Academic journal article Business Case Journal

Negotiating an Exploding Offer

Academic journal article Business Case Journal

Negotiating an Exploding Offer

Article excerpt

For two years, Trevor had worked full-time while attending classes at night to earn his Masters of Business Administration degree (MBA). With his graduation approaching in May, Trevor had begun to actively search for a new job in January to capitalize on his degree. He had reached out to his network, collected leads, and submitted his resume to several hiring managers. By the middle of April, Trevor's hard work had paid off. He had interviews scheduled with two companies: Folderol Health & Fitness and Heliograph Foods. Both positions were in brand marketing and their job descriptions appeared ideal for what Trevor was seeking.

Trevor was excited about the possibility of competing job offers from two companies. However, his excitement was quickly turned to gut-wrenching anxiety due to an "exploding" job offer that would likely force him to accept or decline one job offer before the other offer materialized. Hence, he was left wondering whether he should negotiate the dates and terms of the exploding offer and if so, how he should approach the process and content of the negotiation? Could he somehow convince the offering company to push back its explosion date until the second offer came in? Would that anger his potential new boss before he even started working there? And what if he delayed the offering company and the second potential offer never arrived?

The Companies

Trevor's first interview was with Folderol Health & Fitness. Folderol was among the largest manufacturers and distributors of fitness equipment in the United States. The company, which was founded in the late 1970s by two business school graduates, had developed a niche by providing customized workout products, including treadmills, elliptical machines, stationary bicycles, free weights and benches, and yoga and Pilates equipment to commercial gyms, professional sports teams, Olympic development facilities, and private homes. Folderol had also aggressively purchased well-known fitness brands and held over 200 patents with innovations ranging from folding treadmills for easier storage to fitness solutions software in partnership with companies such as Google.

Trevor's second interview was with Heliograph Foods, a producer of salad dressings, marinades, dips, sauces, and other condiments. In particular, Heliograph had established its brand and gained shelf space at supermarkets through offering products that capitalized on health trends, such as vinaigrette, low-fat and gluten-free salad dressing options, and Greek yogurt-based dips. Heliograph Foods was located in a relatively small community and was entirely employee-owned.

Trevor's interview with Folderol was scheduled for Monday, April 9th and his interview with Heliograph was scheduled for the following Wednesday, April 18th.

The First Interview

Nervous but excited, Trevor made the 90-minute drive to the headquarters of Folderol Health & Fitness to interview with the hiring manager. Trevor had a feeling that this interview would go well. From his days as a high school athlete, Trevor had always lived a very active lifestyle, as did his wife, so he was already fairly knowledgeable about health and fitness equipment. Furthermore, he had family connections that lived near Folderol's headquarters and had come up with lots of specific questions about the area, which he hoped would signal to the hiring manager that he was very interested in working at Folderol.

Trevor's strategy was to gain as much information as he could by first asking questions about the tasks and responsibilities of the job. His goal was to convince both himself and the hiring manager that he would be successful at the job. At that point, Trevor would feel more comfortable to ask about compensation, benefits, and other aspects of employment. Trevor felt that starting with the job's responsibilities and asking specific questions about the company and the local community would not only provide valuable information but would also establish trust and signal to the hiring manager that Trevor was serious about the position. …

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