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Reasonable and unreasonable demands in the recruitment process

Being a recruiter, sometimes your negotiation skills need to be on a par with international diplomats. Communicating between a client who wants the ideal fit for their organisation and a job seeker who wants to make sure they’re moving for all the right reasons can be a challenge.

So when a job seeker starts making unreasonable demands, your negotiation skills can be thoroughly tested. While you can enter a certain amount of negotiation on the initial contract, there may come a time when the candidate lawyer simply asks too much.

Reasonable requests
Firstly, not all demands are unreasonable. Fair demands might include asking about flexible working, or enquiring whether the recruiting organisation might support the future employee to gain a further professional qualification.

We are constantly telling our recruiting clients how difficult the recruitment market is right now to find the ‘right recruits’ and therefore we suggest clients are as accommodating as they can be to requests. But this is the key word – job seekers need to make requests rather than demands.

The emphasis here is on the word ‘requests.’ So if a working parent asks for hours that mean they can pick up their children from school, this is something that potentially can be accommodated by them making up the hours elsewhere or sacrificing some of their salary.

Of course, not every employer can accommodate these requests, but it’s important to be honest about the reasons why.

Dealing with unreasonable demands
It is when demands become unreasonable that ‘positive’ interview process can suddenly take a turn for the worse. Unrealistic demands generally refer to unrealistic expectations around salary, promotion and bonuses, or things that simply go against the company’s policy.

To help manage expectations everyone needs to know what they are and how important they are to any given situation. The issue is that what one person thinks is reasonable another might not.

Recently a lawyer was given an above market rate offer to join an organisation but wanted some
home-working due to the hour commute (they only had a 15 minute commute in their current role). Understandably the recruiting client didn’t feel that a commute of 60 minutes warranted home working. The offer was rejected.

The end result
Everyone has to be realistic. Recruiting clients need to come with the right salary for the role and expect some ‘individual’ requests dependent on the applicants. On the flip side lawyers looking to make a move need to be clear on their own must-haves from the start.

Luckily most of the lawyers and clients that we deal with at BCL Legal are both reasonable and rational. The ones that aren’t most probably won’t listen to us or agree with us and those we find hard to help!

For more information, please contact Tom Fleet at BCL Legal.

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