Final Stage Job Hunt Final Candidate

You have successfully negotiated yourself through the interview stages.

Congratulations on being the last piece of the hiring jigsaw puzzle, just like the person in the picture, you have one more piece to place, to sign a contract offer.

It is an important step candidates often get wrong for a number of reasons, the offer is not signed and the efforts made are lost.

So what are the 5 common mistakes made when offered a new job?

From my own experiences they include:

  1. Using Bad or Wrong Salary Research

This starts with the original mind set at the start of the job search. I cannot tell you how many times I am told by job seekers, “salary is not important, it is the job and the work which matters to me.”

No thought has been given to pension contributions, the need to secure a new mortgage, or even to pay the mortgage if the interest rate rises by 1 or 2%.

It makes a recruiter wary of the candidate, yet we all know when times are desperate, job hunting rules and hopes for a good salary are affected, especially after redundancy or a company closure.

To be successful at salary negotiations, you need to know what you are worth, your financial minimum income and other life cost factors. This is especially important when relocation is involved, or if there is a need for private education or simply because of a change in tax jurisdiction.

One example relates to variances in France or Italy with Germany or Switzerland, some salary grades for the same role and experience can vary by as much as €30,000.00 in the same company.

Once you factor in cost of living, child and healthcare costs, and property tax or similar costs, you will discover that the great looking salary jump is not as large as you thought.

  • Try to dig deeper than the first link that comes up on a Yahoo or Google search.
  • Do not be afraid to request example salary slips from the future employer. I have done this more times than I remember.
  • Consider a conversation with your tax planner which may cost a small fee, yet in reality save you a small fortune.

The research and results may even prompt you to ask the future employer to increase their salary offer by 5-7%.

Typically employers offer 50-70% of the grade salary to avoid the upper quartile hiring band, your request for an uplift of 7% enables you to fit their salary matrix.

More importantly, you can still perform over 3 years and earn both the annual and performance related salary pay rise uplifts.

2. Playing Salary Games

You want how much I think not

Salary, grade, or total compensation are determined by company rules and often clear salary to grade banding limits.

You cannot empty the pockets of your future employer, so do not try.

Employers are not naive. They have recruited for similar positions before, or taken advisory salary advice if opening a new office. They may have even recruited from your company already, it is not uncommon. Do not get caught telling a lie or thinking the new employer cannot do without you because they can and do have options. Any good recruitment process always has a good fall-back second candidate.

Your current package information will have been discussed with the recruiter more than once. The stage has been set and package terms loosely agreed before your final interview.

Yet once or twice in your career, you do need to give the hiring manager a good “shake” because they tried to “low ball” you.

The “low ball” offer is one made below all expectations, or worse, even under your current or past earnings. It may come with a promise of future salary increases, commissions or a promotion.

The best advice is to quickly say “no thank you, we had previously discussed “x”. Did the recruiter not give you details regarding my current package at “Y”

This should result in a further round of negotiations. Yet a word of warning: keep good notes and do not agree to anything in the future without it being incorporated in the employment contract or as a side letter on company headed paper. As a new employee, you may need this to follow-up on the promise or to cover you in case the manager changes or leaves the company.

Sometimes, the result is “Take it or leave it”. it is rare and often the candidate walks away, feeling a little cheated or if they have to join, use the job whilst they find another in the next few months.

Being Too Rigid or Stubborn

An offer may not have the same terms as you have stated in your current employment contract or package.

People with old contracts which have changed little since the 90`s may lose benefits, yet they also know new employees at their own company would never be given the same terms.

The changes need to be reviewed and investigated. Why, I hear you ask?

There are pension provisions, a notice period on resignation and other clauses written and upheld which are beneficial for older employees.

They can also be a sticking point to joining a new company, a reason why I give them special mention together with the typical certain manufacturer types of car, extra travel benefits, healthcare and dedicated home office days.

It is becoming a trend to look beyond the basic salary and pension terms, to secure entry in to the new company at one’s best advantage.

You need to know what is really important, what is not something you would not negotiate on and why.

Too often a small point becomes a fixation, gaining more importance as the negotiations progress before becoming an escalated deal breaker.

