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Cover image for I had an offer REVOKED because I tried to negotiate (and I'm SO glad I did)

I had an offer REVOKED because I tried to negotiate (and I'm SO glad I did)

Jakob Ondrey
Well seasoned Infectious Disease Clinical Research Tech who made a move to Cloud Infrastructure. I like projects where the two can intersect.
・4 min read

The TL;DR

When I got my first full-time job offer after months of attempting to pivot from healthcare to tech, I was sooo excited. It was finally happening for me. All of my work had finally paid off and I had my foot in the door. While negotiating the offer, I explained that I was in the interview process with another company and expressed a desire to complete this interview loop (which could have taken a few weeks), or for them to make their offer more compelling. I asked if they could "make this decision easier for me." And they did. By revoking their offer and wishing me luck with my other opportunity. I was crushed, but I would do it again in a heartbeat. If they would treat a person negotiating in good faith this way, how would they treat me as an employee?

Had I not negotiated; I would likely be working in a toxic environment.


Let me back up a little.

Offer negotiation is a completely foreign concept to me. All of my past jobs (US Army, graduate school stipend, non-profit healthcare) have had pretty explicit pay bands and very little room for negotiation, so as I began planning my pivot to development, I knew I needed all the help I could get. I listened to some amazing podcasts like freeCodeCamp's "Ten Rules for Negotiating a Job Offer" Part 1 & Part 2 and spoke with family, friends, and mentors in the industry who have been through offer negotiations before.

All agreed that it was unlikely that an initial offer was the highest they would be willing to go, and all agreed that there was nothing to lose as long as you are negotiating in good faith and generally not acting like an ass.

The position was not totally optimal (the consulting company's parent corporation seemed a bit sketchy and appeared to be run by a family of grifters) but the hiring manager had assured me of their independence in a post offer conversation I had requested. The conversation with the manager put my concerns to rest. The team seemed to communicate well, and the manager was friendly and seemed like a great person to work for.

However, I had a 2nd interview scheduled for another opportunity (let's call it Corp B.). When the company first extended the offer, I let them know about this commitment and asked for a little under a week to finish up that scheduled interview with Corp B. and hear back from them. There was absolutely no push-back from this request and I maintained regular contact with the HR, e.g. asking for the employee manual that was referenced in the contract, and even had the above mentioned conversation with the hiring manager.

Shortly after the conversation with the manager, (3 business days after the initial offer) I emailed HR back to set up a time to discuss the offer. While generally ready to accept, I was going to ask them to sweeten the pot a little to motivate me to abandon the (now 3rd) interview that I had scheduled with Corp B. and accept their offer.

On the phone with HR I shared with them all the reasons that their company would be a good fit for me and how I hard I would work for them, but that I had other exciting opportunities in the pipeline as well. I didn't have a specific ask, that was up to them. Just something to make the decision easier.

The HR rep suggested that they had offered me the most they could, and that things like PTO days and starting bonuses were not allowed but that she would talk to the manager about it.

In a return phone call 20 minutes later, HR said that the hiring manager had decided to revoke my offer and find another candidate. No insistence that this was the final and best offer. No "we can't wait for you keep pursuing other opportunities and need you to make a decision by the end of the day." Just "Good luck with your other interview."

Initially I, and everyone in my orbit, were stunned. But soon "Well, that's a first" & "I have never heard of this actually happening" became "You really dodged a bullet" & "That place must be toxic." It is possible that they are just trying to make me feel better, but I think they are on the right track.

As much as I wanted (and still want) a job in tech, my decision to negotiate my offer was a continuation of me deciding if the company was right for me. I gave them one last opportunity to show themselves. Honestly, I may have accepted the initial offer had they come back with a reasonable story as to why they couldn't increase it, but that is not how they reacted.

Another opportunity will come, and I will negotiate again. Because negotiating will get you a better offer... eventually.


Cover photo by Jakayla Toney on Unsplash

Discussion (6)

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pjotre86 profile image
pjotre86

Quite self comforting. What makes you think that that place is toxic?
You simply pushed it too far. Maybe you were just on the edge of being hired from their point of view and that request just pushed you off it. I don't see any misbehavior from the companies side. Not sure who dodged the bullet here to be fair.

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sharpninja profile image
The Sharp Ninja

You simply pushed it too far.

@pjotre86 - Are you an inexperienced dev manager or HR person? That's the only explanation for this comment. If you are negotiating, then you are negotiating. If you have made your final offer, then you state you have made your final offer. Throwing out a number and expecting someone to not negotiate, and then rescinding the offer when they do, is not at all a welcoming thing to do to someone you want to partner with (and hiring an employee is a partnership, both sides must be honest, fair, and sincere for it to work out).

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pjotre86 profile image
pjotre86

Probably my phrasing was not good. With pushing too far I didn't mean that negotiating in general is something you shouldn't do. What I meant is, that in that particular case, the negotiation was obviously the last drop which made the hiring side turn. I read it like: they were probably not super convinced in the first place then (just an assumption).

Thread Thread
misterjacko profile image
Jakob Ondrey Author

No, you were clear. I am saying that I get a choice in where I work and am happy that I am not working at a job where I would be starting "one drop" away from being let go.

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misterjacko profile image
Jakob Ondrey Author

That is a fair question. I think that if asking for literally anything is pushing it too far, that is not a place to work. I am not trying to live my life walking on eggshells because the slightest inconvenience to them will push me from acceptable to unacceptable.

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darkwiiplayer profile image
DarkWiiPlayer

Yea, I'd say you dodged quite the bullet there.