Is position negotiation a dead art in the US

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Leeland's picture

I am curious why companies are no longer negotiating over position details?

I am really surprised by the number of companies that don't negotiate anymore. Sometime in the last 5 years it has become a "take what we offer or forget it" hard line market. When I was looking for a shorter commute 6 years ago I spent a couple of months hunting down good positions, interviewing with them and then negotiating the final details of the offers. I ended up with 3 really good offers each with various merit (none the same). But, to get to those I spent a little time going back and forth negotiating with about 6 companies. In the end I had a hard choice to make.

I am not just talking about base salary, but also about soft items like position titles, duties, training time, out-reach activity authorizations, vacation time, shares in the company, possible severance packages, and other items. In the end both the company I took the job with and I compromised into a reasonable win-win package.

6 months ago my prior employer and I needed to part ways. It wasn't a hard stop, but, one we both knew was needed. So I started looking again. This job hunt was very different. I still found some great places to go, I still went to interviews, and I still got some official offers. Some of the offers were annoying low-ball shots, with limited perks in spite of my sharing up front a minimum entry bar to get over. More interestingly was that every last offer was a "here take and if you don't like it tough." Not one of the company's was even willing to negotiate a single line item. So I was forced to continue shopping until the initial offer was good enough to call a final (and I did ask for some minor changes which were categorically denied). Which is a real shame because some of those companies would have been a great place where I could contribute.

It seems pretty silly to spend all the hours vetting a candidate to simply take a single shot without taking careful aim up front for what would be a good score. It is a horrible waste of time on everyone's side to simply drop an offer off then take a "love it or leave it" stance when a little negotiating could reach a compromise.

Any thoughts?

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