When the powers that be are tightening the belt, the option of throwing money at top picks and existing staff goes right out the window. But this doesn’t mean that all bargaining power is lost.
Salary is huge, don’t get me wrong. For most candidates, it’s the top consideration. When there’s not a lot of wiggle room in the salary department, however, these factors can also be effective in sweetening the deal:
Signing bonus. The signing bonus can be very seductive. Say, for instance, the candidate is seeking a $3,000 higher salary than your company can afford, but $1,500 is in the budget. While considerably less than he was after, that chunk of change upfront can be pretty persuasive and even feed the candidate’s instinct for instant gratification.
Flex schedule. Research has shown that a flexible working schedule is among the most desirable benefits. This could mean job sharing, telecommuting options or flexible start times. The bottom line is, accommodation is mighty enticing.
Deferred salary review/increase. There’s little telling how fat the company purse could be in six months or a year. Assure the candidate that you will revisit the idea of a raise after a reasonably short timeframe or make the promised raise dependent on his meeting certain goals.
Guaranteed regular bonuses. Increasing the candidate’s earnings potential through scheduled, performance-based bonuses: it’s great for the company (no attainment, no green) and it’s great for the candidate (do what you’d probably do anyway, get the cash a bit farther down the road).
Separation benefits. A safety net is attractive in itself. If your company should be forced to downsize in the future (and who’s immune anymore?), staff can be comforted knowing that, should they find themselves on the chopping block, they’re also in store for a nice severance package or outplacement service.
More vacation time. Work-life balance is also top of mind for many job seekers. Depending on the candidate’s needs, offering more paid time off in lieu of higher salary could be the very thing that tips the scales in your company’s favor.