Negotiating a Win-Win Job Offer

Published By: Les Schafer – Senior Executive Recruiter & Account Manager

Sometimes it feels like the planet, moon and stars need to be in alignment in order for the right candidate to be a match for one of our client’s positions. For those of you unfamiliar with Germer International, the short version of who we are, is that our experience in the Pharmaceutical Industry goes back 25 years. Each search we take on has its own story. This one search I am about to share with you is no different.

We have a client who focuses on producing specialized raw materials for their Pharmaceutical Clients (big and small pharmaceutical companies making generic and branded finished pharmaceutical products). This client is in a warm weather climate and they had a need for someone who had a very specialized background in Compliance. As most searches go, this one came down to one of our candidates being the person they chose to bring on board. The offer was matching what he was currently making – from a base salary perspective but he would be making less money in bonus and losing vacation days (up to 2 weeks). Because of that, he turned down the offer.

I asked him to at least consider the pro’s and although they may not be paid out in a paycheck they will be paid out in a better quality of life (which also has a value). A week later, he called me out of the blue and shared with me that he did some more thinking about quality of life. In the end, he accepted the offer because although he was sacrificing some of his compensation package and vacation days, he would be gaining more in reducing his travel from 70% to 10% which, to him, would allow for more time with his family on a daily basis. The family would also enjoy a better quality of life as they would now be living in a warmer climate.

Our job is to achieve a win/win situation for both the client and the candidate and we will do everything in our power to make sure we understand both party’s situations. In this case, what we learned is that our client was able overlook this candidate’s initial rejection of the offer and additionally had a heart to heart conversation with the candidate on why they changed their mind. Because, let’s face it – we are all human beings here that have families, concerns, and dreams, and these are important decisions. Sometimes these decisions are made with a lot of emotion. It helps to be able to “Go To The Balcony,” as William Ury points out, where you take some time away from making a difficult decision in order to bring a fresh perspective to the solution rather than being reactive.

In short, what did we learn that we could apply in future negotiations? Well, I think we learned that 1) It is best to keep an open mind when looking at the pros and cons of taking your next position, because more than likely you will probably have to make some concessions. Not every next position will line up to meet all of your requirements. This is not to say though that sometimes, yes, the perfect position will fall in your lap. 2) From a client perspective, I think it also helps to have an open mind. In this situation specifically, our client was very understanding of the situation and was open to re-looking at extending the offer based on new information. And 3) From our perspective, maybe we should have allowed for both client and candidate to take some more time to think about the offer rather than just taking his first answer which was a “No”. As we have learned many times before, a “No” today may not be a “No” tomorrow. Sometimes just by saying “No” it allows for other ideas and information to be present that maybe you weren’t open to considering before.

Keep an open mind; In actuality, the perfect job for all of us is out there somewhere – mine being here at Germer International.