with John Serpa, Alicia Long, and Steve Dufort
John [00:00:00] So, OK, I was offered a job, maybe verbally, right? They gave me an offer and it was a phone call. I haven’t seen anything come across my email or in my hand. What do I do? What’s next on the phone call?
Alicia [00:00:15] Follow up with a call, I never received an email that offer in an email. Can you verify the email address for me? Can you confirm that you sent? And asked for the offer.
John [00:00:23] Yeah, I’ve heard of things falling through the cracks. And I just wonder, you know, what do you do? Just give him a call?
Alicia [00:00:30] I mean, I’ve forgotten to send an offer letter. Just slipped my mind. It happens. It just give me a minute. I forgot to do this. So let me go ahead and send that out right now.
Steve [00:00:42] So I totally agree And I think the business conditions can change. And especially now in a in a pandemic and an unprecedented time, there are chances that companies can make a verbal offer and then don’t follow up with that. And I think most companies take the stance that they made a verbal offer, that’s an offer and they will follow through with it written as well. But I think if it comes down to should a candidate stop their job search when they give a verbal offer until they close the door and other companies, absolutely not follow up until everyone offers in hand before they before they close their doors.
John [00:01:23] Well, think of other companies, I’m interviewing and negotiating. I know I’m on the cusp of getting that offer. Do I say I have another offer on the table that’s maybe more lucrative or better benefits? Is that is that OK to do so?
Alicia [00:01:40] One of the questions that I ask candidates is, are you currently interview with anybody else? You know, so that I’m aware that just in case, if I make this person an offer, they could come back and say that somebody else made an offer as well. And that happens. It happens absolutely.
John [00:01:56] Absolutely. Yes. But is it OK to say yes? I’ve got to tell you what about as a bargaining chip, though, if I’m saying it because I think I could maybe make you match the offer because you just think I’m just the greatest thing since sliced bread. I mean, you’ve got to have me everyone’s making offers for me. Is that is that taboo? Is that would you consider that negative?
Alicia [00:02:19] So I have to give the example that I just mentioned. I made an offer was today, Monday. So I made an offer last Wednesday to somebody and I asked the question, is the interview with anybody else? You said no. So I made the offer last Wednesday. He came back and said, hey, you know, can I come back for more? And I said, I’m sorry. This is what our maximum is. We’ll have another offer on the table, you know, and they’re offering me this. OK, I’m sorry. This is my maximum that I’m able to give you, you know, if we can’t before we can move forward. Well, let me think about it. OK, then he came back and said, I really think that I can give this more money, unfortunately, I have to rescind my offer and I already told you what I could do. I can’t go any higher. This is my stopping point. So if he was trying to pull a card or something, it failed on his side. So unless you really have another offer, I wouldn’t pull that card.
Steve [00:03:19] I think. I think it’s risky if you play it as a bargaining chip. I think it’s different if it’s a very genuine. So a candidate truly has two offer because they’re trying to decide. And then usually where I go from there is OK, let’s look at the total package, because often a candidate will come back and say, hey, I’ve got an offer that’s better. OK, tell me about it. Well, they’re offering this salary. It’s five thousand more than salary. OK, what about bonus? What about 401k? What’s the health care plan deductible look like? Tell me more, because I think there’s two rules I would play by their if I were the candidate. One is have an apples to apples comparison. So really understand the two offers because I think you can get yourself as a candidate into a little bit of trouble looking confused because your base salary happens to be better with one offer and there’s other things that aren’t lined and actually better. And I think the other is exactly what know, at least you were both calling out that if you think somebody is just playing you and that’s not the way to start the relationship. So I think if many of us hiring managers, H.R. folks, we’ve seen a few things. So, you know, it’s one of those it’s the adage you can fool some of the people all the time and all the people some of the time that never tell people all the time. And I think it’s that. So I think it’s a real risky strategy if you’re if you’re just simply using it, using it to bargain and don’t actually have that offer.
John [00:04:57] Well, I think that I think that’s important information because veteran that may have never been in a position to negotiate might over negotiate. You know, might be thinking about, you know, things that they may have heard or rumors or something like that. Oh, you’re friend did this and it worked out great. Well, you know, it might not be the case and work for you. So if I’m going to decline and offer, what’s the best way to do that? OK, I’m just I mean, they’ve given me an offer me I had another one on the table, whatever the case may be. I mean, I know this from the inside baseball side. You know, we work we work hard to find that one person that we are finally going to give them an opportunity. A lot of ours went into that process. But in order to keep that relationship maybe intact or not to tarnish my own reputation with this company, that’s the best way to decline to offer.
Alicia [00:05:50] Goes back to the honesty thing for me. Just let them know as soon as possible, because it does take time and we do put a lot of energy into finding the right candidate. So I would like for a candidate tell me as soon as possible.
Steve [00:06:04] OK, John, here’s my rule, you declined an offer like you would break up with someone that you’re dating, because I think there’s there is a very similar analogy. So what I mean is if you go out and you have to call the person, you give them the respect to explain why you’re declining the offer. To me, that’s the professional way to do it. It’s certainly not through text. It’s not through email. So I think that’s the very simple way I look at it is the same way you’d want to be treated in a relationship. That’s how you should treat the company, the H.R. folks, the hiring manager you talk to.
John [00:06:47] So if I’m researching myself and, you know, I’m getting ready to go into this interview, I think I have everything I need. Maybe I talk to my network. I have a good idea of what region I’m looking to go to, maybe I’m in California. I want to end up in Florida. How can I actually find out the salary ranges besides just, you know, take a shot at some of the bad websites that are out there? What can I do?
