Companies are beginning to
hire interview folks at rates approaching pre-pandemic levels. So I have ever more young people reaching out to me for advice. They are coping with a range of emotions—adrenalin from upcoming or just completed interviews, fatigue from too many interviews, depression that they may never land a job and anticipation and fear as they await a response.
Even as I learn to be a better listener, the caller usually expects me to provide them with some pointers or tips. These tips obviously vary with the individual, where they are in their I-need-a-job journey. In this post I’ll focus on a situation that I seem to encounter with greater frequency as spring approaches—that of a recruiter or hiring manager calling about their decision.
Here are three tips (and a bonus) to handling this call or meeting in a manner that at best makes you feel good or at worst avoids regret & recrimination.
#1 Be clear What is it you want—not just in terms of salary, job role/title, benefits/perks but culture, location, timings etc. Which of these are non-negotiable and when would you decline, negotiate for better or accept the offer?
#2 Be realistic The call may not be a job offer, but a request for further information or meeting. It may even be a polite decline. Even when it is an offer, it may be one of three possibilities
- A disappointing offer in terms of the salary, job title, benefits or others terms
- A good offer as in it meets your expectations, one that you’d say yes to
- A great offer – it exceeds your expectations in one or more dimensions. Heck ya!
#3 Be prepared Plan for what your response would be to each of the above scenarios. Prepare a short scripts for each scenario. The intent of the scripts is NOT respond unthinkingly, but to avoid reacting by letting your emotions do the talking. Scripts could be as simple as:
[for a decline] “I’m sorry to hear that, appreciate your letting me know. “I’ve enjoyed interviewing with you and hope to stay in touch.” “Can you help me understand the rationale for your decision?” (in case they didn’t give you one) and “Do you have any feedback for what I could have done better or differently.”
[for an offer that falls short] “Thank you. I truly appreciate the offer and must be honest that I’m disappointed with the number (or terms). Can you help me understand your rationale for the money (or terms). I need to really think about it. Can I get back to you by [day]?” (usually a day or three)? [add.] Meanwhile here are some clarifying questions I have [terms & conditions, expenses, raises, travel etc.]
Even the best job offer is not a marriage proposal. Much as you want to scream Yes! on the phone, you’ll be happier if you take an hour or a day so that you don’t second guess yourself!
[for a good or even great offer] “Thank you – I’m so excited about this opportunity and appreciate your offer. Just to make sure I heard you right, here’s what I understand your offer is – [restate]; Here are some questions: When do you need an answer from me? Excited as I’m about this, I need to a day or two to: [pick 1]
• discuss this with my spouse/dad/family once I get this in writing
• sleep on it and I’m sure soon as we hang up I’ll have questions
Write back After you hang up the phone, or read their emailed offer, drop them a note, acknowledging the call or email, thanking them and re-stating whichever script you verbally delivered. This is not only good manners, but a great way to both express your interest and minimize any misunderstandings. Set expectations and always be polite. Don’t ghost them!
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