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Play these mind games to win a salary negotiation

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In some ways, a salary negotiation is like a poker game – the first one to blink loses. The team at heawork shared how some job seekers try to manipulate human resources departments in salary talks and how HR folks can retaliate.

It is reasonable for job hoppers to ask for a 10 to 20% pay raise. But job seekers who are masters at playing mind games may ask for a lower pay in order to maximise their chances of getting a job.

For example, a candidate knows he or she could earn HK$30,000 by asking for a 20% pay raise, but instead chooses to write an expected salary of HK$29,000 in the job application.

For the budget sensitive human resources team, this HK$1,000 difference can be a deciding factor in calling a candidate to come for an interview or not.

Candidates may have their tactics, but the HR folks are not dumb either. Here is what they can do to take control of the game.

1. Catch candidates off guard
During job interviews, don’t actively discuss salary with candidates. Ask for current salary proof from candidates, do your market research, and then try to catch candidates off guard with a verbal offer, which you think is within budget but a little below the candidate’s expectations.

This works well for candidates who are not 100% sure what they want. If you are able to corner them into saying yes with a “take it or leave it” attitude, it saves budget for the company.

However, this tactic will not work for savvy candidates who understand what they are worth and as a result realise when HR folks aren’t putting up the best possible offer. Smart candidates will ask for more time to consider the offer, and then put forward a counter-offer asking for more. In this case, the human resources department should try the second tactic.

2. Misdirection
One way to satisfy a candidate’s salary demands without having to spend more budget is to convince them they will be able to earn more money later.

Say for example the candidate is looking for a 10% pay raise but the company is only offering 8%. The HR manager can try to talk the candidate into accepting the lower than expected monthly salary offer by offering gratuity payment to reward loyal employees after two years of service. With the gratuity payment included, the salary would reach the desired 10% raise.

This is a killer move to save money and motivate employees to stay within the organisation for at least two years.

ALSO READ: 5 tips to negotiate with your employees on a pay raise

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