Tip of the Week: Talking Money with Candidates


This week’s tip of the week comes from Jackie Mathys, Co-Founder of Mathys & Potestio. Jackie sits as a board member on the Oregon Recruiters community within the Recruiters Network!

Jackie Mathys:

“Hi Recruiters! This is my tip of the week, how to talk money with candidates. So, I go to dial the candidate’s number and my hands immediately get clammy. Will this rate insulted her? Will she think I didn’t listen to her when we talked about rates before? Will she think I’m lying about the actual rate?

Talking about money with candidates can be really uncomfortable for a lot of reasons, but I think mostly because people tend to take it personally. The truth is, as recruiters we’re just given a rate to work with from our client, it is what it is, and that’s the message you want to relay to candidates when you start the money conversation. Ring ring ring, ‘Hey Pam, a jobs come up that I thought you might be interested in. It’s at XYZ Company covering a maternity leave for about 3 months and it pays 25 an hour’. Stop. Notice I didn’t ask Pam what her rate was. I didn’t say ‘Unfortunately the rate is pretty low, but it’s a really good job,’ or anything like that. I simply said it pays 25 an hour. It pays, period. Now, it’s at this point in the conversation where I’ve learned to use a simple phrase that saves me a ton of time, respects, the candidate, and almost always gets me to a yes and I owe it all to Joe.

Joe is a graphic designer. I placed several times over the years. Every time I’d call him with a job he’d go, ‘Ugh, that’s too low. I can’t work for that amount,’ and then I’d get pulled in and reply, ‘I know Joe you’re worth a lot more,’ and he’d go ‘That rates pretty insulting,’ and on and on. You know if Joe wasn’t so good at what he did I probably wouldn’t have called him. But, we all have our Joes, right? So here’s what happened, one day after presenting him with a great gig I tried something new, I said, ‘I know the rates lower than what we talked about, but it’s what I have to work with so just think about it and call me back. No rush’. Guess what? In less than an hour Joe called me back and said yes. Why? Time. He had time to process the information offline and in private, throw a small tantrum, but then settle down, think things through, and get his wife’s input (which I knew would be key because she wanted him working) and ultimately get back to me with a rational answer rather than an emotional one. ‘This is lower than I usually work for, but I don’t have anything else going on right now, so yes I’m in’. When you take the pressure off and give candidates time to process your patience will almost always pay off.

So if you didn’t catch it here’s the magic phrase, ‘Think about it and call me back. No rush’. Try it and I hope that helps in your tough candidate conversations about money”.

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