ARGGGGH! It happened again. Don’t Over-Negotiate!

Posted by Michael Potters, CEO at Glenmont Group

I was trying to figure out what to write about today and, to admit it, I was struggling a bit. Then it fell into my lap – though to be honest, I wish that it hadn’t.

I lost a placement today and a rather good one when one of my candidates, a virtual shoe-in for the position chose not to take my advice and asked for too much money while going through the final negotiations.

He had done everything right from the beginning, researched the company and all the folks he would be interviewing with. He put together an incredible presentation and sold his skills well to everyone in the organization. He followed up with the proper communications after each stage of the interview, and he even offered a compliment on the performance of one of the decision maker’s favorite football teams, even though the win was against his own favorite team that Sunday. IT WAS HIS FOR THE TAKING!

The hiring authority told me that he would be offering my candidate the position at a sizable increase to what he was making (an increase from $165k to $200k). All along the process, I asked him if he liked the position and the compensation as laid out in all of the discussions and, yes, I made it clear that the top of the offer was going to be $200k – to go beyond that meant them going to the compensation panel for approval and was not advisable at all. I also coached him that even if they were to grant it to him, he would have officially painted a huge target on his back and lost any honeymoon period that is standard with a new position.

All seemed clear and running perfect until yesterday, when I got a furious call from the hiring authority stating that the candidate was now insisting on at least $215 for him to make the move . He followed this by saying that they are going to pull the offer and go with their 2nd choice candidate. This person was willing to come aboard at $175k. While they liked my candidate more, the other candidate was fine and seemed more appreciative of the opportunity that was being bestowed on him. Also, they were saving $35k. The hiring authority asked me to please tell my candidate thanks, but they are going in a different direction now with the hire.

When I told this to my candidate, he seemed shocked. “But I nailed it. They said I was the best candidate,” and was there anything I could do to save it. I responded that it was too late, that he had already burned that bridge and the other candidate (not mine) accepted. He asked what should he do now, to which I responded, “Well, we are back to step one and next time you need to seriously listen to the advice I give you.”

ARGGGGH! I hate when this happens.


Glenmont Group is a boutique search firm that concentrates on Professional Services, with a focus in the Legal & Content space. Because we are a highly focused boutique firm, we offer expertise in the industry that other search firms cannot. Our staff has been trained on, employed in or consulted for these industries so there is no learning curve. This means that you will not see resumes off of "job boards" that seem to have little or no connection to the position you are trying to fill. In fact, just the opposite is true. Our process includes a competitive analysis that identifies the top candidates in your given field. At Glenmont Group, we strive to develop and maintain long-term professional relationships with our clients. We believe in a business relationship based on hard work, cooperation, integrity, trust and a sense of humor. We are also active members in our industries by working on or with the Executive board of our industry trade organizations such as; IQPC, EDRM, LMA, PMA, ALSM, ALA, AIIM, ARMA. This assures constant access to a network of those highest quality candidates who are involved in these organizations.

Posted in Advice

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