Make Your First Offer Your Best Offer

By Debra Holden on May 15, 2017

Once you have made the decision to extend an offer to a candidate, your company has already expended a tremendous amount of time and energy. Over the course of the hiring process, your team has put a great deal of effort into communicating with the candidate, establishing mutual interest, building trust, and generating goodwill.

If you want to increase your chances of seeing a return on all of that time and energy you’ve invested and capitalize on that goodwill, when your company makes that first offer, make sure it is your best.

From what we are seeing in today’s construction market, it is not in your best interest to kick off a long negotiation process by making a low first offer. There are two top reasons why this is the case. First, protracted negotiations have a tendency to drain all of the goodwill that has been built up throughout the interview process.Second, recent experience has shown me that when an employer gives an opening offer that is well below market value, there is a danger that the whole deal might fall apart.

Low Offers Create Friction

When you don’t put your best offer forward, you run the risk of losing any excitement the candidate has built up for your position and perhaps for working for your company overall. Even if a candidate is enthusiastic about your position or company, when they see a first salary offer that is more than $10K less than they anticipated, goodwill dissipates and insult sometimes takes its place. The negotiation then begins on a sour note that can carry all the way through to their first day on the job, if they end up taking it.

Negotiations can introduce an unnecessary sense of antagonism in the hiring process that can lead to ill will. In the back and forth, not only is excitement lost, but the candidate may develop a bad taste for the company. Even if they decide to take your position eventually, they may start off warily, with an attitude of I’ll take the job anyway, but I really have to be on my toes with this employer. That is not a healthy way to begin building a relationship with a valuable new member of your team.

Don’t Risk Losing Top Talent:
Now is Not the Time to Negotiate

During back and forth negotiations, the candidate is likely to begin scrutinizing every element of your offer. The process gives them time to dissect the deal and develop objections to small details that were not an issue before. If you find a candidate who has a perfect-fit skill set and a personality that fits your office culture, the chance of losing them is not worth the risk of making a low offer. After going through the interview and vetting process, do you really want to lose your top choice candidate over $5K?

You’ve got to move quickly to get the best talent in today’s market. I work with contractors who have it in their DNA to negotiate. Do not approach the hiring process the same way that you approach negotiations with your subcontractors. Put your best offer on the table right away, or you are going to lose the opportunity to hire talented candidates. We have seen candidates simply walk away from a lowball offer because they have four others they are considering and they feel it is not worth their time or effort to negotiate. If your company does not give your best offer first, you can be certain that one of your competitors will.

The Author

Straight from the desk of

Debra Holden

Debra Holden

Market Leader

Debra Holden began her career with Kimmel & Associates in 1994 as a recruiter in construction. In 2003, she was named an associate in our Curtain Wall/Cladding Division.