In the August 11, 2015 Ask The Headhunter Newsletter, a reader almost blows it.
I live and work on the West Coast. Two days ago I was offered a position back in the New York area. I was so happy to go back home, and with my initial offer (including base salary). Nonetheless, I managed to negotiate a sign-on bonus to cover my relocation expenses — but that’s about it. I verbally accepted, and gave permission to do the background check.
After thinking it over, I am kicking myself for not pushing the envelope to negotiate a higher salary, fearing the risk of losing the offer. Do you have any meaningful advice that can help me? Is it too late to negotiate anything else after verbally accepting the offer? I would really appreciate it. Thank you.
Last week we discussed The ONLY way to ask for a higher job offer. Your question is a nice bookend to this topic. It’s important to know when negotiations are over.
Imagine you bought a new car. The next day, you arrive at the dealership to pick it up and hand over a check for the agreed-on price. The salesman tells you he hopes you don’t mind, but he wants to charge you a few grand more. Is that okay with you?
That’s what you’re talking about. Forget about whether it would be fair to re-open negotiations. It’s unacceptable, it’s bad practice and it’s unbusinesslike.
If I were the employer, I’d pull the offer instantly. I’d question your integrity and ability to deal with others – especially after I agreed to give you a starting bonus. Negotiations are over when both parties agree to the deal.
Having said that, I’ve got no problem with you changing your mind. If you feel strongly about the compensation being too low, then rescind your acceptance, apologize, and walk away – but it’s really bad business to accept a deal and then try to renegotiate it.
Now for the soft part. I know how you feel. Been there, done that. I think you’re beating yourself up for nothing. The offer was good enough that you accepted it. Enjoy your win! Enjoy your satisfaction. As for “leaving some money on the table,” that’s actually a sophisticated negotiating practice. It leaves the other guy feeling like he (or she) won, too — and it buys you some good will in your new relationship. Not asking for more could be the best thing you ever did.
But the best thing you can do now is either walk away from this immediately – or take the job and do your best to earn a raise in the first year. Heck, once you’ve proved yourself, you can even ask for an early salary raise.
I would not go back to the well for more money at this point. Put yourself in the employer’s shoes. What would it say about you?
I’m sorry you’re not happy with your offer. But once terms are agreed to, the negotiating is done. The lesson here is not to accept a job offer so quickly — no matter how excited you are. Take at least 24 hours to think it through.
Use this to negotiate a better deal next time: How do I prove I deserve a higher job offer?
Have you ever “left money on the table?” Did you ever risk an offer to re-open negotiations? Is there a way to re-open negotiations that I’ve missed?