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Under pressure?

Under pressure?

Some negotiation scenarios are more challenging than others.


Sometimes an employer will make an offer and ask you to sign a contract or verbally agree to an offer immediately. Express your gratitude for the offer, your excitement about the job, and your desire to make important decisions carefully. Then ask for the time to consider the offer objectively. Stick to whatever timeline you have agreed to.

If you have more than one offer, it is important to respect all employers, even while you try to decide on your best option. You may find yourself with an offer from your second choice while still waiting on an offer from your first choice. When you receive the offer, ask for a few days to consider the offer, and be sure to let them know that you are enthusiastic about the role, but want to ensure you are making the right decision. Then let your preferred employer know that you have received an offer from a competitor, that you hope to work for your preferred employer, but need to respect the timeline you have agreed to with the competing organization. Ask whether your preferred employer can accelerate their decision-making process.

Your preferred employer may not be able to speed up their recruiting process; like you, they will want to ensure they are making a carefully considered decision. In this case, if you decide to accept the offer from your second most preferred employer, keep in mind that you have made a favourable impression on both organizations: you have expressed your interest to a potential future employer and have shown them that you are a desirable candidate, and you have behaved professionally with your new employer by honouring the timelines you agreed to. If you decide to turn down the offer from your second most preferred employer, do so within the timeframe to which you agreed, and express your appreciation for the opportunity.

Just as job seekers want to be dealt with respectfully and honestly, so do employers. In order to put pressure on a company to negotiate, some candidates have claimed to have lucrative offers from a competing organization, when there was either no competing offer or a more modest offer. Unsurprisingly, unethical tactics have the potential to cause an organization to withdraw a job offer and hurt a candidate’s reputation and employability in the long term.

If you are a relatively new worker, you may feel you have little leverage in negotiations. It is true that more experienced workers bring unique value to their employers, but the employer is already interested in you, so remind the employer of whatever makes you valuable to them. Also, consider negotiating for benefits or perks that can help you advance your career quickly, such as training and mentorship opportunities.

University of Waterloo

Centre for Career Development