How to handle the job offer

Usually, you will be offered the position over the phone.  Hopefully you have had a compensation discussion before this point.  I like to think that most recruiters / hiring managers want to give people a fair day’s pay for a fair day’s work.  I have offered huge compensation increases to people and I have hired people who actually take a pay cut when they come on board.  Sure, some companies may low-ball you but these days I think those companies are more and more rare.

Some people will tell you to always re-negotiate, I am not one of those people.  If you have told me throughout the interview process that your number is $45k and I offer you $45k or better than I am expecting you to say yes.  If you come back and say your really want $50k it is not a good harbinger of things to come.

Think of it this way…  you and your significant other decide to move in.  Before you do you two divide up the housework duties and you decide to split the bills.  But the day before the move they say, you know, I have been thinking about it.  I only want to pay 40% of the rent because I don’t think I will be there a lot.  You be like: WTF

Yep, that is how the employer feels.  No bueno.  So if you say a number, stick to it.  If you negotiate then do so in good faith.


Everything is negotiable. Whether or not the negotiation is easy is another thing.
Carrie Fisher

The break up call

goodbyWe have all gotten it, the break up call.  When it comes from a recruiter it is more likely a Dear John letter/email.  My rule of thumb is that if you make it to the final round of interviews I call.  I try to call if you make it to the Manager but that does not always happen.  Those calls suck to get and they suck to make.

When you receive the email or call many people’s first reaction is to lash out.  DO NOT succumb to this.  No good can come from lashing out at the person or the company but many people do through direct contact or social media.  When I see someone go nuclear negative after being turned down my first thought usually is “thank you for confirming our decision.”

I have helped lots of people that we have turned down.  Just the other day I told a candidate about some issues with their resume.   I have referred others to other recruiters or other companies that they may be a better match for.  But if you burn me, no bueno for you.

I would definitely follow-up with the recruiter after you calm down.  Ask for feedback and see if there are any other positions at their company or if they can suggest other place to find similar positions.  Most recruiters do feel bad for the majority of people they turn down.  Handle it right and you might just add them to your network.


Sometimes by losing a battle you find a new way to win the war.
Donald Trump


Update calls from the recruiter

follow up callIf you are interviewing with a company you want to be sure you know what the process is.  Think of it as sales.  No good sales person ends an appointment without scheduling the next one or a day and time to follow-up.  The interview process should be the same.  When you talk to a recruiter or hiring manager always find out what the next step is and when you should follow-up.  If they say “you will hear from us by Monday” and it is Tuesday you need to follow-up.  But be sure to follow-up the “right” way.

I encourage people to assume the best.  Don’t call or write saying “You said you would follow-up with me by Monday.  It is Tuesday and I still have not heard anything.”  No bueno for you.  Guess what?  Recruiters are not perfect, they make mistakes.  They also usually handle up to 30 open positions at one time so how about cutting a brother a break?

The better way to follow-up would sound something like this: “I hope you had a great weekend.  I am very excited about the next step in the interview process.  Please let me know if you need anything else from me.  I will follow-up with you tomorrow at noon, if that works for you.”  You could even say something like “I have missed emails in the past and I wanted to make sure I had not missed one from you.”

Remember that you are being evaluated throughout the entire process.  I don’t tell you that to make you nervous, just to keep you aware that both what you say and how you say it makes a difference.  You are the product and the sales person, the company is the customer.  That is not to say that they shouldn’t also be selling you, they should.  But you don’t want to be the weak link.


Be kind whenever possible. It is always possible.

Dalai Lama

I called because you contacted me

bored phoneI talk on the phone A LOT!  So much so that I do not like talking on the phone outside of work.  I am also a bit judgmental of how others speak and act on the phone since I do it so often.  OK, maybe I am a bit too picky, but when you are trying to get a job the little things can make a BIG difference!  Remember, there is usually only one job available and there are usually several candidates in the running for that job.  One wrong move and you may be out!

I have much less patience for poor phone etiquette when I am calling someone after they applied or reached out to me in some way to express interest in the position.  Here is how some of my calls to candidate go:

The phone rings:

Candidate: Yeah
Me:Is Bob there?
Candidate: Who is this?
Me: My name is Al and I am a recruiter with the widget company.
Candidate: Yeah
Me: Are you Bob?
Candidate: Yeah
Me: I was calling because you applied for the Idiot in Training position.
Candidate: Yeah

SERIOUSLY!  “Yeah”  I am not even whelmed with this person.  Underwhelmed is more like it.  Imagine this… you meet someone at a coffee shop and they say “call me sometime.”  The next day you call them and say “hey, this is Pat.  We met at the coffee shop yesterday.”  Their response?  “Yeah.”  No bueno!

