How to best negotiate salary offers with qualified candidates

Filling a position within your company can be stressful and time consuming. Once you’ve weeded through endless resumes and applications, interviewed multiple applicants and have found the person you believe is the best fit, you’ll want to seal the deal and make the candidate an acceptable offer. Following are some tips about making that offer and the negotiation process that follows.

When making an offer of employment, you want one that not only benefits the company, but also satisfies the candidate’s needs. Consider the value of the person you have chosen. Determine the job’s salary range based on benchmarking similar jobs in similar industries. Then choose your offer somewhere in the middle. Avoid asking the candidate what they are currently making. There’s typically no way for you to determine what they tell you is fact, so there is no point in doing that.

Don’t start out low-balling the offer. This will undoubtedly create an awkward negotiation process from the start. Worse yet, if the candidate is truly perfect for the job and accepts the low offer, you run the risk of losing them within a short amount of time. They may realize their value is higher and they will continue to seek other opportunities.

On the flip side, when you’ve found that perfect candidate don’t jump the gun and offer them the highest wage possible during the negotiation process. Ultimately, the candidate may make a counter offer and that leaves no room for further discussion. This will make you appear inflexible and you run a bigger risk of losing the candidate if they are considering other offers.

If you’ve reached a roadblock during negotiations and still have no decision, offer other perks. A signing bonus may be the tipping point for the candidate. Additional vacation time outside of the standard company policy can also be used in negotiations (as long as it does not become a discriminatory practice in hiring). If your company allows flexible scheduling, or allows employees who have proven themselves to work from home at times, mention these earnable perks to the candidate.

While balancing your company’s interests with the value of the candidate, be open to discussing their counter offers. What may seem greedy or nitpicky to you at first blush may be valid requests based on the candidate’s personal needs and value of experience.
Consider the candidate’s rationale before making a final decision.

Lastly, if you or your managers need help as you negotiate with a new employee, or want to discuss your overall employment policies, contact the experts at BCN Services. We’re here to help!




Frank Lewandowski, Partnership Manager

Consider impact of daylight-saving time for hourly worker

Many people are familiar with the axiom “spring forward and fall back” to help them remember in which direction to change the clock during daylight-saving time transitions.

However, questions may linger for employers about pay practices for those employees that are “on the clock” during the time change.

Non-exempt employees, who are generally paid on an hourly basis, are entitled to be paid for the hours they actually work. For example, in the fall when employees may only be scheduled for an eight hour shift but end up working nine hours due to the time change, they must be paid for nine hours. In the spring, if a normal work schedule constitutes eight hours, but the employee works only seven hours due to the time change, the employer need only pay seven hours of time worked.

Some companies may decide to pay a full eight hours so that their employees don’t lose regularly expected compensation, but there is no obligation for them to do so.

Employers and scheduling supervisors should not “balance out” time over the year in which an employee works during the time change in the spring and in the fall. Hours should be paid within the time period in which they are worked.

Other questions about compensation or pay practices? Our professional staff at BCN can help. Call us at 800-891-9911 if we can assist you and your business.


Sue Kester, HR Manager

Consider policies for off duty emails

Recent technology advances have made it easier to view work-related documents while away from the office. Employees may have access to e-mail or other work-related items through their phones, personal computers, or tablets.

So the question arises: Is reading e-mails while off duty considered hours worked or wages owed? The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) defines hours worked as “all the time during which an employee is required to be on the employer’s premises, on duty, or at a prescribed workplace.”

The FLSA addresses what it considers substantial duties versus “de minimus” (or minimal, trifling) activities. If an employee’s activities outside of the workplace are considered substantial, then the company should provide a method of recording those hours to be counted as time worked. Work that is not substantial in nature would be something that can be done at a later time, say while you are in the office as opposed to at home, such as checking e-mails.

It is, therefore, generally understood that an employee checking e-mails from a personal device while away from the office is not required to be compensated for these activities. As with any practice however, an employer needs to be consistent. If an employer choses to pay one person for e-mail activity away from the office, then an employer would need to continue that practice going forward with all employees.

In 2015, there was a court ruling favoring the employer when employees filed a claim based on work-type activities they were engaged in, but not compensated for. The judge ruled that these were not substantial activities and that the employees could have waited until they were back in the office to complete the tasks.

Employers have the ability to make this arrangement clear to their employees by having two types of policies in place:
• One addressing how to report work that isn’t recorded in the usual way and
• Another, considering personal devices that specifically addresses when work should, and should not, be accessed through a personal device.

As always, if you have any questions about this topic or other questions about your corporate policies, contact BCN Services for clarification and assistance.


Kari Stanley

Kari Stanley, HR Generalist