Managing a job offer isn’t always as easy as initially thought. It’s an important decision with several personal factors to consider, but ultimately, it should be an exciting time for the individual. It’s expected for those going through the process to receive (sometimes unwarranted) advice from friends and family, which will typically go one of two ways; either help you make your final decision or make you question new factors you hadn’t thought about before. In this guide, we provide a framework for making the right choice and ways to help you achieve the best outcome for your career.
It’s important to be transparent about your expectations throughout any process with regards to seniority or title, salary, and other conditions such as flexible working. If not disclosed in the early stages, you run the risk of it becoming a challenge and uncomfortable if these are not met at offer stage. If you are looking to amend or include something retrospectively, make sure you consider the perspective of your prospective employer and ask with empathy and an open mind.
Don’t make unreasonable demands. If you’re offered less than what you were expecting/market and you would like to have the conversation, the first port of call is to speak to your recruiter (if you have been working with one). They will be able to give you context around the offer (budget, promotion cycles, future salary increases), and give you their opinion as to whether there is flexibility. The recruiter has the relationship with the business and is best placed to have the initial conversation.
At this stage, it’s important to discuss with your recruiter what it would take for you to accept. Most importantly, your request needs to be reasonable, and you need to provide a solid justification as to why.
If you have applied directly to a company, you should ideally try gather some intel about the context of the offer from the person who delivered it to you; we’d always advise you to take this away and reflect before reverting with your bottom line.
Ensure that any argument for more money, a better title or flexibility is based on fact – your demonstrable capabilities and market / internal context. Your personal situation (wanting to buy a property, baby on the way) is not relevant leverage.
To negotiate or not?
Negotiation is often a tactic which your peers encourage you to do at the tail end of an offer process. Whilst this methodology has its place in some business situations, it puts you at risk of losing the offer or diminishing the trust between you and your future employer.
If the offer is in line with your initial expectations, and the business are potentially paying the going rate to secure you – accept it!
- Other offers
Having more than one offer on the table is a favourable position to be in, but also stressful. There are many factors that will play a part in the decision, and these will all be specific to you.
It’s important to be honest with your interviewers in each recruitment process with regards to other roles and offers. Springing new information (like a looming job offer) on your potential future employer at the last moment won’t be well received. When you decide which offer you’re going to take, be timely when delivering the news to the firm you decline as you may want to work with that firm or person in the future.
- Leveraging jobs offers
It’s easy to fall in the trap of wanting to leverage job offers against each other – undoubtably money is an extremely important part of the job offer but should not be used as a tactic as this will undermine everything you said about your wider motivations for taking a role (unless of course you were clear that money was the main driver). Inconsistency will impact trust and may lead to an offer being rescinded.
- Buy backs
The last year has seen unprecedented levels of attrition within many companies. Consequently, firms are sometimes desperate to “buy back” their employees. Promises made will usually include the offer of a higher salary and a promise of more responsibility.
Beware the buy back offer. Whilst flattering, this is a temporary fix for your current employer, and they will have noted your lack of commitment and motivation to work for them; this will go against you when the market turns or when they’ve bought the time to find a suitable replacement for you. You should stay strong during these conversations and consider:
- Your reasons for leaving
You started looking as your role was not satisfying your needs – you weren’t aligned on promotions, you didn’t enjoy the culture, there was an unhealthy work environment, etc. If your business is looking to buy you back, they will inevitably paint the perfect picture as to what they will change and will promise that if you stay, those changes will be made. An unfortunate statistic is that employees who are bought back, will likely find themselves on the market again after six months
At this stage in the process, the trust has already been lost in the relationship. After all, you’ve just told them you were leaving and are now only staying because they offered more money.
What is the motivation for buying you back? Why did it take you leaving for them to consider increasing your salary or remit of responsibilities – is this sincere?
In summary, being clear and consistent in communicating your situation throughout the interview process is crucial, whether that’s to your recruiter or interviewer. You don’t want to end up burning bridges with someone you might come across again in the future.