Employers are careful when they make job offers today. And some, for a variety of reasons are also crafty in their process. Novice jobseekers may find that they are at a distinct disadvantage if they are unprepared when assessing the job offer.
Especially when a jobseeker is unemployed, it is especially difficult to pass up an offer to go back to work—even if the offer is unfair with regard to pay.
Not too long ago I wrote about a client who spoke to a recruiter who in turn spoke to the hiring company and they agreed on the salary range for the position, which was between $75,000 and $85,000 for a senior position in manufacturing.
After further scrutiny, my client began the interviewing process. He would be overseeing 50 employees during the first shift, and report directly to the General Manager.
The interview process included discussions with other managers that had similar responsibilities as well as time with the General Manager.
The job seemed like a good fit: the people seemed personable, processes were in place; the shop was clean and the new machinery sparkled. The internal Human Resource Director was easy to speak to, and my client believed they hit it off. He expected an offer.
Within two hours of the interview, the offer came: His shift would be 7 PM to 7 AM, six days a week, $18 an hour. (Huh?)
My client was aghast and I was livid.
During the interview, the internal HR professional clearly stated the salary range and that the position was for first shift. Both of these changed when the offer was made.
The change in the offer made the company and the entire process suspect.
My client called the recruiter and indicated, “Thank you for forwarding the offer from the company. I am delighted that they believe that I am a good match for this position. Unfortunately, the offer was not what we discussed and it is not acceptable. Again, thank you for considering me for this position. Is there room for negotiation?”
Economic challenges have been especially difficult in the construction industry. Bit-by-bit it has picked up and finally there seems to b some traction— at least here in the Northeast U.S.
A client was working at a national do-it-yourself home improvement chain. He was the manager in charge of residential projects. He had to find his own customers from shoppers who entered the store, convince them to let the company take care of their home improvements, draw up quotes, negotiate the terms with the customer, and then manage the project by hiring subcontractors and following through with customers to ensure they were fully satisfied.
His pay was 100% commission and he was getting a LOT of flack from the company because he wasn’t bringing in enough revenue.
He applied for a job with a semi-national residential construction firm that was moving into the state. Through the interview process, he was asked repeatedly what salary he was looking for. Against my advice, he consistently gave his current salary of $60K. They sealed the deal.
He now works 12 to 14 hour days, six days a week. He moves from one site to another and goes non-stop all day. AND, there is a two-year non-compete clause in his contract.
Last week, he texted me and asked if he could start looking for a different job. Unfortunately, the two-year non-compete is comprehensive. He would have to leave the only industry he knows. His best move at this point is to prove his worth in the company and move up the food chain to a more reasonable position.
What went wrong?
First, my client was desperate to get out of his current situation. He was concerned that he was going to be fired because he wasn’t making the numbers.
We all know what it’s like to be in an unreasonable situation and desperation can make us over-eager to leave. Also, it’s quite a nice contrast when a current employer is putting on the pressure and a potential employer is offering a way out. It’s nice to feel wanted!
My client was so concerned that he might lose the offer that he simply gave the lowest salary that he thought would work for him. He did not believe that the market value for the position he was accepting was between $90K and $95K.
The employer (to his shame) gave an unfair offer and took unfair advantage of this employee and the consequence is that loyalty and trust has disintegrated.
There are two fundamental concerns here that every jobseeker should address before he or she interviews for a position.
- The desperation that my client felt caused him to focus on his need to get away from his current employer, rather than the value he was brining to the new company.
- He did not check the current market value for the position.
Once you have made it through the interview process, the waiting time can be excruciating. Finally, you receive a phone call, email, or letter and you find out if they want to hire you… or not. The situation is challenging regardless of the news. Whether you receive an offer or a rejection, emotions are running high.
- “Thank you for the job offer! I’m delighted that you are confident that I am the right person.”
- Ask about the benefits.
- Request a day to review the offer.
- Discuss the offer with a professional or someone who is knowledgeable.
Assessing job offers:
- Is the job a good fit?
- Do you enjoy the work that you will perform?
- Will the compensation meet your financial needs?
- Is there an acceptable work-life balance?
- Is there a way to be released from the contract without career or legal ramifications.
The next step is negotiation and agreement on the terms of the contract.
For additional information on this part of the process consider the following articles:
- Employment Resources: Job Negotiation Resources
- Forward Motion offers Negotiation Coaching if you are at that stage in your search. Contact Us
Accepting a job offer:
Once you have agreed on the terms of the contract, it is time to accept the offer. Consider the following tips.
- Do not accept the offer until every detail of the agreement has been established and confirmed. Once you have spoken these words, it is over. There will be no additional changes to the terms of your contract.
- Response: “Thank you. I am happy to accept your offer.”
Questions to ask:
- “What do I need to do prior to the first day of work?”
- “What do I need to bring on the first day of work?”
- If you are unsure of the dress code, ask about appropriate attire.
- Ask any questions about company policy and procedures regarding acceptable technology, etc.
For example: some companies do not allow cell phones with cameras on the premises, etc.
- “Thank you for the offer, I enjoyed my time with your company, but I will need to find something that…
– meets my financial needs.” …OR
– better suites my career goals.”
- “If another position surfaces, I’d be grateful if you would consider me.”
Do you need an interview?
Consider a Forward Motion Differentiation Workshop, where you will learn how to navigate the online application systems and differentiate yourself both on your résumé and in your interview.
Need a job offer? Click this link to learn more. Forward Motion Differentiation Workshop.