Creating Leverage with your Job Offer

Many students don’t realize how much leverage they have when they receive one job offer. I recently spoke with Haley, a senior in college, who sought a summer marketing job in a healthcare company and was lucky (and talented) enough to secure exactly that. Her three months went well and she returned to her last year of college with a job offer. Many of her classmates expected to garner offers as well but due to economic jitters, companies handed out far fewer than normal. So Haley couldn’t be happier. Sort of.

In addition to healthcare, Haley has an interest in technology. Ironically, as soon as she secured her summer marketing job, she became more interested in the high tech industry. Haley wasn’t sure whether she should take the offer she has or follow her latest passion. To vet her options, she and I talked about her personal risk profile, her current financial obligations, and her desire to eventually return to school for a masters degree. After focusing on these factors, Hailey decided she would feel more comfortable taking the job. She plans to return to graduate school and won’t be afraid to change industries at that time. She also revealed that the decision would be so much easier if instead of being put in the coral of graduates that are joining the company; she would be offered a specific job that she knows will be available.

“Have you asked for it?” I questioned her.

“No, but my summer manager said I am being considered for it. Although, my correspondence from Human Resources states that the company will assign all new graduates permanent positions after a three month training program.”

“Well then you have to call your manager and try to get assigned early” I urged. “You may not be successful but it won’t hurt to ask. Plus: a) you know you are in contention, and; b) they don’t want to lose you. You have leverage. Do you have any other job possibilities at this point?”

“No, but I have a couple tech interviews lined up,” Hailey responded.

“Ok, so you’re ‘talking to a few other companies.’ Don’t be afraid to tell them that. And add that a secure position in the area you’re interested in would clinch the deal for you.”

So Hailey is going back to negotiate her offer. Remember, we’re all competitive to a certain extent. If you are made an offer, someone at that company “loses” if you don’t sign. You will not have unlimited leverage but you will have some. It may be all you need.