OT: Job offer pulled as a result of salary negotiation

Submitted by Michigan Arrogance on May 27th, 2015 at 7:52 PM

Trying to take advantage of the multitude of expertise from the users of the site, especially those in hiring positions and/or HR to see if there is any experience with this kind of thing.

Disclaimer: job is a union position with no room to negotiate advancement beyond the union-negotiated contract pay step schedule. It is possible, however, to be placed at different levels when hired.

Long story longer: I applied for a position, went though 2 rounds of interviews and was clearly the #1 candidate from the start and throughout the process. Ref. checks and Xscripts already done (no issues there). I get a call from the HR director who offers the position with the starting salary and wants 48hrs for me to respond. I am pretty content with the job I have (wasn't even looking for a new position but was asked by an acquaintance to apply to the new position). I ask about flexibility re: starting salary and she mentions that in some circumstances she could get approval but likely not in this case. She ends an email later that night reiterating the offer. I respond to the email explaining my additional years of unique experience and how I'm interested in the position but would like consideration for those additional years beyond their initial offer. I basically ask for 13-15% more than what they offered which I thought left a decent window to meet somewhere in the middle.

Maybe I was to forward/firm in the email, but HR director lady responds to me by rescinding the offer b/c they "have a deliberate recuitment and selection process and we would not want to be put in a situation or have you in a situation where you are unhappy with your employment opportunity." I was pretty shocked. At worst, I thought she'd just say,"no, we can't do that please have your decision re: the original offer by the agreed upon timeline."

Now, the main person who actually interviewed me (twice) and made the decision to select me, set up interviews, call my references, check all my documents, etc. was pretty shocked that the HR person essentially trumped her and the entire hiring process. Everything I've seen on the web, reddit, some others I know were pretty confused too. The more I think about it, I'm starting to consider it pretty unprofessional behavior on the HR director's part to rescind an offer just b/c I attempted to negotial starting salary placement, but moreso that she singlehandedly trumped the entire hiring process at this place. I mean, instead of all these questions the committee asked me across 2 rounds of interviews, they could have just cut to the chase and asked me if I'd take $XX,000 dollars with no questions asked. What a complete waste of time.

I guess my questions are, 1) any experiece with salary negotiation resulting in pulled offers of employment? 2) anyone in hiring/HR have any explanation for this? 3) any recommendation about how I should follow up?

I have no criminal history, all references were checked, called and verified prior to the HR office taking over the process. I'm kind of at a loss, but it's really no big deal b/c like I said I am pretty content with my current position. Everything I've heard/read is that you should always negotiate starting salary in a professional manner, stating the reasons for your worth to the company and your excitement for the position, which I thought is what I did. Thanks in advance for indulging in the discussion.



May 27th, 2015 at 7:58 PM ^

But my advice is stay away from this company. They are a-holes, and you probably don't want to work for them.  Since you already have a job that you are OK with, just chalk this one up to "a-holes will be a-holes" and move on.


May 27th, 2015 at 8:19 PM ^

Agreed - I've worked at some baaaaad companies for some good salaries. My take is it is far better to avoid those situations when possible, even for the extra comp... consider yourself fortunate


May 27th, 2015 at 7:58 PM ^

Very strange IMO. Those HR guys are a goofy bunch. A company that doesn't understand that negotiation is a everyday part of doing business, has no business being in business.


May 28th, 2015 at 5:36 PM ^

I had an interview many years ago. At the end, the HR person sat down with me for another half hour to get my impression of the day. The entire time we were talking, she was busily writing notes on her note pad while never once looking down at her notes. That's an amazing skill. Either that, or she was just writing jibberish to look like she was doing something.

Michigan Arrogance

May 27th, 2015 at 9:33 PM ^

I received the 1st offer and they contacted me first to set of interviews, contacted my references within hours of my interviews, and having talked to my references they gave me a very good indication I was the top candidate.

I think there was a solid internal candidate who I'm sure would take the job for whatever they offer and do well. nbd.

Michigan Arrogance

May 27th, 2015 at 9:30 PM ^

after the offer was pulled by HR lady, I called the head of the interview committee to thank her for the opportunity, the give her posititve feedback about the people I met and the high quality process and to tell her the HR lady pulled the offer b/c I tried to negotiate.