There needs to be trade-offs or elements of compromise in any job.

A Good Example of Flexibility

One example of my own candidate placement experiences that can serve as an example is when a candidate was moving from a regional sales job to a global function with a lot of air travel.

The car on offer was a Mercedes, an improvement on his current BMW, yet it would also come with a high tax liability (driven only between the airport and home).

As the candidate had little interest in cars, we negotiated a €6,500.00 home office furniture allowance, renewable every 4 years in line with the car policy renewals. The candidate had to pay for his own rail fare to and from the airport.

The client was happy to lose a car cost and the new employee was excited by a company willing to think about those “other hours” he would work in his stylish office using his designer desk and chair.

It was a good example of both the company and candidate being flexible, yet if a car was important, the Mercedes may not have fitted the lifestyle choice so a private allowance lease deal could have been another option.

You simply need to know what is important to you, think like a football manager, use more than one tactic, explore options and still secure the desired result.

  1. Not Negotiating at All

It may seem odd, receiving an offer and immediately accepting it at face value. Candidates have and will enter into salary negotiations intending to bargain, only then to settle for the first offer that is thrown their way.

It is often the result of inexperience or discomfort with the hiring process. Sometimes it is the target-stated salary or employer name and yet it may still be a mistake.

It reveals itself later after joining the company, learning that other colleagues and their earnings or packages are of a higher value or contain better benefits.

This happens and like a small ember of discontent, it becomes a fire after 12 months often prompting someone to consider leaving their job or asking for a pay rise which is declined.

In rare cases it eats away at you as you adopt a “Mr or Mrs Negative” stance which further reduces your promotion or new job prospects.

  1. Taking Too Long

Delay Tactics Candidates Play For Time English RecruiterWhat can I say here? As a recruiter I have had to “drag out” the final moments before the issuing of an offer letter. It is not the fault of the candidate, so you will be told why we are in this situation.

It may simply be someone in HR forgot to re-apply for headcount hiring approval, the hire needed to be moved into another quarter, or the Board approval is delayed by a change of a meeting date.

From the candidate side, usually once an offer is made, all terms will have been discussed. Employers typically issue a time limit expecting a response electronically or by post within 3-7 days.

Best practice is to acknowledge receipt and talk to your recruiter, financial advisor or HR manager depending on your route to hire, highlighting any immediate concern. It means you have started the process, rather than  go silent on them, which is to be avoided.  Keep communication open.

You may also experience a “counter-offer” from your current employer when resigning. Do not worry. This is quite normal and if you are already discussing topics with your recruiter or HR manager, you will be positively regarded and supported if you communicate this.

Do not do, as one candidate in France did, claim to be away off travelling, then ill before walking in with two colleagues to give their employer an ultimatum, demanding to give the entire department a pay rise or “we’ll all leave”.

The future new boss was contacted by someone at the company concerned, who were former colleagues. He was seeking advice having been presented with this situation, a first in his managerial career.

The two of them shared notes. Remember up to now, no-one knew this stunt was to occur and a member of the management team at the current employer was calling the possible future boss, nothing illegal, just an industry related coincidence.

The offer for my candidate was withdrawn immediately after the telephone call. The hiring manager felt lied to and expressed concerns about the integrity of the person he was considering to hire.

The three were given their pay rise by their employer, sat smug thinking themselves a winner, the feeling lasted for 12 months.

HR later called and advised them of their redundancy, victims in the first round of a re-organisation having given their managers time to identify their successors in lower cost countries.

This is why communication and action is so important. A good recruiter or HR professional knows the red flags, the wobbly moments and the issues of having poor excuses to delay a decision.

To Summarise

You now know the common mistakes made when offered a new job, you understand how others think and your actions will make both your life and the life of any hiring manager or recruiter much easier.

Your research, preparation for a job move and understanding of where the 80% or so of the candidates make error of judgement helps you.

The more mistakes they make, the less work for you to do, and the better placed as a back-up candidate you become as a person with a good understanding of the recruitment process.

More importantly, your awareness demonstrates and shows that you are making a real career plan and not just participating in a job hunt.

Please feel free to comment or share to help others and good luck with your job hunting.