If you have been working with an Executive Recruiter, the answer should be, “Great, when do I start?” The reason this is so simply answered is when you have representation, you should not be receiving an offer until two things have occurred: 1. You are ready to receive it and 2. It is at the compensation level that you were expecting.
However, what happens when you don’t have an executive recruiter and you’re representing yourself? This is a question I have been helping friends resolve over the years. Most likely, if you are unemployed or grossly underemployed, the new firm is going to want to get you at the lowest price point. They will be thinking that they do not have to be as competitive as if they were recruiting someone that is gainfully employed. It’s just the sad truth. So when your eagerly awaited offer comes in, don’t overreact to a low-ball number (it is most likely going to occur). Realize that this is an opening salvo over your bow. They are not trying to sink you, but they are giving you a rude wake up call as to your current worth in the marketplace.
So the first thing that you have to remember is that no firm is going to go through the process of numerous interviews, drafting a term sheet (notice I did not say an offer) getting legal opinion, etc. on the term sheet if they are not serious about having you join their firm. So for now put aside your “disappointment in the offer” and let’s go to work. Call them, do not email. First thing you must thank them for the offer and convey your hope to be able to go to work with them. However, you are disappointed in the term sheet that was presented to you for the following reasons: After you share your disappointment, stop speaking and listen to what the hiring manager has to say. At this point most will come back to say, “What were you expecting and why?” This is the time to be articulate and know your “walk-away number”. You may be surprised at the results. On the other hand, if you are able to work with an executive recruiter work with one.
About Harlan Friedman, JD & Founding Member, H. Friedman Search LLC. Harlan is a thirty-year veteran Public Finance Banker turned recruiter who specializes in the placement of all level Public Finance Bankers, Health Care Bankers, Municipal Financial Advisors, Compliance Officers, FinOps & Bond Counsels. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 760-477-1284.