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Using a job offer to get a promotion or better salary

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Using a job offer to get a promotion or better salary

Postby Dick Woodward » Tue Oct 27, 2015 4:11 pm

Responding to another thread about offers and the like inspired me to look back on previous threads about counteroffers and the like. It has been almost 5 years since this has been discussed, so for the benefit of our new readers, I thought that I would reopen the discussion.

After receiving a job offer, there is always a great temptation to try to use that offer as leverage to improve your current salary or position (this applies primarily to industry). All that I can say is "DO NOT DO THAT!" It can be one of the worst career moves that you can possibly do. Here's why.

You like your job, but have an attractive offer from another company, but one that you are not certain that you want to work for. (If it is a company that you want to work for more than your current employer, this discussion is irrelevant.) You go to your boss and say "I've got this great offer, but if you match it I'll stay here. At this point, a couple of things can happen:

- they can shrug their shoulders and wish you luck (and start looking for your replacement).
- they can fire you immediately (it can happen).
- they can agree with your terms and make the counteroffer.

So they make a counteroffer - now what?

At the very least, you loose a level of trust. More likely, they make the counteroffer because they think that you're a prostitute and can be bought - and if you take the offer, you prove it. You also put yourself on the fast track to getting fired, because they know that you are looking and eventually an offer will come along that you will take. Shortly after you accept the counteroffer, it is a good guess that they will start looking for your replacement. You might even get to train the replacement (ostensibly brought in as your subordinate) before they inform you that your services are no longer required. The result - you are unemployed with no job offers, and it is harder to find a new position when unemployed. You will also have an interesting situation when an interviewer asks you what happened with your last position.

The only sensible path is to keep your management out of your career planning. If you get an offer that you want to accept, take it. If your boss then offers you a counteroffer, turn it down respectfully. If you explain that you are not looking for a counteroffer, and that you appreciated the time at your current company, you are not burning bridges - in an industry as small as this one, that is important.

Just one man's opinion - does anyone see it differently?

Dick
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Re: Using a job offer to get a promotion or better salary

Postby I.K.K. » Tue Oct 27, 2015 4:56 pm

Hi Dick,

Interesting insight and I largely agree.

I'm also interested to know about the level of transparency one should operate under if you have a job offer/interview offer that you decide not to take. Should you tell your current boss (perhaps thereby improving trust) or not ? I'm thinking of a situation where the information is likely to get out there anyway, therefore mitigating any awkwardness that might arise if your current boss was to find out second hand.

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Re: Using a job offer to get a promotion or better salary

Postby Dustin Levy » Tue Oct 27, 2015 10:05 pm

Iain,

I've been in the situation you describe and can offer my experiences.

First, an analogy. Let's suppose a married man or woman is at social event and is kissed romantically by someone other than their spouse. He or she might tell their spouse that someone kissed them but that "I didn't kiss them back". The spouse will likely be angry that their partner even put himself or herself in a situation where something like this could occur.

I once went through an interview process with another employer, received an offer for more money, but ultimately declined it. I thought about telling my boss, but decided not to. I don't think this would have built trust, rather, the response from my boss would have been "how could you even go through this process with another company", likely followed by some of the outcomes that Dick described.

One reason I considered telling my boss was to make him aware that my talents were of value to another company. This would be like telling your spouse that someone kissed you in order to remind your spouse that you're a good catch and can leave them at any time...not a good marital strategy.

Of course, my analogy breaks down when you consider that your spouse might find out second hand. In this case, you might be better off disclosing, taking your lumps, appreciating that you were wrong for putting yourself in the situation, and begging for forgiveness. We'll table the marital discussion now.

The stakes aren't as high with your boss. If they were to find out second hand, they might know an offer was made, but it's unlikely that they would know the terms of it. You could downplay the situation by saying "they led me to believe early in the interview process that I might get an offer that I wouldn't be able to refuse, but it ended up being much lower than what I would ever consider leaving here for." You can close the discussion by saying "now I really appreciate how good I have it here" and any issue is likely closed. That said, my boss never found out, so I never had the need to try out this tactic.

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Re: Using a job offer to get a promotion or better salary

Postby D.X. » Wed Oct 28, 2015 9:45 am

I've had a more recent experience with this.

For me, its depends on the individual situation and what you're looking for.

In most cases, promotion and better salary desires are a serrogate for increased responsiblity/accountability and/or career development opportunity.

In my case I did have an offer linked to both increase reponsiblity and career development with tangible benefits of Promotion (title) and salary.

I approached my Boss with notice of my offer (not leave notice)with aiming to have a broader discussion of why I even considered another offer as stated above. It was also an opportunity to discuss where I, as a Talent, sat withing the organization or to have view of if I was valuable in the context of risk of FTE loss - Areas of discussion were differentiated than an a year end Review and mid-year Review/IDP.

As I was viewed as high value - my offer triggered a reactive Response of a planned and more develoment path with increased responsiblity/accoutablity and development as part of the "counter-offer" - linked to planned tangible benefits as noted in the title of this post.

So far my organization has held true as discussed and at least their value of me has gone beyond words but to now tangible Actions to my Job.

So my recommendation - be attentive to the context and be constructive and strategic on the approach. There are potentially great benefits to being open to discussion and transparent when an offer is in Hand -than taking a more assertive "I gotta and offer, where is your Counter offer?" Approach.

It is possible that the new opportunity if provided may be Sound in the context of the external offer and be open minded as appropriate.

Same applies to internal offer as well from another Team or function.

I've learned, in all aspects of career, you get more with sugar than with salt.

