In the last post, we discussed common interview questions and answers you can provide. In this post, we’ll discuss how to deal with being accepted by the company and potentially accepting a job offer, or being rejected by the company, which can happen for a variety of reasons.
Getting the News
When you finally hear the news of acceptance (offered a job in this case) or rejection, how you take it depends greatly on your mindset. It’s easy to be happy when an offer is extended, and it’s just as easy to be disappointed or upset when things don’t go your way and you are rejected and removed from consideration for a position.
When I was applying to positions for my first job after college, I faced rejection a lot. I applied and interviewed with over 150 companies, so I got told that they were going with another candidate quite often. After a while, it was really disappointing and eventually, I started to wonder, “Is anyone going to hire me?” Because I think honesty is important, I’m going to get very raw here. At some points, I really didn’t think that I was worth something to a company and it made interviewing with other companies hard. It was a hard hit to the self esteem hearing “no” so many times. At times, I cried. It took a really long time to separate interviewing from self-worth.
But, eventually, I understood that companies were not rejecting me as a person, but were rather rejecting the skill set and experience I presented.
Note that word there, presented. This took me a while to realize. When a company rejects you, they aren’t actually rejecting you, but rather the skill set and experience you portrayed. When a company rejects you, one of two things actually happens: you didn’t accurately depict your skills and experience (if you were a true fit), or you simply weren’t a fit. If it’s the latter, that’s perfectly okay. The company was looking for something different than what you bring to the table.
If it’s the former, there’s opportunity to be capitalized on. Something isn’t connecting and keeping track of how companies respond, how far you are making it into the interview process, and how many callbacks you are getting can help you figure out what’s not connecting. It helps to understand that this is an objective process, much like a science experiment, and treating it like an experiment can help you make big gains.
Getting the Job Offer
If you winded up getting a job offer, you typically have the opportunity to negotiate it. I’ve always been given a verbal offer first to negotiate and nail down the specifics before being given a written offer to sign. I’ve never had a problem with this, but other people may want a written offer before negotiating, but this can slow down the negotiation process because there’s an extra step in the process, rather than simply just getting on the phone or sending an email.
Based on research you did earlier in the post series, you should have a good idea of what you are worth by using websites like Salary.com and PayScale.com. I’ve also used Glassdoor.com to get a better idea of whether the company would be good to work for, which works well for larger companies.
One of the best ways to prepare for a negotiation is to build a “Conversation Map”. You build a conversation map by stating a point, then writing down the possible paths the conversation could take based on the responses you could get, such as a negative response, a positive respond, or a deferral. This can greatly help your preparation by giving you the ability to prepare yourself for the various paths a conversation could take. What if they propose an offer that’s lower than what you expected? What if they won’t negotiate on salary? What if they are more flexible with stock options or time off? How are you going to prepare for this and what are your must-haves? A conversation map can help you get to the result you want more quickly because you are prepare for all of the various contingencies.
When you decide to negotiate a point, such as salary, you’ll typically need to make your point then stop talking and wait for an answer. I’ve seen a number of people hesitate when making their point or continue talking after they’ve made their request and blow the negotiation when they probably could have gotten what they wanted. It’s VERY hard to do your first time if you’ve never negotiated before because you are typically dealing with people who negotiate on a daily or weekly basis. You’ll need to make your point firmly and stop talking. If they counter back with something that’s other than what you want, tell them you’ll need to consider it for a day or two to give you time to prepare if you haven’t already.
Below are your action steps when preparing for a negotiation.
- Double-check your desired salary or salary range by going to Salary.com and PayScale.com.
- Double-check whether you want to work for the company that you are receiving an offer from by using Glassdoor.com.
- Build out a conversation map based on three different initial job offers: Getting the salary you want or more, get a job offer for a salary 5k-10k less than you want, and a job offer 20k or more less than you want.
- Practice a few possible paths through your conversation map while being recorded by a video camera. Review the footage and see where you hesitated or kept talking after you made your request.
- Follow through and decide whether you will be accepting a job offer or negotiating it.
One final thing I want to bring up even though I said it before. Negotiating is difficult if it’s your first time negotiating, so don’t be too hard on yourself if you don’t get everything you want. You’ll have another chance to negotiate the next time around, so brush it off if you don’t get the results you want and see how you could do better next time.
Let me know how your next negotiation goes by posting in the comments below. Tell me what went well, what didn’t go well, and what could be done to improve your next negotiation.
If you found value in this content, I encourage you to read the rest of the posts in this series about how to stand out when interviewing:
- Picking a new Position – One of the biggest problems people encounter when they are looking for a new job is, “What do I look for now? Should I get the same job somewhere else? Should I try to move up? What if I’m not qualified?!” In this post, we discuss a couple of methods you can use to help you get clarity in which direction you should head with your career.
- Gather Data about Yourself - This post discusses some ways you can use to get concrete insight on information you can use to prove your skills and experience throughout your job search.
- Craft your Theme - Once you’ve gathered the data, you should either see or develop some sort of trend in your work. You should also try to craft this theme to fit into your overall career goals. Your theme should provide a narrative behind where your career has been and where you are proactively directing it.
- Writing your Base Resume - I recommend you write a base resume to help you get a solid grasp of the direction you want to head with your career. This post discusses an approach I take to doing this.
- Build your Portfolio - By providing a portfolio of your work, you not only tell the person or company you are interviewing with that you are awesome, but you give them examples of your work so that they can investigate it for themselves.
- Practicing Interviewing - With this post, we talk about some methods you can use to practice interviewing.
- Picking the Companies to interview - In this post, we’ll talk about picking the right companies to interview with so that you know how to tailor your resume.
- How to prepare for an interview - While you are waiting for companies to respond back asking for interviews, you should be breaking apart the job descriptions even further and writing down examples of work you’ve done previously to satisfy each requirement that they are listing. You should be also boning up on the basics of your potential job and the theory behind it.
- Common Interview Questions and Answers - You’ve made it this far and you’re starting to interview with companies. During each interview, you want to ask 3 specific questions which I’ll cover later in this article.
- (You are here) Accepting a Job Offer - At the end of the interview process with each company, one of two (obvious) things will happen: rejection or acceptance. I’ll discuss how to deal with each one of them and where to go from there.