Part of the process of hiring a new employee is negotiating a fair salary – one that makes both employer and employee happy.  It is a hurdle that has to be overcome during any and all hiring processes.  The results of this negotiation can leave a candidate feeling wanted or devalued, and it can leave the employer feeling gratified or uncomfortable.

Negotiating is not easy, and, for many people, it is not at all pleasant.  It is uncomfortable trying to determine another person’s worth.  However, to ensure that you conduct a successful salary negotiation, here are four points to keep in mind:

  • Do research on your salary offer– Before you even begin the salary negotiation process, know what you should, can or are willing to pay.  However, do not simply pull a random dollar amount out of the sky.
    • Look at the salary range for the job within your organization and benchmark it off of the fair market value for the same job within your industry.  Analyze your salary range for a particular position and compare it to other similar positions in similar industries.  Networking with others in your industry, industry trade groups, the chamber of commerce, and websites, such as <>, can all be good sources for salary setting information.
    • Take into account the cost of living for your area.  If no comparable positions are available in your area, you will need to look outside your local market.  In this case, you must take the cost of living into account.  An accounts payable clerk in San Francisco will command a much higher salary than an accounts payable clerk in Birmingham, AL.
  • Discuss benefits, bonuses and other intangible aspects of the job.  Sometimes, due to market conditions, the job search market or the profitability of your own company, the offered salary cannot be negotiated.  If this is the case, other areas of total compensation can be visited. These include benefits (or the eligibility for benefits), paid time off, tuition assistance, bonuses/commissions/allowances, paid cell phone, relocation expenses, etc.
  • Know your limits– Know what you can afford to pay and what is out-of-bounds for you.  It is important to have a fair wage (which is why you should do your homework beforehand), but salaries for the same job titles can vary greatly (by several $10,000 in some cases) between industries.  Resolve to stay within your limits
    • Interview candidates only within the range that you have established.   Ask candidates for a ballpark salary figure, with the explanation that you do not want to waste anyone’s time if there is not a good salary match.  However, in certain situations when hiring key employees, it may be necessary to stretch the salary range in order to lure an ideal candidate.  Research beforehand to see if the position you are hiring for is “key” to the profitability and success of your enterprise.


  • Be honest.  This is probably more important than anything else.  No one wants to work for a company that they view as untrustworthy, and, during the interview process, you are the face of the company.  Be honest about the scope of the job duties and give no false impressions.  An employee who begins a job with misleading assumptions ends up an unhappy employee and will quickly turn into an ex-employee.

Your staffing partner can be a huge help to you in determining an appropriate salary range and during the actual negotiations with the candidate.  Snelling has over 60 years of experience in helping our clients find not only the best-fit candidate for their business, but helping them with all aspects of the hiring process, including salary negotiation.  So contact your local Snelling office, where one of our talented staffing managers can partner with you for your hiring needs.