What Should You Do When A Candidate Asks For More Money After A Job Offer Is Already Made?

A note in a LinkedIn Group led me to answer the question of what to do when candidates ask for more money.  It's important to note here that I have no problem with candidates asking for, and receiving more money.  It's my job as the recruiter to understand that before the offer is made.  If it does happen, I've already erred, and now have to fix it. 

Here's how to go about doing that. 

Ask yourself why they did it.

1) They figure this was the best time. 

Many candidates are taught to ask for more, under the idea that they are to wait until they have maximum power.  Your moment of maximum power is actually between the verbal and written offer, but most don't know that, and don't think of it until something is in their hand (they don't realize that paperwork puts restrictions on managers.  The more there is, the harder to get it changed, and the worse the manager looks.  Thus, pre-written offer is the maximum power, because it doesn't cost the manager political capital to acquiesce).  Many candidates are also just negotiators who believe there is no harm in asking.  If either of these is the case, you have an easier road to travel. Figure out if you can get more money, or if it's worth asking, and give them a smile and a raise. 

2) They want to see how far they can push you. 

Some candidates are just contemptuous of recruiters in general, and they figure they'll put the screws to you because they can - those people won't stick around, and they're like a poison when they are in the company. If it's not a must-have hire, ask yourself which would be worse, dealing with a manager after losing a candidate, or asking for more money.  This question has more to do with how much power you have in the company, but if a candidate is putting it on you to solve their problem, you need to be prepared to punch back.


Fear and vagueness are your enemies here.  What you have is a situation where the jobseeker is counting on you to cower in fear and go back to the manager, because they don't respect your authority to end the process.  To combat that, you need to get specific, and address the issue as a valued partner in the discussion.

Speak to the candidate and ask them why they waited to bring this up. Most of the time they'll say,

"the job is different than they were led to believe."

That's a good answer, so pin them to it.  Ask them in what way the job is different then the description, your interview, and the interview with the manager.  Get them to give you specifics of why they believe it is more complex. Get them to write it down.  Expain that you're going to have to go back to the manager with these specifics to determine if it warrants a raise.

Ask them when they begin to believe the position was different than advertised, and at what point they knew they wouldn't take it for the salary offered.  Get them to write that down. 

Then ask them what they plan to do if the offer is half of what they are asking for.  Will they turn it down?  What if it's a quarter?  What if there is no raise, and this is a take it or leave it offer?

All of these questions are negotiation questions that will give you the information you need to know if you're being bargained with in good faith, or if the candidate is stalling for another company, a counter-offer, or isn't interested without a big pay bump.  The more specific you are, the more locked in they get, and the more likely you are to determine if they are going to take the job.  At this stage, it's not about the money, it's about whether you can take them at their word. 

If they give you all of the information, and it looks solid, you have one last thing to ask.  Ask them if they are prepared to take the job at the salary offered, or at their new figure, if you come back with it.  Make sure they understand that the "thinking" for the position needs to occur before you go to the manager.  If you get what they ask for, or even if they don't, you're going to ask for an on-the-spot answer when you return, with a solid start date. 

Discuss with them how and when they plan to resign their current job, and give them a deadline on that as well.  You can't afford any more stalling, and if you're forced to go back to the manager a second time, you might as well cut it short there. 

If you follow these steps, you may still lose the candidate, but only if they planned to turn it down or leave anyway. 



 The problem being, of course, it makes it look like the candidate didn't understand the position during the interview process, which will lead to a reevaluation of the offer. 

Plead paperwork. Ask how long they are willing to wait to renegotiate the position. This will tell you quite a bit. If they are happy to wait, they aren't serious. If they want it down quickly, it's probably the first scenario where they're just trying to get more out of it. 

The negotiation process should give you the information you need to make a decision. Once you get that information, lock the candidate in with specifics. How much they want. What they'd accept. If they'll turn it down if they don't get it. Do Not, under any circumstances, let them get away with sending you back to the manager just to ask. Force them to a decision, get them to agree, making it clear that you are the decision maker, and that you're not an errand girl.

Recruiter Needed, With A "Proven Track Record Of Success"

There's a job posting that crossed my desk, looking for a networked recruiter with a "proven track record of success."

Normally I glaze over such comments, much like "people-person" on resume, or "energetic self-starter."

This one made me laugh.  A Proven Track Record of Success.  In a sales position, this makes sense.  Someone who has proven they can make money for the company is an asset.  And recruiting is a "sales" position.  But how would you measure a track record?

A recruiter is after all, at the mercy of the jobs laid in front of them.  They do not get the luxury of picking their jobs, or working directly with the manager, or negotiating rate.  I've seen mediocre recruiters bring in 100K because they worked on the right team, just as I've seen people flounder at base pay, who went on to stratospheric career heights after leaving a bad situation.

How to judge?

