The end-to-end recruitment process has many interrelated parts and can at times seem like a marathon rather than a sprint – for both businesses and candidates. The important point to remember is that great working relationships start with a great recruitment process. And often, the one last hurdle to overcome is the employment agreement.

So, what do you need to know to get this right?

The actual negotiation for the employment agreement may seem straightforward. It’s likely that throughout the recruitment process there has been ongoing discussion about the role and conditions of employment, for example hours and location of work, salary, training requirements, fringe benefits and holidays. Because you have been informally discussing the terms of the role, you have a certain level of comfort prior to the actual employment agreement.

And that’s the big learning here – for both the business and candidate, it is important that expectations are made clear from the very beginning of the process, so there are no surprises.

For example, if flexible working conditions are a non-negotiable for you, then you need to share this very early on in your discussions with the recruitment consultant. And for business owners, if the specification for the ‘right’ person changes as the recruitment process evolves, make sure you keep the lines of communication open with the recruitment consultant, particularly around remuneration.

For candidates, there are certain things you can do in advance of receiving an offer of employment. Here are three tips for reaching a successful conclusion with your employment agreement; particularly useful if you haven’t had a lot of experiencing negotiating a contract.

    1. Take your time and if need be, consider getting professional help.
    2. Always start with your priorities – the top three things that are the most important to you for example, base salary, bonus and incentives, annual leave, vehicle allowance, or benefits like health and income insurance. Understand what you are willing to accept or use as leverage to gain what you really want.
    3. Be reasonable and never forget about the end game. How much do you really want this opportunity and what are you willing to give up in return?

The most important consideration for both parties is to have a good attitude when it comes to negotiating an employment agreement. Not everyone is comfortable with negotiating and getting it wrong can leave a sour taste in everyone’s mouth. If you act like you can make it work, you really might be able to.

Here are our top three tips to help businesses through this process

  1. Get the agreement in front of candidates ASAP; you don’t want to risk losing the candidate to other opportunities. Then give them enough time to consider the agreement. The process has been lengthy, and you have invested a lot into it, don’t risk that relationship at the final hurdle.
  2. Verbal is best – while any edits need to be received in writing, you’ll make the most progress by discussing these first. You’ll better understand the context and emotion – and it minimises any miscommunication.
  3. Don’t just talk about money. You need to consider the total package which could include additional benefits plus all the great stuff about working for your business that sometimes isn’t clear for new candidates.

Our final word of advice for both businesses and candidates is to use this part of the recruitment process to understand all the terms and potential risks and be prepared for anything – there may be other issues that arise, for example the candidate could receive a counter offer from their current employer.

Any contract negotiation can be difficult – keep your focus on the end game because it’s worth the effort.

Need help?

Decipher Group are a leading, independent recruitment consultancy; we help connect talented people with exciting opportunities. Reach out to us today to find out how we can help.

The Decipher Team

To stay on top of current recruitment trends and technologies follow Decipher Group on LinkedIn.

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