Have you ever heard of a job offer rescinded after a salary negotiation? If yes, you likely wonder if you should negotiate your job offer.
If you know you won’t take the offer as presented, then yes, negotiate.
But what if you want the job? Or need the job? And you’re afraid the employer will rescind the offer if you negotiate?
Do Employers Rescind Job Offers When Candidates Negotiate?
It happens. 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 emails from people who negotiated and lost:
Good Morning Donna,
I just read a post you wrote, How 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the way down to $85,000, and 2 phone calls later, I was told I offended her, wasn’t a team player, and the offer was rescinded.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!”
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?
71% of respondents to Jobvite’s 2022 survey said they’re comfortable negotiating salary, up 19 percentage points since 2018.
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 (or, how hard will it be for the employer to find someone else?).
This chart 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 don’t make your house payments. 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 disappeared, and the other position was filled with someone else.
If you have ideas, please, let’s have a brainstorming session in the comments below!
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Image: Marzky Ragsac Jr.
Updated March 2022
© 2014 – 2023, Donna Svei. All rights reserved.
Donna Svei, an executive resume writer and former C-level executive, retained search consultant, and CPA, authors all of AvidCareerist’s posts.
She is a Fast Company Contributor and has written for and been quoted by 100+ business and general media outlets, including Forbes, Inc., Entrepreneur, CNBC, the New York Times, USA Today, Time, US News & World Report, CBS, the BBC, Lifehacker, Social Media Today, IT World, and Business News Daily.
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