There is no objective criteria to measure "track record of success."  For some people. it means a placement a week.  For others, it means a placement a month.  For some, it's just means having worked on a fast paced team where you made 300 placements together in a tight time frame. None of them explain how the job would affect you. 

It sure does sound nice, though. It's a warning - only apply if you're a winner

Seems there's a better way to say that.  It tells experienced people that 1) you aren't very good at writing job descriptions, or 2) you've had problems hiring in the past, and will expect the new employee to perform where everyone else has failed. 



2011 LinkedIn Training: Thursday, December 16th.

TO REGISTER FOR 2011 LinkedIn Training: Beyond the Basics.

Class Description: Participate in a step-by-step instruction from the "Social Media Headhunter" on new strategies for using LinkedIn to find and hire candidates for your company. Jim Durbin will demonstrate a point by point walk through targeted for corporate and executive recruiters.

The LinkedIn website is an effective tool for building and maintaining a close network of referrers for employment, but how does that help you hire people faster and with more quality? In an age where the email and voicemail are being replaced with Facebook and Twitter, LinkedIn stands out as the professional social network at the center of your recruiting strategy.

LinkedIn remains the top business social network in the world, hosting more than 85 million profiles, including executives from every Fortune 500 company. Growing from its initial recruiting use as a merely an updated database, LinkedIn now is the dominant force in social media recruiting.

In this 90 minute teleseminar you will learn:

  • Updated strategies for 2011 on building a network that values hires and quality referrals.
  • How to connect with prospects inside and outside the platform.
  • How to craft messages that generate responses.
  • How to integrate LinkedIn to all of your social profiles.
  • What to look for in profiles of serious job seekers.
  • To measure and automate performance based on time, prospect flow and successful hires.
  • The keys to marketing using this powerful social media application.

About the Speaker:

Jim Durbin is a headhunter specializing in social media and owner of the Durbin Media Group. As a blogger and business owner, Jim is a frequent and valued speaker on such topics as online employment, recruiting blogs and using social networks in the hiring process. Prior to starting Durbin Media Group, Jim was a top performer as an Account Executive for national staffing firms. Jim is a graduate of Washington and Lee University and currently lives in St. Louis.


Register for this class for this Thursday to learn what is new at LinkedIn and how recent changes affect your ability to search for candidates!

Make This Week Count

My annual holiday column comes a bit late, so I'll just post the ghosts of blogposts past on my recommendations for candidates and recruiters over the holiday.

This is a short week.  If you hate your job, you're probably loving that you get two and a half days of work, followed by another half day on Friday.  If you're freaked out by the economy, you're probably wishing you had more time, and wondering what January will be like.

I'm with you. I've been there.  In December 2004, my last year working for someone else, I faced an action plan at a new company.  The work I did from Thanksgiving to New Years jumpstarted my best earningyear ever.  I made a placement a week from the first week in January to the third week in August, and ended the year with over 70 hires and my first six figure year.

In December 2000, I was in Los Angeles in the midst of the dot-com bust. The work I did from Thanksgiving to Christmas gave me a string of hires from January to September that built my book as other recruiters and account managers were laid off.  It was my best year to date, until the September attacks cut short our recovery.

In contrast, in December 2001, I used my time unemployed to visit friends, hang out at bars, spend time with family, and stay up till three of four o'clock reading.  I had a small severance and California unemployment, and so I waited until the second week in January to get started on my job search.  It took me seven weeks to get hired as an account manager (which was still pretty good), but money was so tight by that point, I was living at home with my parents, driving a car with a cracked windshield, and 30 pounds overweight. 

It's not too late to start. 

Get your resume ready.  Plan out your call list.  Go to the library and build a list of companies you'd work for and with.  Start calling immediately.  The work you do (or don't do) right now will make the difference in the New Year.  Think of it this way. If you were in a race, and got to start 10 minutes before everyone else, wouldn't you take that shot if the prize was a job?  Well, it is a race, and the prize is a job.  Ready, Set, Go!

The Numbers Still Matter (Just Make Sure It's The Right Numbers)

I'm a big fan of social media.  When pitching a program to a client, I discuss the benefits of blogging, but focus in on the money you can make blogging in excess of what you're currently making. In my view, if you're not hiring more people or making more placements with your blog, then you have no business spending working hours on your blog.

Of course, this is also true for meetings, paperwork, hour and a half long interviews with bad candidates, RFP's, reading ESPN at work, checking your e-mail, and talking about quality initiatives with your boss.  The truth is that if you're not making money, most of what you do is a waste anyway.

So when I'm training, and someone asks me how long they should spend blogging a week - I tell them 3-5 hours.  That's a big chunk of time, and the only people it makes sense for are those who already tightly manage their time.  One of the first lessons I had in recruiting was the idea that planning was the most important consideration in my success. I had to plan my day, and then execute it.  I had to know how many phone calls, interviews, submittals, sendouts, meetings and starts I needed to make quota.  And over time, I saw that when you didn't hit your numbers, you didn't make your placements.

