Can you lose a job offer for negotiating?

Can you lose a job offer for negotiating?

Rescinding a job offer is extremely rare, but it happens. In my 13 years of experience as a recruiter, I've only done it three times.

The biggest reason was that the candidates' negotiation styles were egregious and not aligned with the employer's company culture. Continuing the process would have been a huge disservice to the team that we wanted them to join. 

As an ex-Google recruiter and the CEO of staffing firm Continuum, these are the red flags that made me pull job offers — and what to do instead:

1. They acted like an entitled jerk

Hiring managers pay close attention to your experience and skills during the interview, but they're also trying to figure out if you're a jerk.

I once extended an offer to someone who showed no signs of questionable or off-putting behavior. They seemed like a good fit. So after we made the offer, we invited them back to answer some additional questions.

But when they returned to the office, they were extremely rude to our front desk personnel, left trash on the table, and came off as disrespectful to the hiring manager. We rescinded the offer the next day. 

Job interview tip: Understand that you are always being evaluated, even after you accept an offer. Show respect to everyone you interact with during the hiring process and be a good human.

2. They responded way too slowly 

Once you receive an offer, it's a good practice to show excitement for the opportunity and ask for a few days to think it over — but don't take too long. Even if it isn't your intention, it can imply a lack of enthusiasm and commitment. 

A candidate that we extended an offer to once took three days to get back to us. They negotiated for a higher salary, and we countered with a best-and-final offer. Then the candidate the took an additional four days to respond. Complete silence and no additional context given.

The time between their responses made us wonder if this was how they would communicate when they were on the team. We rescinded the offer because we felt like it wasn't worth the risk. 

Job interview tip: Once the ball is in your court, respond within 24 hours. If you need more time, send a brief and professional note explaining why.

I call this a "no update, update" email, and it's critical if you expect the conversation to be difficult. Reducing time between responses for tough conversations is always the better approach.

3. They asked for an outrageous pay increase 

Employers expect you to negotiate, and asking for a modest and realistic increase isn't out of the question. However, asking for 40% to 100% more than the original offer is a red flag to a recruiting team. Coming to the table with absurd numbers is a likely way to get your offer pulled.

We extended an offer to an entry-level candidate the team was excited about. They asked for double the salary. We rescinded the offer because it was a ridiculous ask. It wasn't backed by any data, and their lack of research and understanding showed us their immaturity. 

Job interview tip: Be reasonable and informed. If a compensation range or offer is significantly below your expectations, say that in a calm and clear way.

Try to understand what level the company is placing you at. Then present them with data, either from your current role or a verified source like FairComp, that justifies your request. Asking for a 10% to 20% increase is generally safe and within the realm of reality.

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