Hiring & Recruiting

Anticipating What Candidates Will Ask For

Are you prepared for when a candidate asks for something other than a higher starting salary, as a condition for accepting the job?

If it’s not a benefit you offer or it exceeds the standard, you may be blindsided. Instead, why not be prepared and anticipate what a candidate may ask for, in lieu of a higher salary?

What They May Want

Among the common points of negotiation are:

  • A bonus, provided certain goals are met
  • An agreed-upon salary increase at a specific time, assuming certain goals are met
  • More vacation time than you initially offer
  • Option to work from home, at least on a part-time basis
  • Flexible hours
  • Commuter benefits
  • Childcare assistance

Although it is more common for managerial and senior-level candidates to try and negotiate bonuses, future salary increases, and benefits, other candidates may attempt to do so—particularly if they know their skills are in demand.

Your Company’s Position

Knowing where your company stands on these possible requests will make recruiting and hiring easier.

Keep in mind you want to be familiar with more than formal policies. For example, your company has a vacation policy and you no doubt know what it is. However, for the ideal candidate, will the company deviate from the policy?

The work from home option is another item to consider. The last person who held the job may have sat in an office cubicle for 20 years. This doesn’t necessarily mean your new hire has to occupy the same space. Determine if working from home, full or part time, is a realistic option.

Consider all possible request categories carefully, and ideally before you make a job offer.

Out of the Ordinary

Also be prepared for requests that may fall outside the usual parameters. For example, a job candidate may ask that you provide office equipment and/or reimburse expenses related to a work-from-home arrangement. Is this something your company typically does or would be willing to do?

And then there’s the unusual request. What if an ideal candidate wants to bring his child to work one afternoon each week? What is your company’s policy on children in the workplace?

And speaking of children, what about four-legged children? Does your company allow pets at work? If the answer is no, what about a comfort animal?

Candidates today believe they have the upper hand, and as a result they may try to force yours. Know where you’re flexible, and where you’re not.

Paula Paula Santonocito, Contributing Editor for Recruiting Daily Advisor, is a business journalist specializing in employment issues. She is the author of more than 1,000 articles on a wide range of human resource and career topics, with an emphasis on recruiting and hiring. Her articles have been featured in many global and domestic publications and information outlets, referenced in academic and legal publications as well as books, and translated into several languages.