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Client wants to pay an unrealistic salary – now what?

Each client has an idea of what a position should pay or the value they place on the role. When a stellar candidate comes along who is earning more and valued at a greater rate than the client has in mind, it’s my job as a consultant to guide them through the process to bridge the gap between what they want to pay and what they need to pay to hire someone into the job that will meet and exceed the expectations of the role.

Over the past week, one of my clients not only decided a stellar candidate would be better suited for a lesser role but on top of that offered a salary that was below the candidates current earnings. Although the offer made sense in how the company is structured to test performance, it absolutely did nothing to help them achieve their number one goal: hiring THE right candidate for the job who will outperform the expectations of the role. The client, candidate and myself are all on the same page here. So why not offer them the salary they deserve which will communicate to the candidate: “You are worth the investment” and “We believe you can and will exceed expectations” and “We trust that our willingness to pay you your TRUE value, will come back to us in higher performance and greater profits.”

As recruiters consulting our clients one may find him/herself in the same situation when a client quotes a salary that seems low to you, or you are in salary negotiations for an offer and your client wants to offer a salary that you know will be unacceptable to your candidate.

A poor to average consultant will accept the amount quoted, offer it to the candidate, and then when the offer is refused, or no one is interested in the job, shrug and blame the client for offering such a low amount.

A good Consultant will try to educate the client about the market rate, and make it clear to the client that the salary is going to be off putting for most candidates. Ultimately it’s our job as recruiters who have a consultative approach to educate, guide, reason and advise to clients and job seekers the truth about the value and marketplace. It’s only possible if you take the time to REALLY know your client and candidate.

Let me leave you with three (3) examples  (generalized to protect the name of MY client in this week’s scenario),

Client: “I’d like to make John Doe an offer of 60K base & 120K OTE (knowing this offer is 15K less in base and 60K less in total package than what the candidate is currently earning), and a chance to manage a team of 5-10 employees in 3 months if they outperform.”

Consultant: “Since you’ve hired me to guide you through this process, I’d like to ask you to think about the offer and the big picture. I fear that by offering $60/120K you risk insulting the candidate whom has communicated a past history of being promised the moon only to be let down, even after exceeding quota in each case.” “As your consultant I would hope you consider offering this candidate an equivalent package to their current earnings OR offer them a management position, which will motivate them to leave their current job.”

OR…

Client: “I’d like someone with 10 years experience, and we’ll pay around $60k.”

Consultant: “I have to advise you that $60k is well below the market rate for someone at that level. Were you aware of this? If you are looking at that sort of salary level then that would usually be for people with around 5 years experience. Would you consider people at that level? My concern is that someone with 10 years experience would in all likelihood be on a salary of $100k+ and will therefore not be likely to move for such a big salary drop.

OR

Client: “We’d like to offer to Jane Smith. The offer is $50k + super.”

Consultant: “Jane is very keen on your company and the role that you discussed at interview. However, $50k is a lot lower than the figure she was aiming for. In our initial discussions I think we talked about $60k – what’s changed? I’m happy to pass along the $50k offer to her, but I think there is a strong chance that she may not proceed on that basis. Is there any flexibility with that figure? Will she be eligible for a salary review in the near future?”

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Posted by on July 26, 2012 in recruitment

 

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Your clients want you to be a better consultant

A Recruitment Consultant is not simply an agent, or a person in the middle who co-ordinates things. While this is part of your role, the bit to focus on is that you are a Consultant – clients will use you and pay for your services because you are acting in a consultative capacity to them.

You have access to information that your clients need, including:

  • Market rates for salaries;
  • Which jobs are most in demand;
  • What the competition is doing to attract and retain staff;
  • What it will take for them to secure the candidate they want;
  • How they can improve their interview techniques;
  • What candidates think of their staff and offices.

When it comes to what candidates are earning in your industry, and what clients are willing to pay, you are the expert in this field – not your client. You may not feel like an expert at this stage, but the more you get to know your market sector the more your knowledge in this area will grow.

The most important thing is to trust your intuition and not be afraid to disagree with your client. This is not to say that you should be argumentative, but as a Consultant you will sometimes need to explain to your client that they have made a mistake. This should always be done diplomatically, sensitively, and backed up by facts. This can be a great tool for building a trusting relationship with your client too. The balance of power in your relationship is even – you are a Consultant to your client on an equal footing.

 
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Posted by on May 28, 2011 in recruitment

 

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