Learn how to handle unexpected situations and common concerns. Watch Christine demonstrate how to respond if an employer says no to your counter offer for a higher salary amount. Learn what to listen for and what to say in response. Also see how you can decline an offer after you've already accepted it. Keep your reputation in tact by following simple strategies
- So you successfully made it through the job offer negotiation process. Or so you thought. Although most negotiations result in you starting your new job, there are a few instances that may catch you off guard. I'm going to present a few potential unexpected situations that I've seen put a wrench in negotiations or even damage someone's reputation. Let's start with the most common one. What if the hiring manager says no to your salary counteroffer? Making a counteroffer can seem awkward enough, but to then receive a no to what you've asked for can feel not only disappointing, but also discouraging.
However, it's not necessarily the end of the road. I advise people to listen carefully to what's behind the no. Some employers will be very direct and explain exactly why they're unable to increase the salary offer. It could be budget restrictions or even timing, while others may just come back with something more vague, offering little to no explanation. Let's look at the first scenario, where an explanation is offered.
- We're all very excited about the possibility of having you join our team. I'm sorry to say, though, I wasn't able to get the higher salary amount that you asked for. It was simply over our maximum budget for this role. - Well, thanks for letting me know. I'm really excited about joining the team and I understand about the budget. I believe my skills are a perfect fit for this role, and I wanna find a way to accept the offer. - Well we want the same thing. - Do you think that maybe you can make up the difference in the form of a sign-on bonus? And I'd also be interested in learning more about when I'll be up for review and eligible for a salary increase.
- In this scenario, there's probably no point in continuing to negotiate base pay. However, if you're really not happy with the total offer, this is the time to ask about other negotiation points, whether it be a sign-on bonus or even a promise to be reviewed at a later date. Let's take a look at the second scenario, where no explanation is offered. - Holly, I'm sorry, but we were unable to increase our original salary offer.
- Thanks for letting me know. I'm excited about joining the team, but I think my skills are perfectly suited for this position, and based on my research, are worth 90,000. - In this scenario, the candidate makes a statement that will prompt the person making the offer to respond. The worst thing they can say is another no. In many cases, however, I've seen the company come back with something closer to what the candidate asked for.
If they can't do that, I've also seen them initiate an alternative way to make up the difference, whether that be a sign-on bonus or even consideration for a raise in the near-future. Another unexpected situation is when the company rescinds their offer even if you've already accepted it. If you read the fine print in your offer letter, you'll notice statements like "at-will employment" and "depended upon mandatory conditions for the position" like a credit check, a reference check, or drug test.
Although a job offer often looks like a legal contract, it isn't. That means that the employer can change the terms or rescind it altogether in the negotiation process. So why would an employer do this? The most common reason is if after accepting the position, you don't pass their background check. Another reason that's less common but does happen has to do with how you respond and how you communicate. I remember a candidate who, after going through our lengthy interview process, was presented with a strong offer for exactly what he asked for.
I then gave him 48 hours to review and respond. Even after following up with him when the 48 hours had expired, he hadn't responded. After another day, he called me and asked for more money. When I asked him why he was no longer happy with the amount he originally asked for, he told me he did some networking, and now believed he was worth more. These were red flags for me, which I had shared with the hiring manager. Even though we may have been able to go a little higher on salary for the right candidate, we agreed that this candidate was either not reliable or not being forthright with us.
Therefore, we rescinded the offer altogether. Finally, and maybe the most uncomfortable scenario, what if you want to decline an offer after you've already accepted it. So let's start with why you'd wanna do this. Chances are you received a better offer from another company, your current employer counteroffered after you resigned, or you just simply changed your mind. You're typically under no legal obligation and can decline at any time.
However, it's regarded as highly unprofessional, and can damage your reputation if not handled well. To avoid this, I recommend immediately contacting the employer, preferably by phone, and explain why you've changed your mind. Let's take a look at what this conversation might look like. - Hi, Holly, how can I help you? - Hi, Christine. I wanna talk to you about the position I recently accepted. After a little more consideration, I've decided to turn down the offer.
- I'm really disappointed to hear that. Last we spoke, you said you were really excited to join the team. We've already started making plans for your start date. - I understand your disappointment. You offered me a great opportunity, so it was a difficult decision to make. - Do you mind sharing with me why you changed your mind? - After giving it more thought, I decided to accept another position that I believe is the better fit for my skillset, but I wanted to personally thank you and apologize for any inconvenience this may cause.
I'd like to stay connected if you're open to it. - Most job offer negotiations go as planned, but sometimes situations arise that put you in the middle of an unexpected and possibly uncomfortable situation. What's most important is that you're aware of what could happen, and are prepared to handle the situation, even if it happens to you.
- Analyze a position and salary range.
- Define what you want from a new position.
- Evaluate a job offer.
- Identify tactics and myths for negotiating salary.
- Prepare for negotiating in special situations.
- Assess the best way to give notice at your old job.