Should you negotiate your job offer? If you know you won’t take it as presented, then yes, negotiate. But what if you want the job? Or need the job? And you’re afraid they’ll rescind the offer if you try to deal?
Do Employers Rescind Job Offers When Candidates Negotiate?
It happens. Fairly often, it seems. A Salary.com survey reported that 19% of respondents had lost a job offer because they negotiated. That’s almost 1 in 5 people.
I’ve had 2 letters in the last week from people who negotiated and lost:
Good Morning Donna,
I just read a post you wrote, 8 Steps to Increase a Lowball Job Offer, and I almost started to cry.
I have been out of full-time employment for over 2 years. In December, I was contacted by a recruiter at X Corporation regarding a VP, Marketing role. After 9 interviews, 3 phone screens, and 6 in-person, I was called about an offer.
The HR rep’s tone of voice on the call was negative to begin with. My initial high ask, $110,000, was met with belligerence. After coming all the way down to $85,000, and 2 phone calls later, I was told I offended her, wasn’t a team player, and the offer was rescinded.
I have tried to call and email the hiring manager to no avail. BTW, I just saw the position listed on various job boards.
I read a lot about offers, and they all say, “negotiate, negotiate, negotiate.” At the end of the day, I have no job, no more unemployment, I’m fighting foreclosure, and now, no job prospects.
BTW, the position was a perfect fit.
Any help in my employment search would be greatly appreciated.
[Our mutual friend] recommended that I reach out to you.
3 months ago, I lost a position during the negotiation phase. I asked for a 10% increase above the offer. The job required a cross-country relocation for my family. The position and company culture were perfect fits.
The company pulled the offer and extended it to another candidate who has a fraction of my experience and a history of job-hopping.
Based on your experience, how would you recommend reaching out to them? Do you have any articles on how to handle such situations?
Should You ALWAYS Negotiate?
The conventional wisdom says, “Yes!”
Interestingly, a 2019 Robert Half survey found that 55% of professionals had tried to negotiate their current salary. They didn’t offer information on outcomes.
A 2020 Jobvite survey found that 35% of respondents had negotiated their current salary. Of those, 86% got more money, 5% to 10% on average.
They didn’t say what happened to the other 14%. Did the employer rescind the job offer after the salary negotiation, or did they stick with their first number?
As you can see, lots of people negotiate. And lots don’t.
So, ask yourself, “Is the incremental gain I might get worth the risk of losing the job?”
If you prefer a bird in the hand, accept the offer.
When & How Should You Negotiate?
To figure out the best approach for you, consider:
- How badly you want or need a job.
- Whether or not you’re in demand.
This will give you a rough idea of when to negotiate and how to do it:
When & How:
Don’t take many career advisors’ counsel to always negotiate. They aren’t making your house payment. Consider your facts and circumstances, coupled with the knowledge that some employers pull offers, and do what’s best for you.
How Do You Revive a Dead Negotiation?
Good luck with that. I don’t have any happy ending stories, hence this post and the cautionary tales.
Regarding the letters I received, one hiring manager has disappeared, and the other position has been filled.
If you have ideas, please, let’s have a brainstorming session in the comments below!
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Image: Marzky Ragsac Jr.
Updated February 2021
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Donna Svei, an executive resume writer and former C-level executive, retained search consultant, and CPA, authors all of AvidCareerist’s posts. She has written for and been quoted by 100+ business and general media outlets, including Forbes, Mashable, Fast Company, Inc., Entrepreneur, the New York Times, USA Today, Time, CBS, the BBC, Lifehacker, Social Media Today, IT World, SmartBrief, and Business News Daily.
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