I work in a busy RPO office, we make dozens of employment offers on behalf of our clients every single day and 9 times out of 10 these offers are accepted. Candidates are grateful for the offer and excited to start a new job and hiring managers get a brand new person on board.


I have noticed though, that there seems to be a small percentage of candidates who wait until the very last moment to demand a very unreasonable change to their offer. In my previous firm someone's candidate turned down a job with a £10k payrise because the company car on offer was not the model of BMW he wanted. I don't even know where to start with that. The candidate had been well managed through the process, was happy with the rest of the package on offer and knew he would be offered a family size BMW, but when it came to the crunch he demanded a different one. The client wasn't able to do this so he dropped out of the process. The consultant was devastated, the company furious at our percieved lack of candidate management and the candidate went back to his original job, having failed at the double bluff.


More recently, a candidate for a graduate marketing position declined to be put forward for a job as she felt it was not reflective of what she was worth. She had graduated in 2011, had a few months of experience in a paid internship and had it in her head that £30,000 was a reasonable starting salary for her. That would be a salary better suited to a marketing manager with around 5+ years experience, not a fresh grad with an overgrown ego.


This incident made me think about how times have changed. I'm pretty young myself (25) but like to think I have a mature outlook on life, yet I do find myself expecting a lot. I expect to be praised for my work, I expect not to have to do too much admin for other members of the team, I expect little perks here and there. Am I a product of the "me, me, me" generation? or is it just the only child in me?


I'm desperately trying not to discriminate against myself and my generation, but it does seem that more and more of us are hoping to be given a big break straight out of education. I worked in a call centre for 2 years before getting into recruitment, that was a humbling time. Being the lowest rung on the ladder for a while does a person good. I did apply for a few roles I was wildly unqualified for straight out of university (Head of Features at a Conde Nast publication anyone?).


How about you guys out there? Have you noticed an upward trend in candidates being unreasonable or is it just a fluke?



Views: 711

Comment by Valentino Martinez on September 28, 2011 at 2:39pm
Bill is wise beyond his years.  If you can befriend early on and insert reality checks as well, and get those accepted, you have a shot at bringing  some candidates down to earth at offer time.
Comment by lisa rokusek on September 28, 2011 at 2:58pm

Sometimes we fluff and sometimes we spank.

I have found that providing a timely reality check just after a great interview in order to let the hot air out of a rapidly swelling head can prevent the "They like me, they really like me" syndrome.  

This disease often results in previously sane candidiates deciding they want to "see how high they'll go" instead of what they wanted prior to feeling like the prettiest girl at the dance. Feeling wanted is intoxicating.  It can be dangerous.

We have to do these things to make everyone happy, including the candidiate who truly wants the gig but has bedazzled him or her self in the mirror.


Comment by Samantha Lacey on September 28, 2011 at 3:11pm
Wow, there are a lot more comments on my little ramble than I expected. I wasn't expecting to set the world of candidate offers and expectations to rights, but I'm enjoying the dialogue! As with every aspect of life, there are some people out there who are just born awkward.
Comment by Valentino Martinez on September 28, 2011 at 3:17pm
...not that there's anything wrong with being "born awkward".  I have many awkward moments...starting from birth.
Comment by Helen Burbank (Appleby) on September 29, 2011 at 8:33am

This is a topic that I am conflicted on.. I belong to the so-called 'me' generation (I am pretty much a baby at 22). When I talk to friends and colleagues, a lot of them are sincerely confused when it comes to contract negotiations. It is something that is foreign to most people fresh out of university. Many are too scared to ask for what they think they deserve because they don't want to be seen as greedy. Others want to stand up for what they think they deserve (even if they are wrong) because they don't want to be seen as settling. 


In short: most university students enter the workforce with no idea how it works and with questionable resources at their hands (Career councellors that are out of touch, parents that have been in their same job with fair raises for 30 years, professors who have no idea what the corporate world looks like etc.) 


That being said - there are greedy people in every generation. 

Comment by Jon Terry on September 29, 2011 at 8:51am

IN response to your final question I am actually finding that if anything the trend is for candidates to be too reasonable.


I am finding that many "senior" candidates are prepared to drop their salary expectations or take a step sideways.


But then again we are dealing with a predominantly qualified and experienced HR client base and so perhaps (at the moment) not dealing with the Gen Y people you might be dealing  with.

Comment by Amber Gerstenhaber on October 1, 2011 at 2:33pm

I see it all of the time.  I recently opened a position for a Director of Sales for my property, and had an applicant straight out of school apply.  I spoke to her about a more suitable position for her, she did not want to hear it.  The Director of Sales position clearly stated 10+ years of relevant experience!

It isn't the first time that I have had that comes across my desk.  It seems people who finish school these days without experience feel entitled to have a position that needs not only the educational background but the experience part of the job.


Great Blog!!


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