What Collection Agents Know About Hiring


If you Google “hiring negotiation” you’ll see hundreds of articles about how to negotiate a higher salary when given a job offer.  You’ll also get a lot of articles from the employer’s point of view about how to negotiate a lower salary.  But what so many of these articles overlook is that the negotiations involved in hiring aren’t just about salary.  Many of the negotiation tips that we recommend for those involved in a collection issue also apply to the hiring process.

Practice Active Listening
We tend to think that hiring negotiations are all about money, but they aren’t. Yes, everyone would like to make more money, but most people have other motivators as well.  For many candidates, a sense of accomplishment and purpose is much more important than salary.  Answering questions about advancement with offers for more money won’t help you make the hire. The candidate who would like more money to cover their increased transportation costs, might in fact prefer working from home one day a week.  Active listening means focusing on what the person on the other side of the table is saying and responding appropriately.  You’ll find out most of what you need to know by truly listening and responding to your potential hire.  Listening to what the candidate is truly asking may also help you avoid making a bad hire.

Create a Win/Win Situation
Many people think of a good negotiator as someone who “wins” a negotiation, meaning the other person loses.  Even in negotiating for payment, we find that if we can give the other side a “win” the negotiation goes much better.  When it comes to hiring, a win/win approach is essential.  In a hiring negotiation you want everyone to feel like they’ve won.  It makes no sense to bring in a new employee who feels like they’ve been tricked, cheated or negotiated out of something they wanted.  You also don’t want to bring in a new employee if you already feel resentful about giving into certain requests.

It’s Okay to Walk Away
Oftentimes in a negotiation we get so caught up in our position that we forget to take stock of the entire picture.  Hiring is hard.  Once you’ve decided on a candidate you may be reluctant to start the process over again or go to your second choice.  But sometimes that may be the best solution.  If you and a candidate can’t come to an agreement it might be because they aren’t the right employee for your company.

Do Your Research
If it’s been awhile since you hired, or since you hired someone at the level for which you’re currently looking, you may be surprised by current salary rates or the kinds of standard perks being offered in your industry.  Negotiations will go faster if you make sure you understand what your candidates’ expectations are likely to be before you place the ad, let alone make an offer.

Pay Attention to Emotions
Even the least important negotiations have the possibility of becoming emotional, because our ego becomes tied up in wanting to “win.”  We know that talking about money almost always becomes emotional and hiring negotiations start off highly emotional.  “It’s just business,” doesn’t really cut it when it comes to hiring.  But, you can’t let either your emotions, or the candidate’s overtake the process.  Keeping calm and practicing your approach before you talk to the candidate can prevent you from either over-promising or insulting your candidate.

For skilled job hunters this is a great labor market.  Competing with other companies for top talent may make you feel anxious or tempted to skip some of the steps of a good negotiation.  But the long-term health of your company and your employees demands that you don’t.  Being experts at collections means we have a lot of experience with negotiations.  We hope these tips help you in all of your negotiations.


About The Author:

Dean Kaplan is Principal at The Kaplan Group. Dean's exper­tise is widely rec­og­nized in the debt col­lec­tion indus­try. His advice has been pub­lished in a num­ber of indus­try newslet­ters such as Credit Today and InsideARM and he is a fre­quent speaker at indus­try events.