Friday, August 26, 2016

One week to negotiate an offer?

In a recent "In the Pipeline" thread, a surprising tidbit from a biotech hiring manager:
...More recently, I made an offer to a recent PhD grad. Again, it was a very generous package, yet when the offer was made, this person came back saying he was worth more (despite him not having any industry experience). I felt like pulling the offer right there. Instead, I waited him out, and when the one week expiry came, I told him we had to make an offer to someone else. I found out later that he was holding our offer to a competitor in order to get a higher salary from the competitor. Good riddance that he was never hired.
There are a lot of interesting details here, but the 1 week deadline on the offer seems a little short.

I am under the impression that two weeks is a reasonable time frame, but maybe I'm wrong. Readers, what has been your recent experience? 

17 comments:

  1. I don't understand this hiring manager's issue with his potential employee trying to negotiate an offer. If 2 companies want him, why shouldn't he try to get the best pay?

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    1. I completely concur. "The worker is worthy of his wages" and the prospective employee is doing what everyone else should do - offer himself to the highest bidder. Richard Bolles book "What color is your parachute" talks about the fundamentals of salary negotiation. The first lesson is this:

      1. You want the most money you can get
      2. The company wants to hire you for the least amount they can pay you.

      With that in mind - begin the negotiation. From having to negotiate contracts, also know that, in general, the first person to offer a number usually looses in the end.

      Harry

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  2. The hiring manager is being a twit, but one week is pretty standard I think. But it doesn't encompass the entire offer period, surely, just the first offer period, hopefully followed by a counter from the candidate and either a revision or a reiteration from the employer, with more timeline communication.

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  3. The hiring manager in that thread was rightfully castigated for his/her comment. That's not even the most ignorant thing that was said, the crux of the comment was "If you don't immediately accept my first offer it means I can't trust you so f- off." That person is the epitome of the HR rep that scientists hate.

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    1. HR works for the employer; when they can help you without hurting the company, they will do so, but otherwise, the company (who pays their salaries) wins. So it's not a real surprise that HR wants a short (non-)negotiating period, because that benefits the employer.

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    2. Also works if the company wants to hire easily-cowed milquetoasts instead of self-actualized human beings. Perhaps they were just looking for another pair of hands to underpay.

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  4. one week is standard in my industry - we normally have 2-3 acceptable applicants and we are normally juggling them. Very few people are so unique as to get more.

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  5. I think there are a lot of hurt feelings and ego behind his comments.

    I'd say the grad dodged a bullet working for this guy. "Good riddance" indeed.

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  6. I had a temp agency want an answer within 24 hours. They got their answer in the 24 hour period, then they got another answer 24 hours later when I had two other jobs make offers at the same time. Made the temp agency mad, but I asked if they could wait 48 hours and they said no.

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  7. ~1 week is somewhat standard, but if we know that they are interviewing elsewhere we extend that out and let them know that this deadline is not very firm. I always tell candidates that if our competitors are pressuring them to make a decision without giving them time to complete all of their interviews and weighing offers, then that likely isn't a place they will want to work. I'm actually more impressed when someone has the wherewithal to actually negotiate when they have multiple offers. It's the smart thing to do. This hiring manager is an obvious twit and pressuring someone to make a quick decision is a sure indicator to avoid that offer.

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  8. Chemjobber and everyone else: Do you think a fresh PhD without industry experience (or less than a year) should not negotiate salary for that first industry job? What are the standards for salary negotiation? Thanks

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    1. Depends on the person's bargaining position. Good school, lots of publications, smart, personable, heck yes. IDK there are standards for such negotiation. One thing I've noticed transitioning from chemistry to finance is that Wall Streeters tend to be much much more sure of themselves (which does cause problems at times,....financial crisis,,,,,cough cough) and aren't afraid to ask for large sums.

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    2. I agree with BTT, it depends on the situation. After my postdoc I interviewed for a position in the south that was $80K, which I didn't balk at because it's a lot of money for that area. On the other hand, I spoke with someone in the Boston area that decided it was appropriate to use my postdoc salary as a starting point and offered me $60K. I flatly refused that one. After I rejected it they offered me a significant amount more money. Despite just coming out of my postdoc, I felt safe doing that because A) it was a shit offer for an incredibly expensive area and B) the company moved me very quickly through the interview stages, which is generally a good sign that you're a top candidate. If my interview hadn't gone so well, that negotiation would probably have gone much differently.

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    3. Don't try to negotiate too far beyond your value (BTT's point about bargaining position is good, and I like Skeptic's idea of timing through the interview stages as a measurement). These days, Glassdoor and others provide enough information to give you an idea of what is typical for the position on offer. If it looks like $90k is the going rate, you respond differently if they offer you $60k vs. if they offer $90k.

      Having said that, there's something to be said for not taking the first offer they give you. You'll protect your interests by asking for more (whether it's salary, or bumping up a category for leave accrual, or better relocation, or whatever). You'll protect your interests again by not being immediately accommodating. And you'll learn some things about your prospective employer. That goes for anyone, recent PhD or not.

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  9. I'm a hiring manager, and two weeks is reasonable. If you're recruiting someone right out of school or a postdoc, you should know that the candidate may be in the midst of a job search and clarify their situation before you make an offer. If they're not going to be ready when you are, the offer goes to someone else.

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  10. On an unrelated note I came home to mail from Dupont ( I worked for them for 1981 to 1995) that said I can (but don't have to) cash out my defined benefit pension as a lump sum... And i have to decide between Sept 12 and Oct 16 of this year... Obviously this has to do with the merger.

    I would rather take it under the original plan as a little secure longevity insurance, but i wonder, given everything, if that is wise...

    Obviously they are trying to disburse the money in the plan as quickly as possible, which makes me wonder if it will be around in the long run (I have at least 5 years before I retire)

    I know there are other ex Duponters that read this blog, I wonder if they have gotten the notice yet and what they are thinking of doing about it...

    Thanks

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    1. I'm not an ex-Duponter, but I've read you can get an actuary to evaluate these pension buy-out offers. A loose rule-of-thumb is that if you can't buy an equivalent annuity in the open market with the lump sum they are offering, the buy-out offer is not a good deal.

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