If you find that establishing an ideal salary range and then negotiating with a candidate to fall within that range is your least favorite part of hiring and recruitment, you’re not alone. According to a recent article published by The Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM), salary negotiations can be the most pivotal – and potentially messy and unpredictable – part of the hiring process, especially if the employer desperately needs to fill a position. No matter which party is more motivated to complete the recruitment process, reaching a fair and equitable agreement with your new hire will help ensure a long and successful tenure at your business or organization.

According to Susan Heathfield, a consultant cited by SHRM, the most important question to ask before you begin the recruitment process is: “How badly do you need this candidate?” She cautions that an employer that is too needy may too quickly capitulate on a higher salary or wage that may ultimately be unaffordable in the long run or may be drastically disproportionate to your other employees, and either situation could lead to a premature employment separation or even a morale crisis among the rest of your team. Other experts cited by SHRM also mention the problems associated with either party failing to discuss an acceptable salary or salary range too early in the recruitment process.

It is very important to take a calculated but reasoned approach to salary negotiations, and by establishing a salary that is reasonable and fair to both candidate and employer, both parties will be more likely to maintain a long and prosperous tenure of employment. It is a bad idea to treat salary negotiations as a competition or an opportunity to try and “snag” a qualified candidate for less than a fair wage or salary, and it is also a bad idea to treat salary negotiations as off-limits until the final stages of the recruitment – establish early in the process whether or not you’re on the same “page” when it comes to salary, and hold firm to the reasonable range that you’ve established based on market forces. Finally, be sure to communicate to the candidate what benefits, if any, you are offering in addition to the wage or salary, as a good benefits package can increase the perceived (and actual) “total rewards” for the candidate.