Professional Edge Canada

How To Negotiate Compensation with Candidates

Negotiating a salary with your new IT talent isn’t a simple process. While we’d like our employee management to be as simple as someone coming in one day, agreeing to a job, and filling a seat the next, it doesn’t happen that way. Negotiations have become a major part of the equation.

Part of the problem is the top tier IT talent has several jobs offers they are considering. This means that several companies are competing with each other in order to secure the talent, and that means there is a possibility of them asking for more money. So what how you simplify this process and get the IT talent you need so you can focus more on your employee management, and less time on trying to fill a role in your department?

Before you even post your opening for IT talent, make sure you have done your research. Find out what the fair market value is and ensure that you have a range that is fair for the position. If everyone is hiring at $90,000 for a particular specialty, don’t trying to get away with filling the role for $60,000 as you’ll attract a different caliber of people.

When it comes down to hiring the actual person, you need to determine if this is who you absolutely want. Are you just filling a position with someone good enough? Can you wait for someone else to come along to fill the role? Before you agree to a salary hike, you need to determine if it best to simply pass on a demand for additional salary. Next, you can counteroffer. This is where you increase from your original offer, but are short of where they want to be. This is your chance to still get a feeler out there for these individuals and to give them something else to consider. Of course, you can also agree to their request. If time is of the essence and you need this individual at any cost, then agree to their demand.

Before you even begin the negotiating process, know what you can and cannot give them. Is it impossible to give them the salary they want, but you can boost their number of vacation days during the year? Are you able to reduce their costs for insurance? Many applicants will look at a positive company culture and are willing to make financial sacrifices in order to have other benefits that may be there for them. Don’t be shy to use these alternatives to your advantage. Just know what your upper limit is in advance, so you don’t oversell something that your business cannot afford for the sake of having someone. Once that upper limit is met, you need to hold firm.

There will be times when you have a candidate that is difficult to deal with and becomes aggressive or evasive in their approach. They may be trying to hardball you and while that might work in some cases, you don’t want to put yourself into a game where you ultimately won’t get anywhere. Instead, simply thank them for their time and move on to the next possible fit for the position.

Once you have your IT talent in agreement, you need to finalize everything in writing. You’ll want all benefits, salary, start dates, and other particulars done. Make sure it is signed by you and by the candidate and make it contingent that they pass all required background checks, and references that they have agreed to.

With the negotiating done, you can now move on with your regular employee management efforts. You can spend the next few weeks talking up the new candidate and preparing their workspace so they can make an easier transition to your company. These little details will help you to avoid future talent shortages, as you are showing that your employees mean something to you. That can mean the difference between another company coming in and snagging your top tier talent, and them remaining loyal to you.

Info on Author

William Coleman(@wcoleman_corp) is the Managing Director of Professional Edge Canada, a staffing firm helping companies implement Performance-based Hiring and Contract IT Consultants.

Having started out as an agency recruiter in 2009 and moving into the Corporate Recruiting space in 2011, William understands both sides of the business and has assisted companies internally and externally in achieving their hiring goals.

Want to connect? Call William at 416-477-1943 or email

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