April 3, 2023

The Hirewell Hot Corner: Offer Stage / Negotiation


Episode Highlights

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In this week’s episode, Dan and Louie discuss the Madness of March in the NCAA Men’s and Women’s Basketball Tournaments and the Aaron Rogers/ Lamar Jackson NFL Contract sagas. We segway the topic by comparing it to the offer and negotiation stages for candidates. Setting accurate expectations up front with candidates and clients should limit the number of surprises at the end of the process.

Episode Transcript

Welcome back to the Hirewell Hot Corner where sports and recruitment meet. I am your host, Dan Spittel, joined as always by my co-host Louie Morici. Louie, great to see you again. Let’s jump right in. What’s going on in your world, and the world of sports today? I think this might be a better question for you.

I think someone had a big event this past weekend. I would say that is fair. Yes. I got married this past weekend. My lovely wife Courtney and I are very happy. We had a wonderful ceremony, big party with a lot of our close friends and family. And so an exciting time in our lives.

And right after filming this, we’re going to jet set off in our honeymoon. So we’ll talk more about that later. But it’s been a whirlwind of a week, a couple weeks. And in the sports world, we’re at Final Four, March Madness. Not any less crazy. In both the Men’s and Women’s Final Four, we have some incredible stories.

I mean, we’ve got Florida Atlantic, no top three seeds in the Men. And we’ve got an undefeated South Carolina team, Iowa with Caitlin Clark who just put up the first 40 plus point triple double in either men and women’s history in the tournament. Lot of really cool storylines. Oh yeah. I mean, you know, when you picture the tournament, March Madness, you expect some fireworks, but this has been one of those accidents where the whole lot of fireworks goes off at once.

Like upset after upset. When are these Cinderella teams, the FAUs, all that going to fall? And they haven’t yet. Like normally it probably would’ve happened by now, but it is anyone’s ballgame, number one seeds, brackets busted. Like it’s been a tumultuous one for gamblers, if you will.

Or March Madness bracket filler-outers. But it’s been so entertaining just from a sports watching standpoint. Oh, no question. I mean, I think we’re going to see a record low in terms of bracket points for any of the challenges this year and for the best reasons possible. And even the teams that have no longer made it in there, we had some crazy splash upsets, obviously Fairleigh Dickinson, knocking off number one seed.

Purdue was huge. Texas with an interim head coach making a deep run to the Elite Eight. And both of those guys had a lot of success now, after their torment run has ended. Tobin Anderson took the Iona job, which Rick Pitino left when he moved up to St John’s. The interim head coach, Texas received a five year contract.

We’re at that point where we’re seeing a lot of these success stories in March translate to big money contracts for larger schools in the NCAA. Yeah, it’s nice to see. I mean, a lot of these occasions like Rick Pitino, he’s moving to St Johns. Like in that case it’s kind of showing, he had a resume beforehand, but being it’s like tryout. It’s like, you see how this coach manages a game, manages a team. Takes the step up. And the Texas coach, or well now full-time coach, he got to show, “Hey, I’m worth this.”

And he cashed a nice ticket for the next, I think five years you mentioned. It’s great to see, I mean, well deserved. And I think it kind of segues into to talking about the topic, which is offer stages, negotiations, things like that. And another point for that is talking about NFL football.

We’re looking at Aaron Rodgers in the Jets and Packers situation. Lamar Jackson, with the Baltimore situation. A lot of different aspects of offers and negotiations. So great time to talk about this. A very interesting point in that side of the things too. Obviously we now know that Lamar Jackson requested a trade from the Ravens.

He’s got the non-exclusive franchise tag so he can go out and negotiate. Guys like Laremy Tunsil who just got another big bag who negotiated for himself, never had an agent, seems to be doing okay without it. And then you’ve got the other side of it with Drew Rosenhaus, probably negotiated for 40, 50% of the NFL free agency contracts this year.

And the Jets and Packers are probably in purgatory right now with however that Aaron Rodgers fiasco is going to go down. So let’s bring it back to recruiting like we always do. You hit the nail on the head. Offers, negotiations, candidates who reach that offer stage the end of the road for the interview process.