May 27th, 2015 at 8:06 PM ^

I've had employment contract negotiations break down because of compensation issues, but I've never seen an actual offer made and then rescinded at the first hint of a salary/placement negotiation on the part of the offeree.

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May 27th, 2015 at 10:04 PM ^

I actually moved from Hermosa Beach back to the Ann Arbor area last year (job transfer back to corp HQ in metro Detroit).

I occasionally watched at Sangria, then American Junkie, then GameChangers. With 3 kids and 2 under age 5, though, more often than not I watched at home with little ones underfoot and a six pack of Stone and a growler from Strand.

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May 28th, 2015 at 2:01 PM ^

Yes, please, by all means twist the knife.

I'll take solace in the knowledge that my kids are growing up with their grandparents around, and get to spend football Saturdays in Ann Arbor.

And I'll try to forget that it's 73 and sunny in Hermosa when it's minus 24 in January in Ann Arbor.


May 29th, 2015 at 5:34 PM ^

That's why I said January.

I know full well the dreariness of May Gray and June Gloom.  I lived west of PCH (and for about half the time I lived there, west of Loma), well inside the marine layer.

Out of town friends were always shocked when I told them to visit in March or April instead of May or June, because the weather's better outside of May/June..


May 27th, 2015 at 8:07 PM ^

You are content with your current job and they couldn't meet your salary requirements to change. If you were hoping that they would negotiate a higher wage to 'meet you in the middle', then unfortunately it looks like you misread the HR person.

Given the way this went down, would you really want to work there if they gave you 6-7% more than the typical starting salary? Consider it a lesson learned and a bullet dodged.


May 27th, 2015 at 9:30 PM ^

I guess the analogy is that he's already got a date to prom and a buddy asks him to ask out his friend. His buddy's friend isn't any better than his date but maybe she'll put out; he makes his play and she turns him down. No harm, no foul. But now it seems that he really just wanted to get to second base. Well, probably should've asked for that if that's what you really want and then just hold firm.

If the board digresses into analyzing every rejection then we'll be in for a mess.


May 27th, 2015 at 8:08 PM ^

Also- did you explain yourself to the Hr person? In curious as to their reasoning behind the decision. This can't be the only person that's ever tried to negotiate salary. Also in my experience salary negotiation was always done with the hiring manager.

Michigan Arrogance

May 27th, 2015 at 9:46 PM ^

yeah, I didn't just ask for X% more or even site general market medians, I reiterated my interest in the position, explained the additional unique experience that I felt wasn't accounted for in their offer and asked if there was room for additional compensation as a reult of that.

Now, maybe I was too forceful/blunt (it was over email) but I didn't think so.

Wolverine In Exile

May 27th, 2015 at 8:13 PM ^

Either a) hr person was following strict union rules on salary hiring practices, or b) was incompetent. Either way, a bad hr department is a sign of management who doesn't take the little things seriously, like hiring good people and retaining them, so consider yourself lucky.


May 27th, 2015 at 8:54 PM ^

...and HR gets all the frilly employee awards instead of the people actually producing products and services for the organization.  

That frosts my shorts when I nominate my team, who is busting their ass, working weekends, nights, travelling, winning new business and some fuck head from HR or some other supporting role gets employee of the quarter for something like keeping the bulletin board up to date.


May 28th, 2015 at 11:18 AM ^

It amazes me how you can generalize an entire department.  I have been in the "HR" space for 10 years and have not been around these type of situations.  I know many times HR has saved many peoples jobs from being eliminated, or faught for your team to get more vacation, a bonus or even more head count because your team wsa stretched to thin.  I have been in an HR department that faught with the exec team to get all prescriptions free for employees or helped many employees through personal problems that you never knew about.  While I know there are people in HR that are not good, I could say the same for every deparment in an organization.  I know sales people that will snake a sale from a teammate, I know engineers that do nothing and take credit for what their team accomplished and there is no recourse for those actions.  I am sure your team bust their tails on a day to day and quite frankly deserve awards as well, but I think it's wrong to generalize HR to people that keep a bulletin board up to date.  


May 28th, 2015 at 4:02 PM ^

If that's how you want to live go for it!  All I know is that if you have that attitude towards HR or other departments it shows more about your character than those departments.  I was just trying to point out generalization are unfair and not warranted.  Just like you stating your team should have got an award based on the work they did, they probably deserved it and it's unfair they didn't get it.