Saturday, April 10, 2010

Job Offer? No Thanks.

Recently a friend of mine applied for a job in a company. He went for the usual 3 or 4 rounds of interviews. Finally, the HR called and said that they are taking a risk in him and offering a job. My friend was stunned. He never expected that the HR would make such a stupid statement while making a job offer.

When I heard about this, I asked two people known to me. One is a CEO of a medium sized Company. He is a U.S. born Indo-American. Another one is a well known HR specialist in USA. She has written a book and also writes her own blog. In order to protect the identity of my friend, I told both of them I received a job offer with this statement from HR. Here is what they have to say:

The CEO told me over the phone that it is a negotiation tactic to reduce the compensation package. It is also a tactic to put the prospective employee on guard for the next 2 or 3 years. You will work hard to prove you are not a risk and won’t ask for any salary increase. He also said: Actually, you should tell the HR person that they need not take a risk on you. And, you should also tell them that you have 3 other job offers and if they want you, they should “sell” their company to you”

The HR specialist wrote me an email. I was surprised she responded to my email within one hour. Here is what she wrote:

“It's one of two things. Either it's a negotiation tactic, like you suspect, designed to make you not ask for more money, or it's an awkward attempt at a compliment. I can think of a couple of times when I've said to a candidate who knew her experience was on the light side, "We had candidates with more experience than you, but ultimately we were really impressed with your ____ and think you would excel in the job." It's possible that the HR person was going for something like that and screwed up the delivery.

On the other hand, do you think you're a risk? If it's clear that you're not the traditional ideal candidate for the role but you pushed for them to take a risk on a new approach, then maybe she was just acknowledging that. But if that were the case, you probably wouldn't be asking me.

And frankly, the reality is that every hire is a risk to one degree or another. People can blow you away in an interview and then crash and burn once on the job. But hiring managers don't normally feel the need to remind candidates of that when making an offer.”

Yes, hiring managers will not say this to a prospective employee. But the HR makes stupid statements. (If there are any readers who read my posts regularly and happen to be an HR person, you are an exception. Hey, I don't want to lose my readers.)

My friend politely declined the job offer. Good for him.

What do you think? Looking forward to reading your views.


  1. ah, I have had bad experiences with the HR too..once I was told that I was over qualified for the post that they are hiring me for after six rounds of an interview! now either they hated me or they were right - I don't know; but it did hurt as I had wasted my three days behind one job interview..

    I somehow feel this was a tactic for negotiations and no further promotion; but an absurd one at the same time..

  2. 'the HR called and said that they are taking a risk in him and offering a job' this is not a sensible statement by the HR.

    I admire the way people work/give importance to queries over there. The CEO replied you within the hour and frankly told you about the way they handle things, nice.

    Good to know that your friend had refused to take this job.

  3. OH that is a very daring statement to make. Not to my liking. I would have carefully considered the job. the company before agreeing or declining.

  4. Thanks for your comments Neha. They are not very intellegent. If they think you are overqualified, why in the first place they interviewed you for 6 rounds.

  5. Thanks for your comments Sandhya. I have to add a caveat here. The CEO and the HR specialist are known to me personally.

  6. Thanks for your comments Titaxy. When someone says you are a risk it means they are not going to treat you fairly if you take their offer.

  7. The tactics used by people to negotiate are many. Is it exploitation or putting the person under pressure to get the best out of him? Interviews is time to view each other. So during that time a good HR must be able to assess well. If they are saying they are taking a risk.... is there any obligation ? Good your friend didn't accept the post. I appreciate him. He would get better one.

  8. Thanks for your comments Chitra. Actually, I was looking forward to your comments. I know you are an HR person. I hope "he" gets a job of his liking soon.

  9. To add, think about the grueling interview sessions your friend had to go through? Taking risk?? This company seems to be doing charity primarily...

    Negative psychology to make the person feel that he is worthless. If they show this attitude to a potential employee now, imagine what they would do after the person joins?

  10. Interesting post.. I feel your friend should have let them know why he declined the offer. It may not matter to them, but I'm sure in future they would think twice before using this 'signature statement' on new hires.

  11. Thanks for your comments Insignia. You are absolutely right. If this is the welcome message, how would they treat the employee once he/she is in.

  12. Thanks for your comments lostworld. You are right. My friend not only told the HR Manager, he also called the hiring manager and told him why he is not taking their offer. He did a good service to future job applicants in that company.

  13. your friend did the right thing by refusing the job. and then don't we take a considerable amount of risk while joining a company?

  14. Thanks for your comments Anuradha. Yes, we all take risks. But the company should not give that kind of message.

  15. Once they re-designated the personnel department to HR department - they brought in many youngsters with fancy degrees. Previously these were handled by people who had some experience in labour relations.

  16. Thanks for your comments Radha. You are correct. They come with degrees but no "tact" to deal with people.

  17. HR shall be trained NOT TO make such statement. I don't consider this to be a negotiation technique. More appropriate negotiation techniques are statement like not exact match and market conditions.

    Thanks for sharing and articulating it nicely.

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