidate

Wanted to say a huge thank you to Simon Bonner who has just helped me secure my new role. He was one of the most professional recruiters I have ever worked with.

J. Marcinkiewicz, Candidate

I would highly recommend thank you to Darren for helping me secure my new job role! Excellent service all round!

G. Thompson, Candidate

When talking with Simon you felt relaxed cared to help you find a position that suited your needs

D. Pinder, Candidate

Excellent experience. Knowledgeable staff and really went the extra mile. Found my ideal position and I couldn't be happier. Special shout out to Sam and George: who made the process smooth and easy for me. Highly recommend.

K. Pearce, Candidate

Aaron Wallis (and in particular Rob Scott) have been fantastic throughout the recruitment process, and even a few months down the line, still continues to care. Rob clearly cares about each individual and has a wealth of knowledge and expertise, which shows in the work he does. Each candidate is not just a number, and the support received from Aaron Wallis has helped me get a career which I truly enjoy.

M. White, Candidate 

Perfect from start to finish. Simon deserves a shout out. Best recruiter there is. If you need a job, this guy will get you one. He's like the super man of recruiters. Top man, can't recommend him enough.

M. Crisp, Candidate

A great recruitment company to work with. Excellent experience with Aaron Wallis through the entire recruitment process. The team was really professional and extremely helpful. Darren was a pleasure to work with. He was friendly, supportive and gave me great advice. Thank you very much!

A. Bauchet, Candidate

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N. Leney, Candidate

Very good advice and support was given during the course of the interviewing process. Potential job seekers would be well advised to use this company whilst looking for their new career.

R. Speakman, Candidate

Very polite and friendly and was very helpful finding me my next new role.

K. Craggs, Candidate

Aaron Wallis is an outstanding recruitment agency specialising in high calibre sales positions. I was working directly with Darren Dewrance who went above and beyond my expectations in sourcing me my perfect role. I was kept in regular communication with Darren and he worked extremely hard to secure my dream job. Highly recommended and Thanks Darren for all your expertise and hard work.

R. Sealy, Candidate

Fantastic customer service, communication was brilliant, happy polite people to talk to, made everything a lot easier and smoother. Thank you for all your help getting me back in the work force, Keep up the good work :-)

K. Everitt, Candidate

I can honestly say that the time and expertise you gave me was way beyond any other recruitment consultant I dealt with. You are a rarity in your industry.

S. Akers, Candidate

I had the absolute pleasure of working with George Humphries on finding a placement best suitable for me.

A. Van Der Mescht, Candidate

Darren at Aaron Wallis was really encouraging and helpful. He was very responsive and regularly made phone calls to explain the job opportunities available, and guided me through the application process.

A. Brown, Candidate

Good swift process with Aaron Wallis, informative regarding the role and the process was moved at a good pace with healthy interaction. Would recommend them to anyone pursuing a change.

S. Bartlett, Candidate

Sophie contacted me about a role explained the details clearly and made sure I was ready for the interview. She kept in touch every step of the way till I started the job. Thank you Sophie for a great experience.

S. Powell, Candidate

Excellent service, very professional and friendly, would and have, recommended Aaron Wallis.

E. Heley, Candidate

The Recruitment agent I used, Simon, was extremely helpful and really went the extra mile to ensure all of my questions were answered, and that I felt as comfortable and prepared as possible. Very professional company and would definitely recommend to others. Thank you Aaron Wallis!

A. Callaby, Candidate

I had a very good experience with Aaron Wallis. The company itself is offering great content for all things related to the hiring process. I definitely recommend.

J. Ostermeier, Candidate

I had a great experience. Helped me every step of the way to get my new job. Sophie was very polite, kind and helpful!

J. Parnham, Candidate

Sophie has been fantastic and always so attentive, highly recommend.

T. Ashbourne, Candidate

I have to say using Aaron Wallis Recruitment has been nothing but an absolute pleasure. I've used many agencies over the years as the client and the candidate and its not always been a pleasurable experience!

L. Knowles, Candidate

The most professional recruitment agency I've ever worked with. Robert Scott was extremely proactive and send me a detailed briefing before each interview, ensuring I was well prepared.

D. Bermant, Candidate

The staff at Aaron Wallis were fantastic. Throughout the process, they maintained excellent communication and I always knew where I stood.

M. Owusu, Candidate

Sophie helped me secure a new role I have been searching for. She took her time to explain clear and concisely all I needed to succeed at the interview stage. Thanks again Sophie!

O. Oladejo, Candidate

Managed to get me placed within a week! Really friendly and easy to deal with. Always available for a call and my biggest challenge was I was in work at the time I was looking for my next opportunity (which is stressful) but Sam made that easy.

P. Fitzsimons, Candidate

The detail put into the preparation for interviews and the detail of the job description was first class. Rob and Simon in particular are amongst the best I've ever dealt with.

K. Peacock, Candidate

The service provided by Aaron Wallis has been just great. I was constantly informed about what was going on with the process interview and the agent has always been supportive and kind to me.

L. Colagrossi, Candidate

For anyone looking for work, I can't recommend Aaron Wallis highly enough.

C. Rockliffe, Candidate

George is a fantastic recruitment agent and provides a great service. It was a pleasure I thoroughly recommend George to anyone.

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