(Employer calling the prospective employee on the phone)
Employer: I am pleased to inform you that we are sending you an offer today. As we discussed when you visited with us earlier for your interview, you will be a Software Engineer with us. We are offering you an annual salary of $80,000. You will receive the letter and some other paperwork in the mail, but what do you think of the offer? We all feel that you would make outstanding contributions to our company.
Candidate: Thank you for the offer. I do think that this position with your company would be good for me. How about if I get back to you with my reaction after I get a chance to review the offer?
Employer: Ok, very well! When can I expect to hear back from you?
Candidate: I shall call you soon after I receive the letter.
Employer: We would like you to make the final decision within the next couple of weeks.
Candidate: We should be able to that.
(The candidate reviews the letter, prepares for the next discussion. Following is the phone discussion, regardless of whether the Employer or the Candidate initiated the call.)
Employer: It has been about 5 days since we last talked. I thought I would call you up to see what your thinking is about our offer.
Candidate: Thanks for the call. I was going to call you later today. I am glad you called. As I mentioned to you earlier, I am interested in my career development, and not just a job. I do think that this position with your company is the right fit for me at this stage in my career. I am hoping that we can talk about the compensation to see if we can improve on it so as to make my decision easier.
Employer: Well, we think that we have made a fair offer to you, based on your earlier experience and your education. You know that you would be highly successful here and you would also grow and learn a lot with us.
Candidate: I certainly do like the learning and personal growth aspect of the position. I would need more time to think about the offer, if you are telling me that this is the best you can do for me.
Employer: You know that all of us really enjoyed talking with you, when you visited with us for your interview. We would very much like you to work with us. I think it will be a very productive and beneficial relationship for all of us. We do believe that we have made a fair offer to you. No promises but I can try to see what more I can do, within reason, to have you join us. What do you think is a reasonable offer for you?
Candidate: Well you can always double the offer! Just kidding! [Laughter]. Seriously, I feel that most people for this position can expect to get a signing bonus these days. Some are also offered a performance-based annual bonus. Also, I believe that the salary you are offering me is at the low end of the going rate. More typically, the offers are upwards of $90,000. I am not focusing in on a particular factor, but I feel that the overall package can be better.
Employer: Let me say this on the outset that we do not offer performance-based annual bonus to any employees, except senior management. There are reasons for this arrangement. We want our people to work as a team, and not seek out superior individual performance which may hurt the team performance. We reward individuals with superior contributions and performance through annual increases and promotions. And I am not sure how much flexibility I have on the salary. I can look into offering you a signing bonus. So you think if I can work out something on what I have mentioned, would you able to make your decision quickly?
Candidate: I would like to think so. I know that you would be fair to me, and I shall do my best to respond to your offer quickly.
Employer: Very well then. I shall be in touch with you later today or tomorrow, with a revised offer. I would like you to be candid with me as we move forward, as I believe you have been thus far. If you have anything else on your mind, please tell me know.
Candidate: Okay, thanks. look forward to your next call.
(Next day morning)
Employer: Well, you made me go back to the drafting table. We would really like to have you join us. So I made a very strong case for you. Here is what we can offer you: annual salary of $85,000 and a signing bonus of $5,000. As I mentioned to you, moving on the salary was the most difficult part. So what do you think?
Candidate: Thanks for your efforts. I really appreciate it. I was hoping that you would come back with $90,000 for annual salary and $10,000 for the signing bonus. But I know that you have made considerable effort for me. I would like to take a couple of days, before I give you my final answer.
Employer: I can not do much about the salary, but if we are talking about a couple of thousand dollars on the signing bonus, I would not want to lose you for that. I can work a little bit you on the signing bonus.
Candidate: Thanks for sharing this with me. Knowing that you have some flexibility in the signing bonus, I feel confident we can come up with an acceptable package. I do appreciate your efforts.
Employer: As you know, we would like you to be thrilled in joining us. We would most definitely be thrilled. Do you want to talk to me about the signing bonus now?
Candidate: I am not sure. But let me ask you this. Can you make the signing bonus $10,000?
Employer: I know I can not go higher that $8,000. That's pretty much all we can offer you.
Candidate: Okay. So can I assume that the offer as it stands now is $85,000 in salary and $8,000 in signing bonus?
Employer: Yes, you can. I would like you to know that as much as I would like you to join us, I can not go higher than what is on the table. And, I would like a response from you as quickly as you can.
Candidate: Let me share this with you. I like the offer and I like the opportunity. What I do want to do, however, to sleep on it for a day or two to make sure I am comfortable. I will give you an answer within the next couple of days.
(The candidate calls the very next day to demonstrate enthusiasm and responsiveness)
Candidate: I just called to let you know that I am thrilled to accept your offer. I know that it would be good for all of us.
Employer: Great! Welcome aboard! I am so glad that you have chosen to join us. So when do you want to start?
Candidate: I'll get back to you soon on when I can start. I just wanted to give you the news of my acceptance. I also want to thank you for your candor and good faith efforts in putting together a reasonable offer for me.