Episode #62 – A Tale of Two Job Offers (The Importance of Being Decisive)

Sharita: Welcome to “The Animal Health Employment Insider,” brought to you by The VET Recruiter. In this podcast, executive search consultant and recruiter, Stacy Pursell, founder and CEO of The VET Recruiter, provides insight and practical advice for both employers and job seekers in the Animal Health Industry and Veterinary Profession. The VET Recruiter’s mission is to help Animal Health and Veterinary organizations acquire top talent, while helping professionals attain career-enhancing opportunities that increase their quality of life.

In today’s podcast, we’ll be talking about a “Tale of Two Job Offers.” Welcome, Stacy. Thank you for joining us.

Stacy: Hello, Sharita. I’m glad to be here again with you today.

Sharita: Stacy, I’m sure most of our listeners have heard of the book by Charles Dickens, A Tale of Two Cities. Can you talk about how we’re going to put a twist on that today?

Stacy: Well, just like the cities in that novel were different, the two scenarios we’ll be discussing today are also different. They’re similar in the sense that they both involve a job offer, but the way in which the two scenarios play out are much different.

Sharita: Are you saying that this story involves two different job offers to two different people?

Stacy: Yes, that was the case. Basically, I extended two job offers in the same week and I received two very different outcomes. I’m relaying this story because it serves as a great example of what to do and what NOT to do during the hiring process, especially during the job offer stage of the process. We’ve discussed the importance of personal branding on previous episodes of this podcast, and it’s also an important part of this story.

So let’s start with the first offer. Toward the end of the hiring process, one of The VET Recruiter’s clients made its very best offer to one of our candidates. I extended the offer to the candidate and I also told her that it was the very best offer that the client could make. A couple of days later, I received a written counteroffer from the candidate.

Sharita: You mean the candidate herself made a proposed counteroffer? Not her current employer?

Stacy: Yes, that’s right. The candidate herself made a counteroffer.

Sharita: What did you do?

Stacy: I took the counteroffer to the hiring manager and discussed it with them. Once again, though, they said they had made their very best offer and there was no room in the budget to offer more to the candidate.

I then went back to the candidate and let her know that was the case. And as I mentioned, I had discussed this with her previously, that my client had made its very best offer and that there was no more room in the budget. The next day, the candidate contacted me to let me know that she was going to reject the offer, so I informed my client.

Sharita: So was that the end of that?

Stacy: It was not. That’s because the next day, I received a call from the candidate. She was crying and she said she was really unsure of what to do. She also said that she may have made a mistake and wanted to know if she could salvage the offer because she really did want to accept it. So I went back to my client, and the hiring manager graciously put the offer back on the table, which they did not have to do. They also requested that the candidate formally accept the offer that day, which is a reasonable request.

Sharita: So what happened?

Stacy: Later that day, I received a written rejection from the candidate.

Sharita: You’re kidding!

Stacy: Unfortunately, I am not. Talk about an emotional whirlwind, not just for the candidate, but for everyone involved.

Sharita: So what happened with the second job offer that you made that week?

Stacy: I extended the second offer to another candidate on the very same day that the first candidate formally rejected their offer for the second time. However, the second candidate’s reaction was much different.

Sharita: How so?

Stacy: For starters, he was very excited. He said that he would talk with his wife and get right back to me with a decision. Within a couple of hours, he contacted me to let me know that he had decided to accept the offer.

Sharita: Wow, that was completely different than the first job offer! What are the lessons that should be learned from this story?

Stacy: Well, there are a lot of lessons to be learned. The most important lesson is that employers value decisiveness in their employees. That means they also value decisiveness in the candidates they interview and consider for employment with their organization. As I discussed earlier in the podcast, this is definitely a branding issue.

If someone is indecisive about a job offer, then the hiring manager has the impression that’s how they will be on the job. They think the candidate will be unable to make decisions. The hiring manager believes how you present yourself during the offer stage and negotiation process is a telling sign of how you will be when you are in the position.

Sharita: And in this case, the hiring manager even put the offer back on the table when the candidate expressed regret. They didn’t have to do that, right?

Stacy: That’s right. The employer was under no obligation to put the offer back on the table. After all, the candidate had first made a counteroffer and then rejected the offer in writing. The candidate had actually taken the offer off the table in the first place, not the client. But the hiring manager was gracious enough to offer it again. And it was rejected again.

Sharita: What’s another lesson that should be learned from this story?

Stacy: It’s important to note that decisiveness does not automatically involve accepting an offer. It has nothing to do with whether or not you accept an offer or reject it. What’s important is how decisive you are. The problem with the first job offer in this story is not that the candidate ultimately rejected the offer. The problem was with HOW she rejected it. That caused a lot of angst for everyone involved, not just her.

I’ve said this before and I’m sure that I’ll say it again. Executive Search Consultants and Recruiters are interested in creating a win-win situation for both their clients and also the candidates they represent. We have no problem with candidates rejecting an offer. They must do what they believe is the best thing for their career. However, you must be decisive during the offer stage of the hiring process. As a candidate, what you don’t want to do is brand yourself as indecisive.

Sharita: Is it true that if you brand yourself in the wrong way, it could come back to “bite you” later in your career?

Stacy: That is a possibility. For example, if the first candidate in my story ever applies for a job in the Animal Health industry or Veterinary profession and the hiring manager who made the first offer is responsible for filling the position, the hiring manager could remember the candidate. If that’s the case, the hiring manager will probably be put off by their previous experience with the candidate. How you brand yourself and how people remember you is very important within the employment marketplace.

Sharita: How much time should a candidate take when they’re deciding whether or not to accept an offer?

Stacy: If you remember, we answered this question in a previous podcast titled “Why and How to Make a Quick Decision About a Job Offer.” In that podcast, I recommended making a decision within 24 hours if you want to be seen as making a quick decision. However, you might be able to stretch it to 36 or 48 hours, depending upon the circumstances involved.

Sharita: What if you wait three days? Is that when a hiring manager might see you as indecisive?

Stacy: Yes, once you get to the three-day mark, that’s when the hiring manager starts to think that maybe you’re not a decisive candidate. And when they start wondering about that, they start wondering about your candidacy as a whole. They start to wonder if you’re really the right person for the position.

The longer you wait to make a decision, the less leverage you have. I’m a big proponent of having leverage. That’s because it’s difficult to get and easy to give away. Once you have it, you want to keep it. Leverage is a huge factor in terms of career growth and advancement. I have hundreds of case studies that prove this, and the case study we’re talking about today is just one of them.

Sharita: Before we wrap up today’s podcast, are there any other lessons that can be learned from our story?

Stacy: Yes, the third lesson is to listen to your recruiter! If you’re working with a recruiter, then listen to what they say. Listen to what they say about the job, about the employer, and about the offer.

If you remember, I informed the candidate that my client had made its very best offer. I knew for a fact that was the case. However, she still proposed a counteroffer, one that I knew my client would not be able to meet. If she had listened, then perhaps she would have been more decisive. Even if she had still rejected my client’s offer, she would have looked more decisive in the eyes of the hiring manager.

What’s important to remember is that even if a candidate rejects an offer from one of my clients, I still want a win-win situation. I want the candidate to walk away from the situation in the best way possible. I want the hiring manager to have a positive impression of the candidate because you never know—the hiring manager and the candidate might meet again in the future under different circumstances. The Animal Health and Veterinary world is a small world.

Sharita: Stacy, thank you for sharing this story today and for discussing all of the important lessons that we could learn from it.

Stacy: Thank you, Sharita. I look forward to our next podcast!