How to be Successful in Recruitment Part 05 - Negotiation

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How to be Successful in Recruitment Part 05

- Negotiation

Negotiation is an interesting topic and one that gets mentioned a lot in recruitment circles. Typically those discussion go along the lines of

‘I bet they will want to negotiation on the fee’s’ or

‘make sure you get a good deal’

Neither of those types of conversation tends to be very helpful but they are probably the most common types of discussions you will hear about negotiation in recruitment.

So let’s take a more practical look at it. And I think the first thing I really want to make clear is just how important negotiation is to your recruitment success.

Think about this for a second. If you, over the next year, maintain the same level of quality of work in every area of the recruitment process from business development right through to managing counter offers then you would achieve more or less the same results 12 months from now as you are at the moment.

Naturally it is to be hoped that you are going to get better at some aspect of the recruitment process over the next twelve months but the above scenario is hypothetically halting your personal development.

So let’s now factor in negotiation to the equation. If you improve your negotiation skills by 5% and yet still don’t improve any of your other skills for the whole year, then you still bill approximately 5% more after 12 months.

It’s not that you do any more work its simply that you get paid more for the work that you do.

And that is the reality of negotiation. It acts like a mathematical modifier against your recruitment achievements. Your recruitment work is multiplied against your negotiation skills. And that means that the smaller (i.e. weaker) your negotiation skills the smaller the multiplier and the less money you bill for your company and the less money you personally make for yourself.

This is all hypothetical naturally but if I can make up some figures to ‘prove’ my point:

Consultant A places candidates worth a total of £500,000 in (billable) salaries in 12 months

Consultant B places candidates worth a total of £500,000 in (billable) salaries in 12 months

Yes they place the same value of candidates as based on billable salaries but (and here is the scary bit)

Consultant A has an average fee of 21% so they bill: £500,000 x .21 = £105,000

Consultant B has an average fee of 18% so they bill: £500,000 x .18 = £90,000

That’s £15,000 difference in billings over a year.

How much would that be worth to you in commission?

Now I know everyone reading this knows that the higher your fee the more money you but whilst we all recognise it as a reality how many of us have taken it to heart and acted upon that knowledge?

For example how many of you have stopped to consider your average fee rate over the year?

I remember working with a consultant many years ago who’s average billing was 23%. I suggested to him that he makes that the minimum he would accept from a client in the new financial year and full credit to him he did that and he increased his billings and his average fee rate during the course of that next financial year.

Was it easy? No. Was it worth it? Yes I'm pretty sure that new suit, and other things he bought coupled with his overall sense of satisfaction made the effort well worthwhile. And it all stemmed from taking an honest look at his negotiation figures.

I blogged on Monday about how the truth will set you free and whatever your personal negotiation truth is I would urge you to understand it, accept it and then plan to improve it.

The level of your recruitment success literally depends on it!

Until next time; be successful! 

Stephen Hart
Development Specialist,

PS This originally appeared, in a very slightly modified form on

PPS I haven't yet posted over the other four articles in the series but I will do shortly ...  

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