Steve [00:07:15] I think you look at job postings not only for the job you’re applying for, but let’s say that job posting doesn’t have a salary range. You can look at other jobs out there that are pretty similar in that same geography. So you get similar cost of living. The other thing for veterans in particular, you’ve got this awesome network of folks they can tap into. So calling on friends who have made that transition from the military into a private industry, civilian life, that’s a great talk to those folks and get their advice.
John [00:07:53] If I decided to decline an offer and, you know, should I try to preserve that relationship for a future situation, for something that might come a with that company, and if so, how would I do that?
Alicia [00:08:07] Absolutely you want to preserve the relationship because you never know, especially in the age of Covid. And there’s so many layoffs, and job losses. You never know when you have to come back or reapply for another position. I shouldn’t say reapply, but apply for another position that a company has posted. So you definitely want to do the right thing. If you decide to decline position, give them enough time, you know, be honest about it so that if you have to come back again.
Steve [00:08:36] Yeah. Me, John, you know, my rule, it’s, you know, treat that decline like you would breaking off a romantic relationship, treat the person with respect. It’s a direct phone call. Not it’s not through text. It’s not through email because you want to leave the door open. I totally agree with Alicia. I think the chances, first of all, that you may find something with this company. Again, there’s the possibility there. And even if that’s not the case, it’s a small world. So I’m always amazed at the people I see in different companies. And I recognize and you absolutely want to maintain those relationships and leave a favorable impression with people.
John [00:09:23] I have even reached out to folks that maybe didn’t make the cut. But later on, something did come a that they were much more absolutely well suited for. And I reached out and took the step to say, hey, you know, I see you found something else. Congrats. You know, what do you think about coming and coming in at a conversation about this?
Steve [00:09:45] Oh for sure you could decline because, hey, the salary wasn’t what you expected. But just like you’re saying, John, that company may have a bigger role in the future and say, we remember this person and now we can meet their salary requirements. We’re going to we’re going to pursue that candidate.
Alicia [00:10:03] It’s a great point.
John [00:10:05] so I’ve gotten through the process and I’m on their negotiating, right. I read this amazing job posting. It was me, it spoke to me and I and I get through the interview process now I’m going deeper into that. And it turns out as I interview this company that I want to work for, I started to realize there are things about this role that are just not in there or, you know, maybe they’re happy to glad. But there are things that I know they’re going to take more of me, more resources, more time, more effort. And maybe it was listed as X, but I believe it should be more like, Y is that something that I can use to negotiate maybe a higher salary or is that something I should say that you listed this thing is not exactly what you said.
Alicia [00:10:57] So I think it’s important to do that, I just kind of brings me back to my home situation where I was just recently promoted to director, where there were certain things that were said to me that would be a part of the job. But I knew that that was not the case. And so I made those points known that, OK, this is actually what I’m going to be doing. Right. So could we go a little bit higher with this salary? Initially they told me no and I declined the position, and they came back at five minutes later and said, OK, OK, OK. So this is what you’re going to be doing and we are able to meet your salary expectations. So again, I use the word intentional earlier. I think that flows all the way through the interview process that you have to be intentional about what you want and what you’re asking for.
Steve [00:11:50] And I think John, it’s a fine line because I think if you as a candidate have been clear about your salary requirements at the beginning and then you go to renegotiate at the end, you could really jeopardize that offer. And I think you’ve got to be thoughtful about, you know, did the job description change or did in fact just kind of become more alive to you and a little more framework there? I think one of the one of the you know, I point to one of the negotiation books, I think is, is gold Never Split The Difference. And I know if you’ve heard about this. So ex FBI negotiator, just awesome book. And it talks about how in a negotiation, one of the key points he makes is you listen with intensity or intentionality with each other and you say a couple times, so listen with intensity to really understand what the other side wants and needs. So it’s that level of empathy. And I think if you have that and you get to a point where you’ve listened so intently that you realize it’s a different job than what you first thought, then I think by creating an ally of people in the organization so cautious not to create this, you know, this is not like going to buy a car on a car lot where you want friction. This is one of those negotiations where you want to create an ally in the organization and say, hey, how can I do this role for you with all these other things you’ve laid out? I’m really interested, but I may need that wasn’t my intent when I first laid out my salary requirements. So I think it’s a fine line. And also, the other thing to point out is just it doesn’t have to be salary. So maybe you’ve put your salary requirements out there and those are locked in. You don’t want to jeopardize that role. So you do you take this opportunity to say, hey, I really can’t fulfill all these extra things we’ve talked about. And, you know, PTO extra time off is important to me. Signing bonus is important to me. So I think it’s good to understand what does the company want need and then how can you fit that and it as creative a framework that also works for you.
John [00:14:15] So you bring up a good point. If there are other benchmarks, there are other things like bonuses, depending on the role, maybe commission anything is really back on the table. I mean, really, everything is kind of on the table. So I guess that’s another good point is maybe they can’t get to where you need to be, salary base, salary wise. And again, words have meaning, but maybe there’s a way to get closer to what you’re looking for, because, you know, in this many months, I’ve done these things for you. I’ve proven my worth. You’ve proven maybe this will require a few other things. Would that be acceptable in that negotiation process as well?
Alicia : I think so, I definitely think so.
Steve [00:14:52] Yeah. And I think the way we talk about it in GE is it’s the employee value proposition. So it’s bigger than just the salary and the benefits. It’s also career growth. It’s job training. It’s what is this role that you’re looking at set you up for and future career progression. So I think when you really think through, OK, what’s the total employee value proposition and how can I influence that? So if salary with this company because again, listening intently or intentionally sets you up to be in a position where maybe they can’t offer more of a base salary, but they can give you other things, they can pay for training, they can put you on their succession plans for bigger roles when they come up.