Episode #93 – Why Trying to Renegotiate Your Current Situation Can Backfire

Samantha: 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 companies and job seekers in the Animal Health industry and Veterinary profession. The VET Recruiter’s mission is to help Animal Health and Veterinary organizations hire top talent, while helping animal health and veterinary professionals attain career-enhancing opportunities that increase their quality of life.

In today’s podcast, we’ll be talking about the dangers of trying to renegotiate your current employment situation by using a job offer from another employer. Stacy, thank you for joining us.

Stacy: Hello, Samantha. I’m glad to be here.

Samantha: Stacy, what do you mean exactly by renegotiating your current employment situation?

Stacy: Well, Samantha, allow me to illustrate with a story. I use stories and case studies a lot to illustrate the points I make on the podcast. That’s because I’ve found that experience is definitely the best teacher.

My recruiting agency recently had a candidate accept an offer of employment with one of the employers that we represent. However, instead of simply submitting their resignation, this candidate instead turned the situation into an opportunity to “renegotiate” with their current employer for a better work schedule.

Samantha: So they didn’t start work with a new employer?

Stacy: No, they did not. Instead, they used the offer—which, as I mentioned, they accepted—to get a better work schedule.

Samantha: Well, that doesn’t seem like a very professional thing to do.

Stacy: It absolutely is NOT professional to do! And it was not professional for a number of reasons.

After all, this was after the candidate accepted the organization’s offer of employment. Once the candidate did that, the hiring manager considered the position to be filled. As such, they also considered the hiring process to be complete and let other candidates know that the process was complete.

Samantha: Because the candidate said that they accepted the offer, right?

Stacy: Yes, they were basically giving their word of honor that they would start work with the organization! I’ll get back to that a little later in today’s podcast, but let’s talk about what might have been going through the candidates’ mind at the time.

Obviously, the candidate was attempting to use the situation to their advantage. Samantha, you know that I’m a big fan of having leverage. However, this candidate tried to use the leverage of another job offer to basically renegotiate the terms of their current employment situation. I am NOT a fan of that kind of leverage.

The candidate was only thinking in the short term. They were only thinking about what was going to benefit them now instead of in the long run. Obviously, this is a short-sighted outlook.

Samantha: Stacy, isn’t the Animal Health industry and Veterinary profession rather small?

Stacy: It is! It’s smaller than many people think. You never know what’s going to happen down the road or who you’re going to run into. Doing what this candidate did can come back to haunt you and hurt your career.

Samantha: How could it haunt you?

Stacy: Well, for example, take the organization that extended the offer of employment to the candidate. You would probably agree that the candidate branded themselves as someone who is untrustworthy. It goes without saying that the hiring manager will never consider the candidate for one of their open positions again.

Not only that, but if someone was to ask the officials of that organization about the candidate or if they had any knowledge of the person, do you think they will have positive things to say? Was their experience with the candidate a positive one? It was not positive, to say the least.

Samantha: And what about you, Stacy? Did the candidate damage their relationship with you, as well?

Stacy: They did, because I also view them as untrustworthy now. Some listeners in our audience today might be saying, “But Stacy, the candidate was only doing what was in their best interests.” That’s not the main point of contention here. It was the way that they went about doing it that was the problem. Would it be difficult for me to trust this candidate again in the future? Of course it would. And in the employment marketplace, trust is a very valuable commodity. The candidate simply made a commitment that she did not keep.

Samantha: So Stacy, how did this story end?

Stacy: The candidate called me back shortly after this happened to tell me that they regretted what they had done and to ask if my client would make them an offer again. The hiring authority’s response easy to predict. They said, “I don’t think so.”

Samantha: Wow, the candidate really did hurt themselves, didn’t they?

Stacy: She did. And we’ve talked about this before. We’ve discussed what it means to accept an offer of employment. And we’ve also talked about what an offer of employment is NOT.

If you’re a job candidate in the Animal Health industry or Veterinary profession and you accept an offer from an employer, what you are NOT saying is this:

“Yes, I accept your offer of employment, unless my current employer or some other organization I’m interviewing with offers me something better, in which case I will take their offer instead.”

That is NOT what it means to accept an offer.

Samantha: But some job seekers and candidates think this way, is that the case?

Stacy: Unfortunately, that is the case, and you saw how well that worked out for the candidate in this particular case study.

When you accept an offer, you’re not just doing it to “keep your options open.” What’s actually happening or what should be happening is that you’re making a commitment to the organization that extended the offer and then keeping that commitment.

The irony of this is that it’s not complicated at all. It’s very simple. There’s a simple rule that job seekers and candidates should apply to this situation.

Samantha: What’s that?

Stacy: If you aren’t 100% sure that you can keep the commitment you make when you accept an offer of employment, then do NOT accept the offer and do NOT make the commitment.

Let’s look at this from another perspective. If you were a job seeker or candidate, how would you feel if the company president said they wanted to hire you, but later changed their mind after they found someone who they believed had more to offer?

Samantha: I’d have to say that I’d probably be pretty upset.

Stacy: I would bet that most people would be upset, and with good reason. In fact, I think a lot of people would also feel rejected and maybe even betrayed. But that’s my point. If that behavior is considered unacceptable on the employer side, why would it not be unacceptable on the candidate side? The answer is that it IS unacceptable, on both sides.

Samantha: Stacy, haven’t we also been discussing the fact that top candidates have a certain amount of leverage in this current market? Might that be a reason why they’re engaging in this type of behavior?

Stacy: Yes, we have, and that’s an excellent point. As I said earlier in our podcast episode, there is no doubt that I am a big proponent of leverage. However, the manner in which you obtain leverage is just as important as the leverage itself. In fact, in some situations, like the one we’ve been discussing today, it’s even more important.

I 100% understand the temptation of the current market conditions for job seekers and candidates. These job seekers and candidates are attempting to leverage the conditions for everything they’re worth. However, there is a limit to the leverage. At some point, you’re going to overreach, just like this candidate did, and you’ll end up hurting yourself. There are certain “rules of engagement,” and one of those rules involves accepting an offer of employment.

Those Animal Health and Veterinary professionals who recognize this and follow the rules of engagement are more likely to grow their careers quickly and enjoy the full benefits that the current marketplace has to offer.

Samantha: Once again, Stacy, is this an instance in which working with a recruiter can help you?

Stacy: Absolutely. When you work with a recruiter to grow your career, especially a recruiter that has a lot of experience, they know what to do in situations like this. They know where the line is drawn. They know there’s a limit to the leverage, and they can advise candidates on what they can do and what they should not do.

Job seekers and candidates get themselves in trouble many times because they believe they can get away with things that they simply can not get away with. Unfortunately, I’ve even had candidates who I was working with do things such as this, even after I advised them not to! As a recruiter, all I can do is offer my advice. I can’t force people to do the right thing, even if that right thing is going to help them. You can lead a horse to water but you can’t make it drink!

Samantha: Because these candidates are only thinking about the short term, aren’t they?

Stacy: That’s right. A person’s career is not a sprint; it’s a marathon, and it should be approached that way. It doesn’t matter how much leverage you have in the marketplace. You can NOT abuse that leverage and “burn bridges” in the process. It’s only going to hurt you in the long run. The world is not that big. It is a small world especially in the Animal Health Industry and Veterinary Profession.

Samantha: Thank you, Stacy! This was great information that you’ve shared with us today and I’m sure our listeners found it to be interesting.

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