When a job offer misses the mark

I really appreciate honesty upfront. I appreciate it even more as I’ve gotten older and less patient. There’s many ways to deliver honesty. You don’t always have to be an asshole about it, contrary to popular belief. But in order to appreciate honesty, the receiver also needs to have somewhat of a thick skin and be able to take it. It’s a balance on both the giver and the receiver’s side. In an exchange between a recruiter and a job seeker, what I really love is honesty upfront: if there are certain benefits I am looking for or a salary range that I am eyeballing, I tell the recruiter in the first call, and I really appreciate it when they tell me that they can or cannot meet those expectations. It respects my time. It also respects their and their hiring team’s time. So you can imagine when I’ve been upfront about all these things since day 1, and two weeks later, when an offer is on the table, and somehow, the salary offered is about $40K off of what I originally laid out. What exactly happened here that got lost in communication?

The recruiter explained that the company tries hard to stay aligned with market rates, constantly does market research, and this is what they came up with for this job title. I told her in response… well, that may be the case, but that doesn’t align with the years of experience with that title, because someone with five years of experience doing this type of work is going to demand something a lot lower than someone with 10 years of experience. They need to align their compensation bands as such.

I was so frustrated. It’s the first job offer I’ve had on the table since I started loosely looking for a new job at the beginning of this year, and this is what the result of the last two weeks of interviewing has been — really? It felt like a total waste of time. I realize I should be grateful to have any offer given so many people have lost their jobs since the pandemic began, and many companies have hiring freezes, but this was just poor expectations set on the recruiter’s side since the very beginning. I would have much rather appreciated that she just tell me as soon as she found out that the comp wasn’t going to align so that I didn’t have to waste any more time or effort with them.

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