Presenting and Negotiating a Job Offer

presenting and negotiating a job offer
In this episode, Gareth Webb, OutScout's founder & CEO, discusses best practices in presenting a job offer to candidates, common mistakes being made, and ways to maximize the negotiation efforts on both sides.
Additional topics covered: 
  • socializing information early and frequently
  • thinking about negotiations as collaborative
  • how to remove emotion from the process 
  • don't rush the process - ways to improve the offer presentation 
  • how candidates can take ownership of the conversation



[00:00:00] Jake Gorgol: All right. Okay, so we can go ahead and jump right into it. We've talked about a few different things here. We've talked about the state of hiring initially talked about org design and the importance of that and getting that right up front. Talked about the interview process a little bit and want to dive into, okay, so now let's say the interview has gone well, there's a good fit on both ends.

[00:00:20] And the client is ready to, or the company is ready to, give an offer. Based on my understanding and talking with our talent partner team and then, and you and just hearing conversations in our [00:00:30] office obviously there's a lot of work that goes into the whole process of hiring front and it's that's a long process there.

[00:00:35] But, it feels like sometimes often the offer is almost like a, an afterthought in a way. It's okay, here you go. Look it over and let me know what you think. So I know there's in talking with you, good ways of going about it. And maybe that's not the best way.

[00:00:47] So I'm curious to, talk with you and break down how to construct and present an offer. Keep things clear and ultimately increase the likelihood that a candidate will accept with the role. So let's kinda kick things off. And where do you see [00:01:00] companies go wrong in.

[00:01:01] Aspect, and we can jump into best practices after that.

[00:01:04] Gareth Webb: Yeah. I'll go back a little bit to what we talked about a few weeks ago, which was like timely hiring. And so getting things prepared like this, the preparation piece. So obviously you shouldn't dive into a hiring process without having a target compensation.

[00:01:25] Range and package and mechanisms for how people earn their [00:01:30] bonus or commission or how their stock options could be structured. The biggest issue is that people land on a candidate. And then I dunno if it's nerves or apprehension or fear of rejection, but the people will just tend to. Splurt it out okay, here's our offer.

[00:01:54] That's not always the case, but it's pretty common. And then the best [00:02:00] clients or companies and people who are better at hiring are so they, the emotion is first of all, has to be removed. And that's the same for candidates by the way. So any negotiating deal making scenario. Emotion should be removed.

[00:02:15] There should be a upper and lower limit established and middle ground. And the best offers are the ones that there's no surprises. Everybody's been up front with each other, increasingly so, through a [00:02:30] process. So, even upfront clients don't always want to be. Fully candid about the upper and lower limits.

[00:02:37] So some of our clients don't like to give a range because they're like everyone's just gonna want the upper range. So they don't say it. They just give a target number. And there's obviously some flexibility, typically candidates. Don't like to say what they earn and what they want to earn in case they're under underselling themselves or under Valu undervaluing themselves or pricing themselves out.

[00:02:58] So people are for that. For [00:03:00] those reasons, people are pretty coy.

[00:03:02] Jake Gorgol: Nervous pricing themselves out in terms of thinking they're gonna offer or say

[00:03:06] something too high?

[00:03:07] Gareth Webb: Yeah. So say I'm trying to get to 250 this is this, these guys are max 220. Oh, that can work. So people just were like, what?

[00:03:15] So everybody asks what the other side's looking for. So they, I think this is changing and will change whereby you know, we've seen Microsoft going to advertise salary ranges, and lots of other companies do. Then so it's just this kind of [00:03:30] notion of what, again, it's about fit. So finding fit is about skills, experience, cultural kind of like values, alignment and pricing.

[00:03:38] It's be, if we're going to be crude about it compensation pay structure, there's nothing. I think it's just so beneficial to be out front because you don't just don't waste time. Then so at the beginning, people are a little bit more coy and through a process, especially before final stage people wanna be having that conversation and socializing offers [00:04:00] like not hiding and hiding until in fact that it needs to be made.

[00:04:03] So the best companies we work with, they are upfront about the comp range or package structure. That either works for somebody or it doesn't, if there's some flexibility, then we normally know that. And then, prior getting towards the final stages, socializing some numbers does this work for you?

