If you have ever hired anyone or been involved with a negotiation, you will get a kick out of this posting. It is word-for-word true. It is also totally outrageous and it just happened. This is an aspect of candidates which recruiters occasionally see, but rarely let their clients know it is happening.
Here is the background: A client agency has been looking for a very senior account executive; the background required was very specific. We found someone after a two month search. He was making $55k, working in Connecticut. The job was here in New York. He was good enough that he was generously offered $75,000. What follows is the verbatim response I received in an email after he had received the offer. The red highlights are my comments or clarifications so that you understand the context. This is the stuff that recruiters generally don’t show clients.
I want to make something clear: I did not send this email to my client. I edited his demands and what I discussed with the client. This letter is his counter to their original offer.
Here is his email:
First, please convey to XXXX that I am excited about the opportunity and feel privileged to receive the offer. Before I could accept this offer, I need answers to my questions below and address some outstanding items upfront.
Please do not contact XXXX with these questions until we walkthrough [sic] the individual items tomorrow afternoon.
• What is there [sic] bonus structure? [like most agencies, scant or not at all at the AE level, including the agency he is working at]
o Individual performance or company performance?
• What was the average bonus in 2009 for equivalent positions?
• Do you think there is room to push the salary up$ 5K to$ 10K? [remember, he was making $55k]
• I would accept this offer, if they were open to locating this position on the West Coast [the agency does not have a west coast office]
o Working from the West Coast would clearly separate this position from the opportunity at [xx who I am also talking to]
• I'd be open to considering an agreement where I spent the first 6 to 9 months in NYC before relocating to California
• Change title to Account Supervisor
o I want to demonstrate growth in responsibility from my current role in future opportunities
• Upon acceptance of offer
o Due to the sensitivity switching business [to a competitor of my current client] I will be terminated when I notify my current employer I accepted the offer
• Can you explain the monthly accrual? Do I have to work 6 months to obtain 1st week of vacation?
• Increase vacation days to 15
• I would like to add a 6 month review
Mobile Phone & Service
• I expect I will be required to switch phones and service
• I currently have a business and personal device paid for by my company
• Phone service to include two new smartphones and unlimited voice and data services
• Professional development allowance to maintain up-to-date on [the field]
o Subscription to [names of journals and trade publications] (Approximately $1,600 per year)
o Registration and travel for two industry conferences (Approximately $1,500 each).
• Allowance will provide key learning from the industry and increase job performance
o Resources that currently exist within [my current company that I will have to compensate for, [approximately $5-8,000]
• At will employment status [is unacceptable] I want a 6 month severance if terminated for any reason other than poor performance or negligence
• Time to accept the offer once the questions outlined above have been answered [a week or two, but then he told me that the other offer he was considering might be over a month away].
I look forward to discussing these items with you tomorrow afternoon. I will call your mobile in the late afternoon/early evening.
Now here’s the best part. He was given the account supervisor title. He was given almost none of the other demands because of his arrogance (many were not told to the client). Ultimately he rejected the job. His reasoning was as outrageous as the negotiation: he decided he would wait three or four weeks to see if the other job he was talking on would work out although he did admit he was one of four finalist candidates for that job.
All this from someone who is not yet even a senior account executive! I have handled CEO negotiations where the demands were fewer. I would love to hear any stories you might have about ridiculous demands from candidates.
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