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An Employer’s Guide to Negotiating a Job Offer During COVID-19

Oh, 2020, what a year you’ve been. While the job market has done a complete 180 from where it was a year ago, one thing hasn’t changed. Your company’s long-term success relies on recruiting and retaining top talent. The good news: Those A-list candidates may be more receptive to offers during this unprecedented time.

When it is time to negotiate a job offer, try and understand the candidate’s side. Put yourself in their shoes and negotiate fairly. There is no capitalizing on other people here—we are all in this together. For mutual benefit, assume that everyone is doing the right thing.

Our ten recommendations can help you effectively hire the best and brightest candidates:

Stay informed. Review the latest industry hiring trends. Learn how similar companies are coping with change. Communicate with peers for best employee/employer practices. Read books about leadership and negotiation.

Focus on the talent pool. Challenging times showcase how important people are to the success equation. Focus on identifying the best talent so your company emerges stronger from the current situation.

Target top-tier talent. Savvy professionals who were not previously interested in a job move or new opportunity may now be open to possibilities. Top-tier talent may be hard to acquire, but a simple open-door connection is worth the effort. Also, keep an open mind about people who were laid off in this tumultuous economy. They may still be A-players.

Be respectful. Don’t take advantage of someone who is out of work due to the pandemic. Give VIP talent what they deserve. You do not want to lose a beneficial employee when the economy undoubtedly rebounds.

Pay market rate. Show you value a new hire with a right-sized salary. Don’t use COVID-19 as an excuse to compensate unfairly. Your investment now will pay off in the long run.

Offer transparency. Be honest about your company’s current status and what the future holds. Present a candidate with important information that may affect their position.

Capitalize on return-to-work hiring trends. We recently surveyed Southern California CEOs and CFOs about the impact of COVID-19. An impressive 52 percent said they were currently hiring or expect to be hiring by the end of Q3. Recruiting the right talent will be key for your company’s success.

Provide a healthy work environment. Ensure employees feel safe in the workplace and invite peace of mind for new candidates. Make your office cleaner, safer and more inviting with a few simple changes. Consider implementing remote working schedules.

Get creative. Budgets might be tight, but open to innovative ideas. The pandemic has dramatically changed peoples perception of work and priorities. Explore what really matters to a candidate — offer another week of vacation, flexible hours, education reimbursement or additional benefits. Dont assume salary is everything (although it could be).

Highlight strengths. The companies that will best weather this COVID-19 storm are the ones that treat their people well and focus on long-term financial health for the organization. If your company has a rave-worthy culture or a strong balance sheet, let the candidates know. More than ever, employees want a company that respects them, one they can trust and one that has long-term financial viability.

Bottom line: The hiring process is a collaboration. Done right, everyone wins.

Need help with your search? Review available talent or contact one of our team members.

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Preparing Your Offices for the Return to Work (ARG)
Finance Team Optimization (Gartner)
Innovation in a Downturn (Gallop)