[00:04:23] This is what we're trying to do. This is what we've got budgeted. Is this going to work? I think it's best to be doing that going into a final stage. [00:04:30] So everybody knows. Okay. All we're doing here is getting to a yes or a no, it can happen after a final round. And that's that's also fine, but you've, especially if you've got one or two people looking to take a position for the comp for client, that's fine.

[00:04:44] If you've got a couple of people in play. So then the whole conversation around. Here's what we are thinking. Does this work for you and not being scared to negotiate both sides is we see we, we hear it and see it so much, where can, [00:05:00] is scared to negotiate. Even. They much prefer doing that via us as a middle person.

[00:05:06] Cause I think it just absorbs some friction and the delivery of negotiation is key as well. And then even with clients and even with hiring companies, in a good market or bad market, I'm still shocked that how many people get offended by pushback and negotiation when candidates are trying to move an offer about, and sometimes very reasonably.

[00:05:29] It's like [00:05:30] someone's playing with their livelihood here. They are negotiating to solidify their value before they come in. I see absolutely no problem with that. As long as it's done in a professional and diplomatic and reasonable manner. And that's the word I would also use. So there's like stripping out the emotion, going into a negotiation.

[00:05:49] If you're gonna get emotional about it and defensive and irritated, then you're never gonna have a good you are never going to have a good experience or a good outcome. Then the other part of that is, [00:06:00] why would you not want somebody, coming to work for you, who's prepared to negotiate and quite good at doing it, but they're only gonna end up, they negotiate themselves on they comp and they've got the strength of character to do that,

[00:06:11] and that's a skill then make them do it for you when they work for you. When they're talking to vendors or booking a venue or whatever that may be or hiring for of that, maybe they were hiring for them. It should, it's not haggle. It's not like it's haggling. think people feel like it's haggling in a marketplace or a some street haggling scenario.

[00:06:29] That's [00:06:30] not everybody who's worth anything in business should be good at negotiating. And yeah, I'm always shocked when talent teams hiring managers, founders get irritated. When people push back to negotiate. I'd say 80% do. There's very few. They're like, okay, fair enough. Yeah, that's a good point.

[00:06:48] We'll take it on board and we'll come back and we'll revise the offer. So where people go wrong is they don't establish where they want to land at the very beginning. They don't socialize offers through the process or [00:07:00] prior to presenting. So just it's all about calibration, right?

[00:07:04] Making sure that you are converging with two parties and just removing emotion from a negotiation process. So it's not bad to negotiate. It's not dirty, it's not scammy. But all three of those things sometimes come into effect.

[00:07:21] Jake Gorgol: It's actually a little bit higher than I would've guessed or expected in terms of that you've worked with that can be potentially a little more [00:07:30] emotional or get offended when an offer is being negotiated..

[00:07:32] Gareth Webb: It's also really strange when they haven't socialized earlier. So, we have clients that are just without telling us and we don't advise, it's if you're paying a third party, decent amount of money, don't just use them for the submission or the resume or the match, whatever you should be using every ounce of their ability to get value from the fee.

[00:07:54] So it's always strange to me where clients are like, all right here's the offer. We're gonna present it to this afternoon, thanks. Whoa, whoa, whoa. Like don't, Don't [00:08:00] do that. That's not, what's been discussed or that's not quite where they wanna get to. And then the bit that most people, I think, because if you're giving offers regularly, if you are a talent acquisition professional in house, or you are a head of people, Or you're an exec and you're doing a bunch of hiring.

[00:08:16] You can get into the mode of of, I give offers for fun. I'm doing every week, then therefore it degrades in terms of its kind of importance to you, but for the candidate receiving it, it doesn't degrade in its importance. Cause they maybe don't experience that every [00:08:30] week or year or even five years.

[00:08:31] We just had somebody recently that left their company out 13 years and. It was an, it was a, quite a stressful deal for them to make sure they got it right. And even if that's not the case, if someone's changing jobs every 2, 3, 4 years, whatever they decide to do, it's still a big move.

[00:08:45] So if someone's rushing it, because they're used to doing it quite a lot, that's it's important to me. Why are you rushing it? And why is there no detail here? So most people just fire out the base, the bonus percentage. And then oh, here's and some stock. Okay. So what's the bonus [00:09:00] percentage.

[00:09:00] What's the mechanism for earning that? Describe that? How does the stock option work? What's people don't always understand the vesting schedule. They don't even understand how options work. So have some that documentation around that. What's the pricing, the value of that. Some, yeah, it's very irritating when companies just fire.