Of course this is all moot, if one who has the offer has no interest in remaining with their current employer/Boss/Team. Then, that Meeting with the Boss just becomes a notification of leave Meeting with stated non-interest in futher discussion..Point.

Cheers,

DX
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Re: Using a job offer to get a promotion or better salary

Postby MAP » Wed Oct 28, 2015 3:22 pm

I was told several times that you should use a new job offer to negotiate better salary or position. I always found that risky. As Dick says, they can just shrug their shoulders and wish you all the best.
Someone I know, tried that to get better position and it didn't work out, so they ended up very disappointed and left soon after.
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Re: Using a job offer to get a promotion or better salary

Postby Dave Jensen » Wed Oct 28, 2015 7:40 pm

MAP wrote:I was told several times that you should use a new job offer to negotiate better salary or position. I always found that risky. As Dick says, they can just shrug their shoulders and wish you all the best.
Someone I know, tried that to get better position and it didn't work out, so they ended up very disappointed and left soon after.


MAP, was this in the academic world? I've seen well known, very professional people in academia collect job offers from other institutions like notches on a gun.


Dave
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Re: Using a job offer to get a promotion or better salary

Postby P.S » Wed Oct 28, 2015 8:51 pm

What about when your employer is genuinely distressed at the thought of your leaving and tries their best to retain you?
A colleague of mine received a fantastic job offer from big pharma, right out of the blue. We are in a well-funded academic lab, and the colleague was right in the middle of an extremely successful project. Our PI was literally begging the person to stay, offering the sun, moon and stars. The colleague left for the pharma job, but would it have been wise to have taken what was being offered by the current employer in this case?
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Re: Using a job offer to get a promotion or better salary

Postby MAP » Thu Oct 29, 2015 6:17 am

Dave Jensen wrote:
MAP wrote:I was told several times that you should use a new job offer to negotiate better salary or position. I always found that risky. As Dick says, they can just shrug their shoulders and wish you all the best.
Someone I know, tried that to get better position and it didn't work out, so they ended up very disappointed and left soon after.


MAP, was this in the academic world? I've seen well known, very professional people in academia collect job offers from other institutions like notches on a gun.


Dave


Some in academia, some at more commercial roles. Once I was at a "How to negotiate" workshop and one person asked the presenter, how to ask for a better salary. The presenter said, get a job offer and go with that to your boss. Guy was left very confused
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Re: Using a job offer to get a promotion or better salary

Postby D.X. » Thu Oct 29, 2015 6:53 am

P.S wrote:What about when your employer is genuinely distressed at the thought of your leaving and tries their best to retain you?
A colleague of mine received a fantastic job offer from big pharma, right out of the blue. We are in a well-funded academic lab, and the colleague was right in the middle of an extremely successful project. Our PI was literally begging the person to stay, offering the sun, moon and stars. The colleague left for the pharma job, but would it have been wise to have taken what was being offered by the current employer in this case?


In this particular case - the career growth that employee, by virtue of Action taken, was focused on an industry path. Obviously, continued academic endeavor irrespective of your perceived success of the project was not of interest to that employee in the context of an industry offer.

Also be attentive to optics - your view of extremely successfull Project may not have been shared by your colleague. Why would it be wise to stay, if the next opporunity is far better than what he or she already has or more align with the employee's wishes?

When one is considering an offer, the other view one should have is: Business is Business. Enough said there.

In my career, I've jumped companies a number of times - aligned to career opportunity that my Prior employer was not providing, or if counter-offered, not consistent with the benefits of the offer in Hand.

Those benefit are not limited to faster route to achieve a career objective/desire compared to current employer's plan/career IDP Timing - there are others.

In this particular case when the Company is counter-offering and such Counter-offer is not welcomed by the departing employee, the only obiligation of that employee is to express gratitude and communicate early non-receptiveness to continued retntion discussion as a best-behavior practice. Close the door with grace - as one never knows when one may encouter Prior colleagues and bosses again.

Companies can do alot and to the departing employee who is open-minded to a counter-offer, those disucssions are balanced with what the employees knows the next offer will give him or her.

Companies have alot of Retention Tools their sleeves they can Play with, the open-minded departing employee can then start to elucidate those and negotiate well as part of that retention process.

One other Point and it links to what MAP said - if you are the one with an offer, never make an assumption that if you present that to your employer that they will ask you to stay. Have a half-of-a-brain and ask yourself if you're really in spot where an employer wants to Keep you. It could very well be that your Boss and Team want to see you go and happy to wave good bye and possibly Pop open a bottle of champagne when you leave.

Having a Boss or employer wanting to retain you after you've presented witn another offer is earned. It's not a right, so becareful with expectations.

Follow my recommendation in my post above - if you believe if you are of value to your current organization, do it constructively - dont walk into your bosses Office and demand a salary raise because you have another offer. You might find yourself being escorted out the door by security and you desk belongings being mailed to your home.

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Re: Using a job offer to get a promotion or better salary

Postby Dave Jensen » Thu Oct 29, 2015 1:38 pm

MAP wrote:Some in academia, some at more commercial roles. Once I was at a "How to negotiate" workshop and one person asked the presenter, how to ask for a better salary. The presenter said, get a job offer and go with that to your boss. Guy was left very confused


This points out the problem with career advice, and it has affected us for two decades on the forum. There is such a preponderance of different ideas, that it can be confusing. I have a Salary Negotiation workshop as well, and I give completely the opposite advice. The last thing you want to do is to go to a boss and try to blackmail him or her. You may get what you want, but you're being short-sighted because the boss is only taking that knee-jerk reaction because of the position you've put her in, and she'll remember it the first time that layoffs need to be passed out.

Dave
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