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Job Offers: Is Everybody Happy?

 

When an employer extends a job offer, and the candidate accepts, everyone should be happy, right? But how happy? If the candidate gets all their financial desires met, will the employer feel squeezed? And if the employer feels they stole the candidate for a great price, does the new employee start work squirming and wincing over what they left on the table?

Reality is that compromise by both sides is a good thing. Think of the checks at old-time diners that sometimes had a smiley-face rating scale on the back, like the picture above. You could rate your “experience” at that meal by circling the appropriate face. All restaurants hoped that patrons would circle the broad grin, the 5thsmiley face, and honestly, all the patrons would hope for that same thing – that they enjoyed their experience enough to be grinning from ear to ear.
In the world of employment, compensation package negotiations can be delicate. The candidate is at his/her most vulnerable, especially if they are leaving an established job to take a new position. The company has a budget, parity issues with other people in similar roles, constraints of policy, market conditions, etc.
We find that both parties sometimes have unrealistic expectations!

Earlier this year, CareerBuilder surveyed over 200 staffing professionals on a number of issues: 67% of those staffing professionals said that job candidates’ salary expectations often exceed the employers offers, and further, that when candidates decline offers, 29% of the time, it is due to compensation expectations not being met.

From the candidate side, we find that recruited “passive” candidates, who have not changed jobs often in their career, sometimes believe that being recruited will result in a 20% increase in compensation. At the mid to upper management level, that would sometimes put them in a comp band above their prospective boss! Since the recession started, we’ve been finding that many candidates are in fact making lateral moves (in salary) more often than you might think. So many people are experiencing job dissatisfaction, and some find themselves expecting a consolidation or RIF at their company. This makes people very flexible when they consider alternatives.

On the other hand, employers often expect candidates to “fall in love” with the new company, and join just to be associated with such a fine new employer. They sometimes treat recruited candidates the same as “applicants” and fail to recognize that a recruited candidate whose job is secure does expect an incentive to make a job change. A low-ball offer sometimes results in an outright rejection.

Extreme stances by either an employer or a candidate cause a stalemate. We focus on helping each party understand the other’s position, expectations, and limitations. Most often, both sides move a little, and both end up circling the 4th smiley face – signaling a relatively good level of satisfaction with the deal. Nobody is grinning from ear to ear. When both parties are smiling, even a little, the odds are better that the right deal has been made.