Negotiating salary expectations can be a difficult conversation to have with prospective job candidates, but it’s very important to make sure that you are as open as possible about what you can offer. One thing you should absolutely never engage in is lowballing.
What is Lowballing?
The lowball technique is usually used to make a sale by presenting an attractive and cheap offer, only to later increase the price, hoping the customer has already committed to the purchase. In the case of recruiting, lowballing means making the candidate an offer that is lower from what was previously discussed, hoping they have already committed to the job and will accept it regardless.
Why Is It Bad?
First off, it is insulting to take someone through all the interview stages only to make them a disappointing offer at the end. They are very likely to pull out of the process, accept a counter-offer or simply remain in their position if they are already employed.
If a candidate has been upfront with you about their salary expectations and you go forward with the interview process, it is under the mutual understanding that you have accepted their requirements. Lowballing them at the offer stage becomes a breach of trust and it is natural they’ll feel deceived, lose trust in you as an employer and reject the offer. You would have not only wasted their time, but yours too, as you will have to start over with a new candidate.
In rare cases the lowballing will work and the candidate will accept the job. However, they will do so with negative feelings towards you, they will likely not go the extra mile in their work and they will leave the company sooner for a better offer.
What to Do Instead
If a candidate’s salary expectations fall outside of your budget, do mention it during the interview stage. If they move forward, you will know they have accepted your terms and are willing to settle for a smaller offer. Do not risk taking a candidate through multiple interview stages without mentioning your budget and hoping lowballing them will work out in the offer stage. It is not worth it to try and save a few thousand pounds while you’re trying to fill a highly critical role for your business – it will backfire and make you spend even more as the recruiting process lengthens.
Key Takeaway: Never lowball a candidate, always negotiate honestly.
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