[00:09:19] A number of shares and smart, solid candidates want to know what that's worth. Yeah. And to that, and then final point there just the be the benefits are important, but people just say, oh yeah. And we've got [00:09:30] a one pager, we'll shoot it over to you. And the benefits it's just spend five minutes going through it.

[00:09:34] You're gonna do all this. Spend the extra five minutes going through each line item. So people get it and they can ask you questions and then probably get done.

[00:09:43] Jake Gorgol: Yeah, I was gonna, that's a good segue into my next question.

[00:09:45] I'm kinda curious, I walk me through what a presentation looks like if you wanna call it that instead of, sending it out what does that like ideal process or step by step kinda look like in your eyes?

[00:09:55] Gareth Webb: I think collaboration is key [00:10:00] around an offer. Cause if you think about it, if you are gonna be working with that person, You're going to be you're going to be going through certain transactions with them and deals and experiences like this, which is agreement like an agreement which is a negotiation is basically coming towards an agreement, right?

[00:10:16] With some compromise. So the the, the way I think an offer should be presented is. Especially now where you can screen share common everyone's screen sharing all the time is document the offer, [00:10:30] put it together in its entirety, base, bonus, equity, benefits. Put it in a one pager. That's put it pointed, concise, very clear.

[00:10:40] Yeah. Okay. Be fine. If you've got like healthcare or other selected perks but just have the key components in a one pager and just say, Hey look, let is, I'm gonna walk you through. Here it is. People can, then some people are audio. Some people are visual. So just do both say, I'm gonna talk you through here's the base.

[00:10:57] Here's why we've landed on this number. Here's where your [00:11:00] OTE's coming in, out with the bonus. And here's how the stock works. Here's the vest. So this works out that you will be getting X through your first 1, 2, 3, 4 years. And here's our benefits and just go through them by line item. You can also probably then gauge reaction a little bit some people will say yes on the spot. Some people want to go and digest, discuss, come back to you. So what mostly happens is either it gets fired or fire an email, Hey, congrats, here's your offer. We never do that. We always wanna discuss [00:11:30] gauge reaction and then focusing on the points that prefer like they're okay with, And then you can then give that document to the person you've been through it with them.

[00:11:39] And then you obviously wait to hear back.

[00:11:40] Jake Gorgol: And have that expectation.

[00:11:41] Like we talked about be the beginning in terms of expecting that there's probably gonna be some back and forth a little bit. Is that, is that what you're kind of saying?

[00:11:49] Gareth Webb: Yeah. You can get, you can put best foot forward if you want for an offer.

[00:11:51] And if that's best and final, it was pretty bad business practice in general, to do that. And especially when this is why hiring's [00:12:00] difficult, because there's so many different preference settings now for looking for a job, taking a job. So there's the whole how many days am I expected to come into the office?

[00:12:09] Am I expected to come into the office? I categorically don't want to go into the. We've got clients that are fully distributed. And then once every week, three months they meet up for an offsite somewhere. And then, so what does that mean? Do I have to go to that? Do I have to miss a whole week with being at home for my kids?

[00:12:25] These are all questions it's complicated. It's all very personal as well.

[00:12:29] If they have [00:12:30] some things they want to amend or adjust or improve if they're a really good candidate, they should do that. So having a wiggle room and flexibility is key. So some, this is one of the things we ask about with folks early on is like risk appetite and we talked about it before with a offer or or a package, which is more of a kind of dial up, dial down base bonus or cash versus equity.

[00:12:54] Not everybody can do that. And companies have bandings for obvious reasons. Yeah, just [00:13:00] going best foot forward is bad practice. Say best foot forward, best and final, best foot forward is good. But having room to be flexible is critical.

[00:13:11] Jake Gorgol: Any, tips or thoughts for candidates in terms of the offer process?

[00:13:15] Gareth Webb: Yeah. So I think we talk about preparation and know research bad, knowing what kind of a company to join and doing the due diligence. Part of that is obviously comp and there's plenty of sources to get gauge on comp. I think [00:13:30] having a very good understanding what works for you upfront and being clear about that.