Continue reading "The Numbers Still Matter (Just Make Sure It's The Right Numbers)" »

Surefire Way To Interview Salespeople

For those of you looking for new sales help in the New Year, let me offer you a tune-up for the way you hire salespeople.

Some of you have long, involved processes that include psych tests (better hope they're certified), questions about whether they were involved in sports in high school (yes, this question is still around), and the highly dubious, "Show me your W-2's" method that is supposed to show whether past performance is predictive of future success.

Forget all of that.  And forget your "gut instinct," too.  Salespeople are good at selling themselves, so anyone who has ever held a sales position and had any success should be able to convince you they know what they're doing.  Most account managers can worm their way into a position by repeating this mantra, "I love the phone.  All business starts with the phone, and if I just continue to make my calls, I'll be successful."

Of course, once they are hired, there always seems to be something that keeps them off the phone (I'm no exception, and have been guilty of it in the past, but you might consider adding this to your employment process in the hire of your next salesperson.

Ask them to write down a schedule of a normal day, their first week, the first 30 days, and the first 90 days. 

Continue reading "Surefire Way To Interview Salespeople" »

Hiring Sourcers

I'm fascinated with the world of sourcing.  As an account manager for six years with various staffing firms, my experience with sourcing prior to 2005 was the filing cabinet in the back of the office with 10,000 manila folders and a phone sticky from spilling coffee with too much milk and sugar on it. Ah, good memories.

After getting involved with the online employment crowd, I noticed this particular discipline starting to get a lot of attention, and names started popping up again and again.  Shally Steckerl, Glenn Gutmacher, Maureen Sharib, Jim Stroud, and Dave Mendoza.  Who were these sourcers, and how exactly did they make money?  Were the technologically proficient versions of a reference librarian?  The human variant of the manufacturer's guides I'd used to such good effect in a previous sales jobs?  Or were they something new?  Were they some kind of protean recruiter evolving along a different path than the rest of us?  They researched, and we sold?

The jury's still out.  Most recruiters, whether they be corporate or third party, still consider sourcing as an essential part of a recruiter's job.  The idea of outsourcing is laughable, unless you count the "junior recruiters" who are hired to download resumes from Monster because the volume is too high.  But the tide is turning.  I promised that I would go through the Electronic Recruiting 101 booklet and let you see some of the nuggets of gold hidden.  Written by Shally, the book of course has a section on hiring Sourcers (p.94)

Hiring Sourcers Do's and Don't

  • Sourcers vs recruiters:
  • Sourcers aren't junior recruiters
  • Not all sourcers are created equally
  • One-to-many ratio
  • Where to go?

Shally covers each of these points in detail (though in telling you where to go, he pitches ERE and only ERE), and and then to make it really spicy, he shares how to compensate them.

The answer is highly.  Compensate them highly, but only if they're worth it, and if you can track their results to money saved.

by the way - I'll be on a panel with Shally next week.  We're speaking at an exclusive Executives only Briefing at the NAPS conference in San Antonio.  There's still room, the event is free, and we'd love to see you there.  Remember that you have to RSVP separately for this event by contacting Margaret Graziano <mgraziano@keenhire.com>

Videos From OnRec And LegoLand

Jim Stroud has video of big names doing God Knows What at OnRec.  Cheezman, Gerry Crispin, Jim and Kevin Wheeler (who will be returning to St. Louis in December) and Mark (missed the last name) are headed, somewhere.  When asked about having this many Staffing guys in a single car, Jim Stroud replied, "This is how we roll."

I looked for my own video, and couldn't decide if I wanted to show you Family Guy Numa Numa, Superman in Grand Theft Auto, or this one. 

I went with Legoland, in honor of K-Fed. 

Electronic Recruiting 101: ERE And Shally Steckerl

I've been remiss. Scott Baxt of ERE mailed me out a copy of the 2007 Electronic Recruiting 101, the latest and greatest recruiting training tool written by Shally Steckerl and put out by the Fordyce Letter.

That was about six weeks ago - maybe longer.

The thing is - I actually read it - and was floored by it - but have neglected to do a full write-up, in order to be able to really, truly do the manual justice.

Well - if wishes were fishes...Here is the link to buy this superb manual.  I will be writing up not one, but several reviews on the book - and if you are a recruiter, or a trainer, or a branch manager, may I highly recommend you pony up the cash and buy this book for your office.

It's like a Krell Mind Machine for Recruiters.  And yes, Shally's a sourcer, but he writes about much more, including interviews, job postings, and blogs, and computer tricks.  Please buy it, and tell them you came from StlRecruiting.com, and apologize for not buying it earlier as I was slow in posting this.

More reviews on all of my sites later.