The Hiring Side of Negotiation

SAN MATEO (04/18/2000) - When it comes to compensation in the competitive IT job market, companies looking to hire technology pros must stay competitive without compromising their budgets. Here are some tips for landing those highly sought-after tech professionals.

WITH IT MOVING ON "Internet time," companies often feel pressured to make unrealistic compensation offers just to land candidates. Maryanne Wegerbauer, a consultant and author specializing in HR matters, and Les Goldman, chief administrative officer at TBI for the past 27 years, think otherwise. Companies should do some strategic planning to benefit themselves and the people they hire. Doing so ahead of time will help you attract the right candidates -- and keep them with you.

1. Ask questions

What the compensation package will look like "has a lot to do with the questions the candidate asks, and where the candidate is at in their career," Goldman says. Learn what drew the candidate to the position. If family time or having a stake in the company (such as stock options) is most important, that will affect the package. Goldman points out that the compensation package and the entire relationship need to be a win-win situation.

2. Company self-assessment

"Where a company is at in its business life cycle inevitably affects what it can offer to candidates," Wegerbauer says. A start-up may not be salary-competitive, but it can offer stock options, telecommuting, or other benefits that more established companies may not offer. A company's HR strategy should maximize what it can offer. "The company needs to make sure that its pay philosophy is attracting and retaining the right employees," Wegerbauer says.

3. Recognition factor

Companies with prestige can use it to their advantage. Just being able to work for a particular company will draw applicants in and give the company leverage when negotiating. Wegerbauer says some companies are considered hot prospects because employees "have the opportunity to work on cutting-edge projects."

4. Ongoing communication

Wegerbauer says companies must continually assess whether the compensation package meets employees' needs, and find out what employees like about or feel is missing from their package. "Hiring managers need to give the compensation package the maximum opportunity for it to sell itself," Wegerbauer says. This means looking at the whole compensation package, including quality of life provisions such as alternative work schedules and family-support policies.

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