How to negotiate the interview process
UPDATED JULY 2020
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Juggling interviewing with your current job and your other commitments can be difficult, and most firms do understand this. However, they will be looking for a willingness to make it work, and employers want candidates who are keen on the role and the firm. They will look for you to demonstrate this, not only in the interview, but in your conduct during the process as well. They will also expect you to understand that the hiring managers are also fitting interviewing in with their many other duties. If finding good interview times is too difficult, the firm may question your commitment to the process and cool on the prospect of making an offer.
Though it can be difficult to find time and space to talk to your recruiter during your working day, do make sure you find a way to respond to messages in a timely fashion, even if you have to resort to emails and texts. If there is one thing hiring managers (and recruiters!) dislike, it is candidates who are difficult to get hold of, and who take a long time to respond to simple questions. Even if the answer is “I don’t know”, do communicate this, and tell them when they can expect an answer by.
There will no doubt be things about the role and the firm you would like to take your time to think through. Likewise, if and when an offer comes, you will wish to weigh up your options, discuss it with your partner or your family, etc. This is of course reasonable, but again, the key is to keep the communication lines open, and set the firm’s expectations. Let them know when they can expect an answer, and make sure to talk your concerns through with your recruiter – a good recruiter will know their client well, will be able to judge the situation, and can raise concerns on your behalf.
Waiting for another offer?
So you have been offered the job, and you are under pressure to give a firm answer. The problem is, you potentially have an even better offer coming. This situation can be tricky, as delaying with your answer could cost you the offer you already have. Your recruiter can help you manage this, but ultimately, this may be the question you will have to answer: would you be willing to walk away from the present offer in order to wait for the next one?
Be aware of the timelines
Is the firm urgently in need of someone? Or would they ideally like someone to start 4-5 months down the line? If it is the former, you will need to keep this in mind, and availability and communication becomes all the more important. They are also not likely to give you much time to consider the offer when it comes.
You have now received an offer, but it is not as good as you had hoped. Negotiating for a better package rarely results in the offer being pulled, though we have seen this happen – take your recruiter’s advice on this, as they should know how this request is likely to be received. Be realistic in your demands. There may be a difference between what you would like and what you are worth. Bear the market in mind.
Trust your recruiter!
As mentioned, good recruiters know their clients well. They will be able to talk you through your concerns, smooth out problems and negotiate on your behalf. They may not always come up with the answers you want, but do listen to their advice. A good recruiter works on behalf of both client and candidate, and should always keep your best interests in mind!
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