[00:13:35] So yeah, I need to earn, and then, whatever the number is, I'm on 150 base now. There's no, everyone seems to think there's this number that you should get for just changing jobs. So oh, I'm on one 50 now, I want a 20% increase. So I want to be on 180 making sure that math's correct. Yeah, so that doesn't mean that you are, you don't earn the right to get increased just for changing jobs, but typically you will get an increase.

[00:13:58] I think having, [00:14:00] again like a client, having a range and as a candidate having a range okay, I'm not gonna take a lower base than this. I will take that lower base if the opportunity's amazing. And there's some sizable upside on equity. Options or whatever. Then you don't really want to be getting too carried away and just pushing for the biggest base salary in my opinion.

[00:14:20] Cause yeah. Great. If you can get more than you planned for, and we do see that especially you've been underpaid prior, so go for it. [00:14:30] The, but having some sensibility around the total package, And being clear about that through the process as well. Hey look, going into final stage, like lead the conversation.

[00:14:41] I would say if the company's not doing it, then take ownership of the situation and say, just wanna confirm that, I'm looking for 180 base. I don't want bonus less than 20, unless there's really good equity and probably commit that to paper, like email ahead. Once you've had the conversation, just so you [00:15:00] can say we discuss this, cause it could be.

[00:15:04] This happens all the time in all areas of business, someone doesn't tell somebody or it doesn't get lost. Yeah. It gets lost. And it's one of the things we are trying to fix with be having clients be upfront about comp and having candidates be a bit more upfront about comp and having that in our platform that we want to make sure that there's, there's a source of truth around this, these data points.

[00:15:23] If people are prepared to do that. And then yeah, with candidates, it's the same. It's. Don't try not to be too [00:15:30] emotional on both ends of the spectrum. So what happens is if it's low people get dejected, if it's really high, people get really excited and then they get carried away. If you're offering me this then, or if someone else is offering me this, you better offer me this.

[00:15:43] So we do see all ends of the spectrum. We see some real steady, consistent, decent. Yeah, that's exactly what I said. I wanted, I'm happy with that. Then you see this tail end of the experience. Where there's just, oh if they're not offering me, what else [00:16:00] for then I'm not gonna work there. It's maybe they're offering you this for a good reason.

[00:16:03] Maybe you didn't come in as a senior product manager because you didn't demonstrate that you are senior. Like beyond years of experience, you didn't demonstrate the traits. They're putting you in this banding in one year, you could get promoted. So yeah, you are coming in at the upper end of that band and that's how they run the business.

[00:16:21] So I think that's a big mistake that we see just against the emotion creeps in and just ironing out through if [00:16:30] something's really important to you, like healthcare, be have that conversation upfront early and say, look, by the way I get full healthcare coverage.

[00:16:39] And so I'm used to that. I want that there's all these things that tend to get left to the end. I think as people want to be chosen first, before they negotiate, I don't think that's the way to do it. It's best to do it gradually through the process as a candidate. And like I said, if they're not, if the client's not leading it, you should lead it.

[00:16:59] In my opinion.[00:17:00]

[00:17:03] Jake Gorgol: Let's go ahead and wrap up. Wanted to have you quickly touch on some of the key points takeaways you want companies to walk away with here.

[00:17:11] Gareth Webb: So companies should, again, with this whole consensus around what you're hiring for, why what's acceptable, what level talk the range in there, try to about it.

[00:17:28] So having this range, [00:17:30] being clear, being upfront socializing offers prior to the fact. So don't wait till the decisions been made and then do it. If you're getting towards a decision and someone's going through into a final and everyone's putting in a lot of time and energy into a panel or something like that, or you're gonna use time from your CEO or C-suite to interview somebody, be like, start talking about it before no surprises.

[00:17:55] The surprises are really bad in any deal, but especially in hiring. And [00:18:00] then don't go best and final and don't get pissed off because someone wants to have an conversation with you and negotiate their package. And then when you're presenting the offer, the summary I would say is just like document it ahead of time, go, but go through the line items. Don't dismiss benefits and perks as supplementary and just, oh, we'll whip you a little docs.

[00:18:23] Don't be lazy, basically like all the work and sourcing, talking to partners, managing a whole process [00:18:30] to then blow it at the final stage, just because you literally can't be asked to. Go through a line item and talk somebody about it and just surprising how often that happens. So don't do it. Just do it properly.

[00:18:43] Jake Gorgol: Thanks again for your time. I always appreciate it. And until next week.


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