“You call that hagglin’?” – on salaries and negotiation

For anyone who has seen the movie “Life of Brian,” the haggle scene has to be one of the funniest: Life of Brian – Haggle

At the end of the recruitment process, there is the inevitable offer. Do companies ‘lowball’ (ie offer less to see what they can get away with) candidates in a tough economy? Are all offers final? Is negotiation, or haggling, part and parcel of the process?

This is an area where working with a recruiter is a huge advantage. One of MANY, of course!! It’s great to have an intermediary to speak on your behalf and talk directly to the company about the specifics of an offer. In our experience, the majority of offers which are tabled are fair. A good recruiter will find out what your exact package is and where your expectations lie, as they are sending your CV to the company. We do this with all candidates, in order to remove any ambiguity which may exist when candidates get to this final stage of the process.

However, some companies will try to offer less in order to grab a bargain as it were. Some almost expect a haggle! They can view this as a sign of what kind of candidate they are dealing with: if a candidate can’t negotiate now then how will they perform in high-pressure situations with stakeholder / suppliers / buyers etc?

Care is needed in this process, however. Candidates can’t seem overly hungry or greedy, so balance is key. The specifics of the contract must be examined and questioned if there are any issues. This also demonstrates that the candidate is detailed-orientated and careful. Any approaches made regarding salary must be considered and well thought-out. Larger companies tend to have tight salary bands, outside of which there may be no negotiation. A bit like Arsenal FC a few years ago! Smaller companies may have more flexibility, but may also be more cost conscious.

Know what you’re worth, and if you need to haggle to get there, haggle!

– Brian (brian.c at lifescience.ie)