How to Negotiate with a Potential Employee

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Unemployment rates are still at 4.1% from the latest Department of Labor findings and employees expect competitive salary and benefits. As a decision maker in the hiring process, you have leverage but, in a tight job market, you do not have all of it.

Before you have selected a candidate for the open position, you will want to go through the deep work necessary to find the clarity on who you want for this position. As a master negotiator, I teach my clients to use my CDE method—Clarity, Detachment, and Equilibrium.

The inner work that brings clarity is not something you can do on a whim. You will want to allow enough time and energy to really dive into the motivations of the company and the team to create the most authentic offer.

Detachment comes when you remove your emotion and biases from the outcome. It is especially helpful to consider the negotiation not from a one-sided – or even a win-win – perspective but rather from a place of meeting each party’s needs. Once we bring in the concept of winning, it is easy for the ego to get engaged and for us to lose the clarity and detachment we need.. If you are able to maintain clarity and detachment, it leaves the negotiation open to mutually beneficial options for the employer and the employee.

Creativity in the offer and listening to how the potential employee responds to the offer will guide you in the next steps. For example, if the salary offered is base plus commission, it is possible that the base could be higher with a lower percentage going forward for the commission. Also consider flexibility in schedule if it serves the company as well as the employee.

With the next steps also comes the need for equilibrium. As the decision maker for the company, you will want to know the parameters available. Equilibrium, or balance, will inform your actions and help you make the best decision for your team and prevent you from getting thrown off or triggered during a negotiation. Maybe something a candidate says triggers you in some way. That could be a good indicator that you shouldn’t hire that employee but it also could be that you got triggered due to some past experience or personal issue that should have nothing to do with evaluation the candidates qualifications.

So, do whatever it is that gets you centered and clear – for some it is meditation or prayer, for others its exercise or calling a mentor or friend or practicing in the mirror or, maybe, doing something unrelated that you enjoy and will put you in a good state of mind. You can also use anchoring right before you go into the room – think about a time when you felt confident, strong, on your game – envision that experience in full color and with all your senses. Then take a deep breath and bring that energy with you into the room.

If you found this helpful and want to hear more, join me May 16th in New York City for my Authentic Negotiating Workshop at SHRM’s Speaker Select Series. The series is open to HR professionals and those in Talent Acquisition, Employee Engagement, Internal Communications, Talent Management and/or Learning and Development. Online registration is available until May 15th.

Corey Kupfer is an expert strategist, negotiator and dealmaker. He has more than 35 years of professional deal-making and negotiating experience. Corey is a successful entrepreneur, attorney, consultant, author and professional speaker who is passionate about deal-driven growth. He is also the creator and host of the DealQuest Podcast.

If you want to find out how deal-ready you are, take the Deal- Ready Assessment today!

Corey Kupfer is an expert strategist, deal-maker, and business consultant with more than 35 years of professional negotiating experience as a successful entrepreneur and attorney.

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