Hiring Top Talent- Negotiation Skills for Small Business Owners

hiring for small business owners

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In addition to the standard interview questions, here are some basic guidelines regarding negotiation-type questions you MUST ask in your first interview and continue to verify to some degree in every subsequent meeting with that candidate:

  1. Make sure you get the straight scoop about why they want to leave their current position or why they left, if they’re no longer there. This will give you a sense of the level of urgency with their situation. If not the first meeting, find out if anything has changed in this regard since they last met with you.
  2. Sometimes, assessing level of urgency might require a very straight question such as, “What is your timeline to be in a new position and why?” Insights gained with this question will allow you to understand the “pain” and possibly give you leverage in your negotiations.
  3. Find out if they are interviewing with any other companies and see if they will volunteer who they are interviewing with. What are their feeling about this opportunity? This is like gathering information about the competition - very important for final negotiations! Again, if not the first meeting, ask if anything has changed.
  4. Tell them to put money aside for a moment. Ask, “What will be most important to you in your next job/career move?”
  5. Don’t ask them in the first meeting what their current salary or history is. Instead, ask them what their desired salary range is. Find out what evidence they have that justifies them meriting this range. (A candidate’s “market worth” is not determined through a linear formula. Instead, several factors should be taken into consideration and it is not a science, unfortunately.)
  6. Let them know honestly what your budget is and let them know if you have any flexibility. Ask them what flexibility there is regarding their desired range. Transparency is always a positive negotiation “ploy.” If you each don’t see a way to possibly align, there may be no point in continuing the conversations.

Note: It is somewhat important that the sequential order of these points be followed as they are listed here.

Lastly, throughout the interview process, try to engage emotionally with the candidate.

Seeking a new position or considering a career move is a very emotional journey for most people. By identifying with these emotional aspects and being compassionate, understanding and thoughtful, you will go a long way in ensuring the candidate will trust you enough to be forthright and honest about what matters to them.

When you know what matters to people you have more leverage to give them what they really need and, therefore, get back what you really need as well.

In Part II we’ll provide you with tips for winning over 90% of your compensation negotiations so you can hire the talent you need to grow your business!

Related articles:

Hiring Better Fitting Employees

3 Considerations Before Hiring a New Employee

Adding a New Employee Worth the Expense?

Hiring Foreign Nationals: What Should an Employer Do?

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About the author

Lily Z. Winsaft

As CEO and Founder of Aldebaran Associates, Ms. Winsaft focused her 25 years of corporate and entrepreneurial experience to create a company dedicated to addressing the hiring and training challenges facing corporations and professionals in the 21st Century. The firm provides highly selective recruiting services for fortune 500 companies in the consumer goods, advertising, marketing, legal, accounting, information technology and non-profit sectors. Given her notoriety in the Hispanic community and among international organizations, her firm plays a major role in boosting organizational diversity and in the placement of candidates at companies transacting business in Latin America or selling products and services to the U.S. Hispanic consumer segment.

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