Ever bet on a horse and watched it lead the entire race – until it fell at the final hurdle? Sometimes, that’s just what recruitment can feel like.

You’ll meet the perfect employee, agree a verbal contract and then they demand an increase in salary before they put pen to paper.

This is where things get tricky. Do you accept their pay rise and make their new role official? Or do you stand your ground and refuse to entertain such requests?

Each situation demands its own unique response, but there are a number of tactics worth bearing in mind to help steer your decision in the right direction. Let’s take a look…


Can you afford it?

When a candidate asks for a little extra, don’t rush to add any zeros to their salary right away. Take some time to think about whether the company can actually afford it.

No member of staff is ever worth bankrupting the business for. Before you agree to the increase in money, check the accounts and determine whether this is something you can justify as an organisation.  


How do they compare?

Is your new recruit worth more than you’re offering? They might have a strong pedigree in their sector and great recommendations from former colleagues, but how do they actually compare to other candidates?

When it comes down to this aspect, a recruitment agency can help considerably. Using industry statistics and drawing on their own experiences, you can work with them to determine an appropriate offer.

If the candidate is demanding more than similarly-talented personnel elsewhere in the industry, you might have to say: “thanks, but no thanks”.


Consider their equals…

It isn’t just the new candidate you need to consider during the negotiation process. Your current employees should be taken into account as well.

When you put a new team member in the mix on a higher wage, it’ll unsettle your staff. Why should the new guy be earning more than them? Sure, wages are supposed to be anonymous, but this kind of information has a habit of coming out at staff dos when people have had one too many…

Think carefully about accepting a pay rise in relation to your existing workforce. Will you have to raise salaries elsewhere so that every individual across the same tier is earning the same amount?


Throw in performance-related targets

Can your candidate justify their wage demands? It might be worth asking them this question, albeit in a roundabout way.

Instead of offering them a bigger wage from the beginning, it could be more effective to promise a wage rise once they hit some performance-related targets.

This is common ground in sales roles, but in IT things are different – so you’ll need to set your own benchmarks and outline what you consider a meaningful contribution that validates a salary increase.


Pledge for later

Another alternative is to refuse an initial salary demand, but instead suggest a pay rise later down the line.

This doesn’t have to be performance-related. It can function more as a loyalty bonus – promising the employee the extra wages they wanted but only after they’ve been with your business for a certain amount of time.

Six months is usually a good marker. It gives you time to get financially prepared, and it’s rarely regarded as being too far in the future for the employee to turn down.


Ask them for extra

If a candidate is asking for more, you may be in a position to request something additional from them as well.

Are there some unfinished tasks that have been on the backburner for some time? When a candidate suggests a starting salary increase, you could agree – providing they can help with other projects.

Naturally, this option works best when the applicant is capable of completing these tasks to a high standard. If they don’t have the know-how, a different approach will be required.


Need help negotiating? Contact ON:iT

Our team can offer you the support, guidance and advice you need during the candidate negotiation phase.

We’ve seen almost everything there is to see in recruitment, with our specialists having worked across pretty much every sector the IT industry has to offer. When it comes to accepting or refusing salary demands, we can play the voice of reason and help you make the right decision.

Simply give us a call on 0161 416 6000 or complete our online contact form. We’ll be delighted to help in any way we can – utilising our extensive expertise and unique third-party position to determine the best course of action given the circumstances.

No matter how major or minor your query might be – just get in touch! ON:iT are here to give you the support you need.