Countering Recruiter Comebacks During Salary Negotiations

You can prepare yourself in advance for countering recruiter comebacks during a salary negotiation if you are intent on getting the best possible salary offer. When you’re hot on the track of treasure and refuse to budge from your “show me the money” stance, experienced recruiters may balk. Recruiters, who practically live in the salary negotiation space that you infrequently visit, are famous for classic comebacks.

Here are five common recruiter salary comebacks with suggestions for how to counter them:

  • Don’t make the mistake of overvaluing compensation and undervaluing opportunity. (I appreciate your calling that important point to my attention and I’ll bear it in mind.)

  • If I succeed in getting the cash compensation increased, the company will probably want me to produce other candidates with more experience. (I hope not. But you have a fiduciary responsibility to your client to produce the best candidate for a fair price — and I’m that person hands down.)

  • We’re looking at other candidates who don’t share the level of expectations you express. Why should we consider raising the bar so high in your case? (I have the same level of performance expectations for the work I produce. I’m sure the other candidates know what they’re worth better than I do. Are you looking for an outstanding hire or a mediocre hire? If it’s talent you want, you should choose me because of my proven record in . . .)

  • Prove your ability. Do a great job and you could get a sizeable raise next year. (I appreciate that and I admire your line of thinking about rewarding performance, provided promises for the future build on a fair market rate going in. I have done a lot of salary research and believe that a starting salary of $___ would be attractive to me because my performance with previous employers has been exceptional. Do you think your client could confirm your progressive thinking about a future raise based on a starting salary of $___ and include that promise in the offer letter?)

  • If I can get the cash increased, will you sign an iron-clad guarantee to take the position with no further haggling? (Yes, I am very interested in this position, but we need to clarify figures. How much of a cash increase and what benefits are included?)

The lesson: To avoid walking away wishing you had come up with a better answer to recruiter comebacks than you did, plan your responses ahead.

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