Negotiating is like a delicate dance between balancing company needs and candidate desires. It often feels like there’s no clear path for a win-win situation. However, you can come out on top with the right tactics and mindset and secure the best talent.

Here’s how you should do it:

  1. Negotiate easy things first, and get agreements ASAP. Then, move to trickier items.

Start with easy items you can agree on quickly. These include the start date, title, vacation, and COBRA assistance. This helps build momentum, establish a positive tone, and create a sense of cooperation. 

  1. Understand the difference between a Condition and an Objection (Can’t/Won’t).

Conditions may include a legal requirement or company policy, while objections may consist of salary, benefits, and work schedule.

You cannot negotiate conditions, but you can negotiate objections. Therefore, identify objections early in the negotiation process so you can address them and find mutually beneficial solutions.

  1. Use perks to make up for the salary. 

This is a powerful negotiating tactic that involves taking something off the table to test the other person’s resolve. For example, you could say, “I understand that the salary we’re offering doesn’t meet your expectations, so we can consider other benefits such as more vacation time or a flexible work schedule.”

This can help you understand how much the candidate is willing to compromise and find solutions that meet their needs.

  1. Close to the lowest/highest acceptable number.

Understand your lowest and highest acceptable numbers clearly before going into negotiations. This will help you close to your desired outcomes. Just remember that negotiating is about finding a win-win solution and not winning at all costs. 

  1. Fast money is sometimes better than more money. Therefore, sign-on bonuses are attractive to candidates.

Sign-on bonuses can provide candidates immediate financial relief and incentivize them to join the company. Sign-on bonuses have a benefit to the employer as increased salaries are paid annually, while sign-on bonuses are only paid once. 

If you want to attract top talent and have limited room to negotiate salary, sign-on bonuses are the better option.

  1. You can often guarantee incentive pay for years one or two.

Understand the benefits of incentive pay. By offering them, the company can create a sense of ownership and accountability among their employees, leading to better results and stronger company culture.

Guaranteeing incentive/s for a year or two helps alleviate the concerns of the uncertainty of incentive pay.

Negotiating is a game of strategy and communication. And by playing it well, you can win the best candidate for your team.

For more insight and tips, write to Dan Simmons at

About the Author

Dan Simmons founded Continental Search in 1996 but focused exclusively on animal nutrition recruiting in 2002. He is currently focused on recruiting top talents such as nutritionists, technical support professionals, sales managers, and executive-level positions, including technical directors and VP of sales and marketing.

Dan has won over 20 awards from Top Echelon Network, America’s leading placement network, including Placer of the Year in 2009 and the prestigious Million Dollar Award. He also authored seven eBooks—all available for FREE download here

For the latest job opportunities, you may connect with Dan on LinkedIn or email him at