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Caution: A Job Offer Does Not Seal The Deal

Jim McLoughlin


The blog series now switches to Contract Negotiations.


Too many job applicants once told by the search committee that they are being offered a job drop their guard thinking the task of pursuing their next job has been successfully concluded.


Unfortunately, this is a fundamental mistake because receiving a job offer is simply an 'invitation' to be the first or next in line to have the opportunity to negotiate an employment agreement.


Candidates should realize when offered a job that Search Committees have at the same time identified backup applicants to negotiate with should those initially offered jobs over-play their hands. Caution: negotiate accordingly.


Once offered a job, a candidate selected to negotiate with a search committee should understand the following:

  1. That the search committee will want to move quickly to reach a final agreement because they know that the backup candidates selected may have applied for other jobs and they do not want to risk losing them should negotiations with the initially chosen candidate linger and eventually fall through.
  1. That search committees have pre-determined the ranges within which they will negotiate all the elements routinely found within employment agreements; for example: ranges dealing with the length of employment, salary, health coverage, vacation schedules, fringe packages, budgets, relocation expenses, etc.

The above search committee pre-determined ranges are generally quite fair and correlate well with the region's norms. This means that if candidates have done the necessary due diligence they should know pretty much where the negotiations will go and should negotiate accordingly if they want the job.


Total Preparation Wins Jobs


As a veteran eyewitness to all of the above, I estimate that less than 25% of candidates take full advantage of the opportunities presented them within the job application process. Accordingly, the reality is that the following dichotomy too often holds true:


Candidates who are the best qualified to fill vacant positions generally are the best prepared when applying for a job and, accordingly, the better candidates are readily identifiable and are awarded jobs.


However, this is not the case when less experienced candidates apply for a job because many do not commit to full preparation and, accordingly, the better candidates within this category of job applicants often are not identifiable and, therefore, are not hired.


Moral of the story: a dedicated job applicant can maximize his chances of being awarded a new job by committing to present his credentials in their best possible light; i.e.- by out preparing the field of candidates before him when developing and packaging his submittals (career web sites, plans of action, etc.) to the course search committee.


Notice how often a quality personal career web site is a necessary element when endeavoring to advance a career. The better career web sites generally get the jobs!


While total preparation will not guarantee a job offer, it will generally ensure an interview opportunity and if this goes well (see June 26th blog) will result in a candidate's name being placed on a short list for future consideration for a job offer.



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