With all of the words of wisdom and advise I can share, I also want to share some interesting stories from my recruiting career. Perhaps it’ll help you avoid being one of ‘those’ candidates.
Let’s start with this gem..
It had taken quite some time for us to identify the right candidate for a particular role. We were so happy to have been able to get to the offer stage and everything seemed to be lining up perfectly. The hiring manager was excited, the team was recharged, the candidate was engaged, I was pumped. The candidate’s experience was somewhat difficult to find in the San Francisco market for the budget we had. We even opened the role to Seattle as well figuring we would have better luck finding this particular skill set in this budget if we were flexible on the location terms. After maybe about 5 months of searching, a candidate in the Bay area surfaced and it all fit like a dream. Because the skill set was somewhat elevated and desirable, we thought we should go in with a strong offer. We gathered the necessary approvals to go above what was budgeted, pre-planned a sign-on bonus request, and even worked in some additional buffers to give us the best shot at winning this candidate.
I knew this was going to be an interesting journey when I excitedly extended the offer and the candidate came back with a list of demands well beyond what we had discussed throughout the process. I had purposely prepped this candidate and set expectations on what we can offer for the role and what we had budgeted. I was extremely transparent, as I needed to be with these candidates because they are fielding job offers left and right. The candidate was also an alumni of the organization from another country, so they had some insight into our work levels and structure. Meaning, they know where we can and cannot budge and why positions sit at certain work levels.
Here were the list of demands…and I mean demands, not even negotiables for this person, they legitimately demanded these things:
- Base salary increase
- A step up in work level on the org chart and the management team
- Paid transport to and from the office everyday
- Paid lunch everyday
- For any day working past 6pm, paid dinner
- Extended vacation time
- Change in title
Where do I begin here?! We are in ‘you are crazy and you are joking’ territory. During the conversation I immediately shut down some of these asks, like the free transportation to/from the office (if our CEO can drive himself, so can you!), and the paid meals. I also pushed back hard on the work level and org structure because that was discussed heavily during early conversations and throughout the interview process.
Some of the candidates reasons for the demands:
Free transportation: “Well, the office is a far commute for me, almost an hour.” “The headquarters offers shuttle service for employees.”
- YOU APPLIED TO THE JOB.
- You should have considered that before applying. If you cannot make that commute, do not apply. (ps, almost an hour in the Bay area is average)
- The employees who use the shuttle service pay a premium for it out of pocket. It is not a free offering. We offer it because most of our employees live in the city and don’t have cars and we want them to be able to get to/from the office where we are located in the suburbs.
Paid meals: “The headquarters has a cafeteria, and I wouldn’t have one here and would need to buy lunch. A $50 stipend per day would be sufficient.” “If I have to work until 6pm then I will need to have dinner delivered.”
- Again, the cafeteria is a paid expense because the headquarters is in the middle of nowhere and not in a city where you can step outside and have 45 food options to choose from.
- Who eats a $50 lunch everyday?
- I’ve had cafeterias. I’ve had city offices. I’ve had food at my fingertips from free to expensive. I still bring my lunch everyday.
- Unless you have a medical condition where you need to be careful and ensure you eat at specific times, the answer is no. And sorry, but if you do have such a medical condition, it is not the company responsibility to make sure you are fed for free. Any organization will make reasonable accommodations to satisfy such a request if required, but your being lazy and cheap isn’t one of them.
Change in work level: “I was at X work level when I left the company and would like to increase my responsibility.”
- Ok, this would be a fair argument and point of discussion in normal circumstances, however not in this case.
- You’ve already annoyed us all with your unreasonable demands.
- We discussed this in depth already.
- You may have been X work level in another country, but our work levels across boarders are not aligned. This job is much bigger than the one you left.
- You only left your role 9 months ago, you didn’t gain that much experience since your departure to justify the demand.
Case in point, I went back to the hiring manager fired up and recommended we not move forward. He was upset as well, but kind of desperate to hire someone. We looped in our HR person and tried to meet halfway on some points like salary.
I went back to the candidate FOUR times to negotiate and get the response and every single time her response was, “well just let me talk to the manager about it a little bit and we will come back to you.” HOLD IT. That isn’t how this works. So now my HR person is livid, I’m over it and already looking for a new candidate and the hiring manager is still trying to see a silver lining. It took a hard conversation with the hiring manager to say we need to rescind the offer. After getting our legal team involved, I rescinded the offer and the candidate walked away with nothing. It was only the second time in my career I’ve had to rescind an offer.
Moral of the story: don’t be that person.