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 Ivan Stojanovic on September 27, 2011 at 11:15am

Hi Samantha,

That is the result of the changes many companies and in fact
industries went under in the last few years of the recession. Take the
construction industry in Ireland for example (one of the extremes). The average
house in Ireland is worth 40% less than it was worth just 3 years ago. If you
would hire a builder today to build you a house, you will not pay him what you
would have paid him 3 years ago. His end product is simply 40% less valuable.
Banks are similar, they return far less profit, hence bankers are really not
worth as they used to be. Most of industries are the same. If you had your
current job for 3 years and you are thinking of the change today – you are in the
worst situation possible. In 2007 the salaries have been in their peak, growing
for a decade or more since. 3 years later you want a career progression, check
out a jobs market and find out you are worth 30% less than what you got 3 years
ago, and 40% less than what you currently have?

BTW – what BMW was it that he/she did not like?  :)

Comment by Samantha Lacey on September 27, 2011 at 11:21am

I think they were offered a 5 series and wanted a 3 series. Strange as the 5 series is more expensive.



Comment by Derek Wirgau on September 28, 2011 at 10:03am
I am afraid that you were played. From my experience in negotiations when a small item that makes no sense derails a deal, there is something else going on. The declining party is just looking for a tangible item to hang their decision.
Comment by Scott Corwin on September 28, 2011 at 10:03am

I believe many if not all of us recruiters can tell you horror stories about the ME generation. I had a recent grad demanded 100K because his guidance counselor told him there were jobs out there for 100K. I suggested he go see his guidance counselor and take that job, and our interview is over.  This is the generation that was raised believing everyone gets a trophy, there are no losers  - only winners, and their parents (managers, disciplinarians, life coaches) want to be there friends.  The twenty something generation was set up for failure in life, rather than being taught how to do for themselves. As parents we want better for our children, but if we give them everything - what will
they have learned = how to be coddled.  The entitlement is everywhere. I must admit I am happy to see this is a worldwide problem not just local to the USA.

Comment by Derek Wirgau on September 28, 2011 at 10:21am

I am not sure it can be blamed on the generation. I have had candidates across all ages that are totally unreallistic in their expectations. I had a mid 40 yr old candidate turn down a $114k role with a company offering benefits valued at 48% of the base. The role was originally topped at $85 but the client liked the candidate a lot. Why did he turn it down?


He wasn't going to get paid for overtime. Yep, we discussed this early on. At $85 he was concerned about being paid for OT. But at $114 all OT should be well covered. Totally self entitled!

Comment by Chantelle Legg on September 28, 2011 at 10:29am
I have not come across any demands as stated above but I would like to defend my generations corner, as I am 23 and graduated from my post grad this year although I have been working since I graduated from my undergrad in 2009, I do not think this is the attitude of the masses, it is certainly not my outlook on the working world. I prefer to think about what I want and then work my arse off until I get there, and I would like to think I have had a reasonable successful start to my career with this mentality :)
Comment by Richard Cialone on September 28, 2011 at 11:23am
I agree with Derek.  Most of the time, unreasonable requests are a smoke screen.
Comment by Samantha Lacey on September 28, 2011 at 11:49am

Richard and Derek, I agree that when you get to the crunch/offer time unreasonable demands are usually a get out clause for unsure candidates, however when they are making unreasonable demands before you even shortlist them you have to wonder if they overestimate their worth.

Comment by Valentino Martinez on September 28, 2011 at 2:22pm



It’s not that candidates expect too much.  It’s simply that some expected better than what they received in a particular offer.  The late responders did some fact-checking, maybe even waved the offer in front of another competitor.  Getting last minute input from their circles of influence of family, friends and people who are never satisfied with anything at anytime weigh-in and WAA LAA you get a last minute counter offer.


Most ambitious candidates, young and old, expect the best offer that can be given and they’re often surprised, and a little disheartened, when the offer hits below the mark they had hoped for—even when they’ve admitted they would accept a compensation package at a reasonable level.  They have a number in mind and they want to get as close as they can to that number even at the expense of losing the job offer.  There are such things as Prima Donnas and Prima Donnos (made that one up).

I had a retiring Colonel who, at the last minute requested plane fare for two poddles, blah, blah, blah. and this was way after the offer was accepted, relo was in motion...and he's heading to the airport on his way to his new job...last minute.

I got the headhunter to take one for the team effort here and pay the poodle fare.  He did and we continue to be great friends to this day.

Comment by Bill Schultz on September 28, 2011 at 2:30pm

It's a delicate balance.  You have to feed a Candidate's ego at the same time you limit his expectations.  I know it's often not possible for some of you but if you want to be able to influence and "control" a candidate, you have to earn his trust early on.

 The way I do that is to meet them early on.  Face to face is my preferred method.  Video I suppose is second.  But if you haven't looked them in the eye, they won't be taking your advice at crunch time.

 They will be listening to their "mentors" who give them advice like ask for the bigger BMW.  


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