How do we navigate the offer scenario? How do we get to that point? How do we as recruiters and candidates set themselves up for best case scenarios with these offers? I think from, I guess we can both start with our personal situations. Like me, working on behalf of clients and representing candidates, things of that nature.

It can go either way. Sometimes I will play middleman, hear the offer, present it, do the middleman work of negotiation, counteroffers, things like that. Or sometimes our clients like to make the offers and open that line of contact about the offer at that stage. I guess as recruiters, what we can do is make sure that nothing is blind siding. Like we confirm along the way, making sure the number ranges are within what the client wants, within what the candidate wants. It shouldn’t be too much back and fourth. Yeah, absolutely.

I think my situation’s a little more, unique, as it always tends to be from the on demand side. In my current client, I oversee all aspects of their recruitment, which includes the offers. One of the things I like to do with them is when they have a need for a new position, before we screen any candidates we set standards for compensation. Whether that’s a salary range, realistic, functional ceilings, identifying what they can do, what they expect to do, and what they hope to do. Just so early on in those conversations with candidates, everyone wants to know about compensation, even if they don’t directly ask it, you know they’re thinking it.

And we can give them that direct answer, which really helps. And one of the things that I can then take with that is I can go back to the candidates and say, okay. What are you really looking for? And when I ask that question, there’s no malicious intent behind it. And I always want to portray that as, I want you to be upfront with me so I can be upfront with you and tell you, can we do this?

Can we not do this? And then I have your best interest and the company’s best interests at heart. I kind of get to balance that a lot in the work that I do. I think a lot of the before offer stage expectation setting is something we both have to do very similarly. Having conversations with folks, a lot of times, you know-

I’m a believer in a case by case where sometimes you are just right upfront with the salary. Other times you wait for that first conversation. But either way, once you’re having it, if it hasn’t been discussed, what are you looking for? And in my world it’s usually a base plus commission because it’s a incentivized sales producing role. So if they’re like looking for 80 to 90K, but the role is 70K tops base, well I’d have to be transparent with them and say, “Hey, this is what they’re looking at.

With maybe a 140 on target earnings. So that would be the end of the year number with base plus commission, you know, and really set that expectation. Some people they’re going to be like, honestly, no, that’s a step back. And we cut that conversation for that opportunity off at that point, because I’m not going to send someone who’s 10, 15, 20K more unless the client says they’re open to it.

But you know, that type of scenario saves us, as recruiters, time. Saves the candidate time and they appreciate transparency. And it saves the client’s time from interviewing. I mean, they’re using us as a service to kind of weed through and check these boxes as much as we can before presenting. And that’s the legwork of working with us.

And that’s what we do and that’s why we’re hired. So if we can kind of present people that, they check five out of five boxes, two clients, including compensation and all that, there’s no surprises at the end when they offer something. It should be within the range. Sure. And there are times when, after that initial conversation, as the process goes, maybe they learn more about the role and they learn the level of involvement in what they’re doing in their role, their idea of compensation might.

Just have that conversation and have that be an open door policy. Things will change throughout a process. And I know something that we do, and something you absolutely do, is you maintain that conversation. You come back to it, revisit it throughout your process, just to make sure we’re on the same page throughout it.

And again, maintaining that transparency. I don’t think we can beat that drum enough. That open communication is key for our work and for our candidate’s success. Yeah, a thousand percent. We kind of both agreed pre-close, if you will. That’s not just happening after a final interview that’s kind of soft closing after every round where you know, “Hey, this is what we talked about base salary and compensation-wise, if this all leads to an offer as we go through this process, does this comp still work?” And is your interest in the company elevating with every round and just kind of getting those soft yeses and regrouping, making sure we’re still on the same page.

So after that final interview, assuming we get there, when you do that be like listen, I think this is going to move to an offer, or whatever. If that does, and they make it within the ranges that we’ve already set and we’ve confirmed, what are the likelihood of you accepting and moving forward with this? We want to take the surprise out of all this as much as possible, and that’s really what it comes down to is these soft closes after almost every round, and especially-

it circles around compensation. Like that’s the worst thing, to have a surprise at the end of the process. Yeah. You know what, everyone loves that excitement of the offer call when you get to formally make the offer and talk about the salary numbers. But nobody wants to be surprised in a negative way.

