Getting a job offer after a long search (or even a short one) is such an exciting experience. Unfortunately, there are actually quite a few things that companies and candidates alike can do to seriously dampen that excitement.
Whether you’re the hiring manager or a job candidate, in an effort to keep job offers as thrilling as they should be (a fresh start! a new employee or a new beginning!), take note of the following mistakes.
Mistakes Companies Make
1. Making an Offer—3 Weeks After Interview #5
Long interview processes are a pain for job candidates and should be avoided if possible, but they can be a necessity depending on the situation.
Here’s what’s not a necessity: waiting around for a couple more weeks after the final round interview to get together a job offer for your top candidate. No one likes feeling second best, and you don’t want to give the impression that you only gave him or her an offer because you weren’t able to secure your first choice. On the other hand, if you get your offer out quickly and make your top candidate feel sought after, you’ll maximize your chances of getting the offer (happily) accepted.
2. Lowballing the Job Candidate’s Salary
Bottom line: Pay candidates what they deserve to be paid. Policies that limit salaries based on a candidate’s previous salary are ludicrous. And losing the ideal candidate for a job over an archaic salary policy or because you didn’t want to push the salary a little higher is absurd considering the high costs for running another search or the even higher costs of dealing with a subpar employee.
Along similar lines, even if you do make a fair offer for the skill set the candidate brings to the team, have an open mind if the candidate wants to negotiate. A couple thousand dollars can be a big deal for an individual but will barely make a dent in the budget of a large corporation.
3. Giving an Inflexible Response Deadline
Strong-arming a candidate into accepting a job offer before he or she is ready is a recipe for disaster. It’s understandable to want to get a response as quickly as possible, but sticking a three-day turnaround time on a job offer is not the way to do it. After all, you don’t want your new employee to have a what-if feeling brewing before day one even rolls around. Giving a job candidate ample time to make a decision means that you’ve done your part to ensure that he or she has weighed the pros and cons and made a decision with a clear head.
Mistakes Job Candidates Make
1. Taking Too Long to Accept or Decline
Companies aren’t the only ones that ruin job offers. As a job candidate, being indecisive and taking advantage of a generous response deadline to a job offer is a great way to turn a stellar first impression into a lukewarm reception on day one. It’s fine for you to take the time that you need to make a decision, as long as you’re keeping the company in the loop. Ask to meet with some more of the team members if you’re having trouble making a decision, but don’t go radio silent for a month. It’s just not cool—or professional.
2. Getting Greedy When Negotiating
Negotiating the terms of your job offer is definitely something you should consider before accepting, but don’t go nuts during this process. If a recruiter accepts your higher salary request quickly, take that as evidence that he or she really wants you to take the offer, not that you didn’t request enough. You don’t want to be that candidate who keeps trying to negotiate a higher and higher salary or more and more things in the offer—it’s not a flattering impression to make, and I’ve definitely seen companies rescind offers from overzealous negotiators.
3. Pushing for Something Nonnegotiable
Speaking of overzealous negotiating, some things are just plain not negotiable. If something is very important to you, it’s worth bringing up, but if the company policy is not to, say, not pay for employee parking then that’s that. Fighting for a perk that just isn’t part of the offer is a losing battle and is usually not worth it. Instead, consider the monetary value of the perk you’re seeking, and add it to the higher salary you’re trying to negotiate if that makes sense.
Job offers should feel exhilarating, but any of the bad behavior mentioned before can easily ruin that spark. Whether you’re the job candidate or represent the company, be thoughtful about the other party during this process. After all, this is just the beginning of a new relationship—and some care and attention will help the magic last a little longer.
Photo of shredded paper courtesy of Shutterstock.
Lily Zhang serves as a Career Development Specialist at MIT where she works with a range of students from undergraduates to PhDs on how to reach their career aspirations. When she's not indulging in a new book or video game, she's thinking about, talking about, or writing about careers. Follow her musings on Twitter @lzhng.More from this Author