As a small business owner, you probably have your hands on the hiring process. And for that reason, you should understand the ins and outs of negotiating with job candidates.

Once you find the perfect fit for an open position, it’s time to make a formal offer. While it’s your hope that the candidate accepts the terms and conditions, this doesn’t always happen. There may come a point when you need to negotiate.

There’s no right or wrong way to negotiate an employment contract with a candidate, but there are some tips you can follow to move yourself in the right direction:

  • Keep an open mind: Don’t go into the process with a closed mind, as doing so will only add tension and stress on both parties. Keep an open mind so that you give negotiations an honest chance of working out. Flexibility is key to success.
  • Hear out the candidate: Rather than go on the offensive, gain a better understanding of what the person wants to see in their employment contract. You may learn that it’s nothing you’re opposed to, which allows you to quickly bring an end to negotiations and begin the onboarding process.
  • Focus on more than money: While a higher salary may come into play, keep in mind that there are other things you can negotiate on. This includes but is not limited to benefits, stock options and vacation time.
  • Take a step back: You don’t have to work everything out during the first conversation. Take a step back if you’re unable to find common ground the first time around. This will give both of you the opportunity to cool off and rethink what comes next.

When you take this basic approach to negotiating an employment contract with a candidate, you position yourself to reach an agreement.

In the event that you’re at a standoff and neither party is willing to budge, it may be time to move on. Explain your position to the candidate without putting blame on them. Sometimes, no matter how badly you want to come to terms on an agreement, it just doesn’t happen.