If that number isn’t, “Oh, well when we talked about it a month ago or three weeks ago, this is the number I told you and why is it this number now?” So again, just really maintaining that consistency throughout the process. What else can either candidates or recruiters do to make this process as smooth as possible even before the offer stage?

I think you hit it a few times. Transparency. Kind of keeping us in the loop. Now from a candidate side and I guess as us as recruiters, it’s on us to even maybe ask the question is talking about other opportunities. Maybe we don’t need what companies, but “Hey, where are you at in processes with other clients?”

If they’re like, we have offers on the table, sometimes as recruiters, we can utilize that to get feedback quicker to let clients know, “Hey, this person has other offers on the table if you want them, let’s get this process moving a little bit quicker.” It’s not forcing, but it is relaying accurate information and if clients think that this is the right candidate, they will move quicker.

And then that kind of even starts maybe having to outbid another company for this candidate, things like that. But transparency and asking the right questions from our end. I think, again, we’ll eliminate as many surprises as there can be. Always going to be surprises, but it’s about doing as much as we can so we’re not blindsided.

Everything that we do as recruiters, it really just boils down to the relationship side of the business with candidates, with our hiring managers, to make these processes as smooth and efficient as possible is let’s have those open conversations. Tell me how it went. Give me all the details of, like you said, other opportunities that might be out there. On the manager side, tell me about the candidates you spoke with, the 2, 3, 5, whatever number of people you had the chance to interview. Let’s talk through ’em. Let’s see how they compare with your current people in these roles that you’re looking to hire for. It’ll make that process a little smoother as we then get to the point where we’re cultivating an offer for the candidate and snacking up with who’s going to be joining onto their team, and which manager they’re working with and etc.

Feedback, transparency from both ends to us only makes the process better and doing it in a timely manner. Giving us an understanding. 24 hours after an interview, we should have feedback from a client on a candidate. And because you would expect, you know, timely response from a candidate.

So hold yourself accountable. Probably a whole other episode we could talk about, but yeah. Transparency, feedback, offer stage, just doing everything we can to make sure that we’re not blindsided at the end of it. Yeah. We could talk about process timelines till we get red in the face.

Again, we expect these candidates to be readily available for us. We hope that these managers and clients will do the same on their end. And if they’re really competitive and really active in hiring, especially with the market, you kind of need to do that. We can dive into that a later episode because I’m sure there’s much more to touch on for that.

Louie, two minute drill. Take us home. Where’s Lamar Jackson going to go? Lamar Jackson? That’s a tough one. I kind of clicked the NFL brain off a little bit other than anything surrounding the Bears. But as long as he stays outta the NFC North, I’ll be okay. And that kind of stems to my thoughts on Aaron Rodgers.

Get him the hell out of the NFC North. I don’t care where he goes. He can go play in Canada for all I care. Far as two minute drill goes for recruiting and offer stage negotiations, soft close throughout the process. So you know, if an offer is presented, it is in or right around the range so no one feels slighted, unheard, and that goes for clients and then also goes for candidates.

I’m really just going to beat the drum here, stay open and honest. From a candidate standpoint, keep us in the loop. Let us know what you need, what we can do for you client end, manager end, timeliness with notes. Give us your honest feedback. We want to know if you’re not going to go forward with someone, we want to know if you really like somebody. We get excited about this just like you do. Lamar Jackson, man, I’ve been thinking about this for a couple days now. My brain keeps coming back to the Atlanta Falcons and I don’t know why. But I was trying to rack my brain on other potential spots. Maybe like the Tennessee Titans.

I have no idea where he’s going to go. And Aaron Rodgers, man. I think the Packers can hold the Jets hostage for a while until they get what they want out of them. We’ll see how that sucker goes. It might be going all the way through like training camp, but who knows? Well, maybe we’ll talk about it at a future episode too.

Yeah. Well on behalf of Louie and myself, thank you once again for tuning into the Hirewell Hot Corner. Join Louie again in two weeks. He will have a special guest co-host for the first time in Hirewell Hot Corner History while I am on my honeymoon. And as always, stay classy LinkedIn.

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