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How to become a much better recruitment negotiator

By February 4, 2022No Comments

This is a guest post from tech, business and professional development writer Luna Nikolai.

Following a hugely transformative two years, the recruitment industry is facing unprecedented times.

Large numbers of workers have either quit jobs or switched careers as a result of pandemic turmoil – and many more are still planning on doing so. Now commonly labelled “The Great Resignation,” this wave of changes stands to create considerable cost implications to business owners.

In a previous article ‘How to Beat the Great Resignation’ we offered advice on how being open, honest and inclusive with your employees is crucial when managing staff retention. Whilst preventative action is important to build within the foundations of any business, the issue remains that we’re in the midst of a difficult situation, demanding the matching of shifting job expectations with suitable employees.

It’s also worth noting that a widespread lack of specialist skills and experience has only served to exacerbate recruitment difficulties. According to a Hays Recruitment survey reported by The Guardian, more than three-quarters of employers (out of 22,700 surveyed) “experienced skill shortages in the last year.” Of course this concern has a significant effect on recruiters as employers seek any and all viable solutions.

So how can you become a better recruitment negotiator in order to increase your client portfolio and placement figures?

Create a Comfortable Atmosphere

Prior to any negotiation, all parties involved should feel comfortable. Accordingly, creating an atmosphere within which your prospect or client feels at ease is important. Being personable and finding common ground to discuss will establish a familiar footing before you push forward with what you wish to achieve from the meeting.

Presenting yourself as likeable will place you in good stead, and limit the risk of any friction should the negotiations become tricky.

Practice Tactical Empathy


Employing tactical empathy into your negotiation process serves to build good faith and create an upper footing over your negotiation partner. It involves a variety of skills to achieve positive outcomes and is widely used in many negotiation scenarios. 

This strategy is ascribed to career negotiator Chris Voss, whose book ‘Never Split The Difference’ is detailed by Scribd as revolving largely around the use of tactical empathy in negotiation. Concentrating on feelings and emotions, it’s suggested that identifying any negative or positive emotion and reacting accordingly will help maintain control and trust (deactivating any negativity and magnifying any positivity).

Reassurance that your intentions are to be as honest and open as possible should also be presented early on in negotiations.

Recognise Expectations

Imagining the negotiation course from both sides and fully understanding what your negotiation partners’ expectations might be are very beneficial thought processes to consider. 

Placing yourself in the mind of the prospect is an idea we’re borrowing from the book ‘Getting More’ by Stuart Diamond. The general idea is that it’s very easy for a recruiter on the business-side to operate solely from a perceived perch of authority – forgetting to take into account what the candidate may hope to achieve. 

With focus and attention drawn to what the other party wants, however, you can improve your chances of achieving a successful outcome.

Establish a Win-Win

When building a business relationship that you want to see flourish, it’s essential that both sides achieve satisfaction following negotiations. In order to ensure that you reach an agreement that is mutually satisfying, you may have to pull back on applying too much pressure during the negotiation.

With this in mind, any financial discussions should be opened with figures different from what you’d settle for, so that you have room to “haggle” with clients or candidates. Even if some less favourable compromises have had to be reached,  you still need to benefit from repeat business. You most certainly do not want them to leave, not wishing to pursue any further dealings with you.

There are many strategies you can employ to obtain the best negotiation results, and we hope the few we’ve selected assist you in some way to achieving your recruiting goals.

Luna Nikolai is a business school student who dreams of launching her own business in the near future. 

In the meantime, she is working part time and writing in a freelance capacity on a range of business, education, and professional development topics.