If you have shown interest in a position you have NO EXCUSE for acting like a tool, unless you are a tool, in which case we don’t hire tools.  Capeesh?  When I call someone who has applied for a position the very least I expect is them to act interested, which I don’t always get.

On to my next issue with phone calls: “Now is not a good time for me.”   I get it.  I am calling people on their cell phones and I have no way of knowing what is going on where they are but I do know one thing… EVERYONE has caller ID.  Guess what?  When I call it shows you the name of the company.  If you answer the call don’t just tell me now is not a good time and could I call back later.  I could call back later, but I won’t.  At a minimum you should take my info and YOU call me back later.  Also, don’t just say later, set a specific day and time.

Lastly, be sure your voicemail is working and not full, also a big issue.  Remember, the interview process is the BEST you we will get.


The cell phone has become the adult’s transitional object, replacing the toddler’s teddy bear for comfort and a sense of belonging.
Margaret Heffernan

The warm call from a recruiter

In this undated publicity photo released by NBC, actor Steve Carell appears in this scene from the television series "The Office." Carell was nominated for lead actor in a comedy series, Thursday, July 6, 2006, when the nominations for the 58th Annual Primetime Emmy Awards were announced in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/NBC, Justin Lubin)
(AP Photo/NBC, Justin Lubin)

Yeah, I’ve done it.  I have called people and told them “I was referred to you by someone on a confidential basis for a position I am recruiting for…”  and I believe that most of the time that was true.  But I also know that I have gotten names from references on resumes, Twitter, FB and even from peeling back urls in the old days.  I have had people tell me “I know someone who would be great but I am hesitant to give you their name because I work with them.”   That is where the confidential part of the referral sometimes comes into play.

Whether you believe the recruiter or not, the rules are similar to the cold call.  If they don’t or won’t tell you who gave them your name then treat it like a cold call.  If they tell you who referred them, it gives them a little more credibility.  Also, you want to be sure and follow-up with the person that referred the recruiter to you.  Why?  One, to validate their story and two, to see if they have any more information on the position.  A good recruiter will know a lot about the position, but as in many positions, not all recruiters are that good.

The last thing you want is to find a great opportunity and have some punk recruiter mess you up by giving you incomplete or worse, inaccurate information on the position.  If the recruiter does not give you a lot of information, they may not have it.  Either way, it is up to you, the candidate, to do your homework on the position and the company.

Before you get off the phone with the recruiter be sure to get their information and try to get as much information on the position and company they are considering you for.  They may not give you much on the position or company until they have a chance to pitch you to the hiring manager.  Remember, an agency recruiter only gets paid if they refer you to the company.


Be kind to unkind people, they need it the most.

Handling cold calls from a recruiter

Cold callVery few people like getting cold calls.  It is usually your cable provider wanting to “review your bill” with you or a group wanting a contribution.  But sometimes it is a recruiter who has found you or been referred to you by someone.  Hopefully, if you are like me, it is a little flattering, unless you get these calls all the time.  If you do, I am sorry for this first world problem:)

The first thing to do is to ask if they are with a company or if they are with an agency.  Why?  Because this usually speaks to their motivation.  The fee an Agency receives is often equal to 30% of the new hire’s salary.  That can provide a lot of motivation and it some people to make poor choices.  If they work directly for the company with the opening their motivations have a better chance of being aligned with yours, making sure you and the position/company are a match for one another.

Think of this as dating.  If a dating service is being paid to set you up on dates they may set you up with some people that you are not the best match with.  After all they get paid for both good and bad dates.  On the other hand if a person asks you to go out with them, they probably think you might be a good match.

I am not slamming agencies here, I am just stating the obvious potential for a conflict of interest.

Either way, you want to be gracious when you get a cold call, even if you are not interested.  You never know what the future holds.  I have cold called people and been treated like like a punk only to have the person call me back in a month after being laid off.  Guess what?  I take notes, so it’s no bueno for you.

If the recruiter is worth their salt they will sell you on having a conversation about the position, not on the job itself.  They may say something like “let’s have a 10 – 15 minute conversation to see if the position might be a match.”  If you are available I say take the time.  You never know what the opportunity is and you might even think of someone else who is a good match.  Taking that call can be good for you, the recruiter and your friend.

If you are not interested at all I suggest that you just tell them.  Say something like “I appreciate the interest but I am not interested at this time.  Please send me your information and any information on the job.  I will let you know if I think of anyone who is interested.”  We understand that you are busy and most recruiters will respect your time.

If you take time to speak with a recruiter they will probably want to know about you first.  I know, this is a bit of a pain as you want to know some of the basics of the job to see if it is worth your time.  But most recruiters are trained to first see if you are a possible fit before they give you information on the position.  They also may or may not be filling a database with your information for future use.  It is a bit of a judgement call on how much information you share.


In order to succeed, we must first believe we can.
Nikos Kazantzakis