When making an offer, if you haven’t done the groundwork you’ll feel a bit blind. So, ask up front what the candidate’s current salary situation is. Don’t be fobbed off by generalist terms: “well it’s around £x in total.” What you want to know is: Basic salary? Bonus or commission (how is it made up? when is it paid? Is it realistic? What is the payment history like? How much depends on you and how much depends on the team / company / group etc.?) Pension? What do you pay and what does your employer pay? Health? Dental? Life Insurance? Car? Car Allowance? Holidays and any other benefits that the candidate values. You want to know it all and don’t pussy foot around – just ask.
Ask outright what the candidate’s expectations are and if they are wildly out of alignment, tell them that up front. They need to know and they may well be showing a number to open the negotiation. Challenge the salary expectation if appropriate and reset it below what you could offer and then when you make the offer come in above what they agreed to. People appreciate generosity even if it is a little managed.
What you really want to ensure is that what you have to offer in terms of a role is what your candidate wants first and foremost. You should probably expect to pay a premium to get someone to do a job they won’t see as development so bear that in mind when you’re drawing a job specification up.
Once you have all the information. Make the offer. If you’ve done the groundwork it’ll be accepted outright. The more you have to negotiate the less you’ve done up front. It’s a sign.