Saturday, June 27, 2015

Discrepancy In "Outcome" vs. "Satisfaction"

Most of us had some experiences in interviewing for a job and discussing the financial package with the manager/recruiter in the end.  It is super intriguing to learn how the dialogue itself makes such a tremendous impact to the final happiness level of the candidate ("satisfaction"), than the financial package numbers are able to impact ("outcome").

Non-intuitively at all, studies (*) have shown again and again and again, there is often even a big inversion between "outcome" and "satisfaction".   Higher financial package, more disgruntled employees? What's going on here?

And the million dollar question is how to get the upper hand in this process?

For instance, is it a good idea to make the first move for the salary number?  Conventional wisdom is first-mover loses, which is true in many cases.  But it depends on many many other factors, such as how thorough prep work either party has done, the personality of either party, the expectation of either party, so on and so on...

For another example, is it good idea to discuss the entire package together or discuss different line items seperately (base salary vs. sign-on bonus vs. relo pkg vs. start date vs. stock options vs. ...)?

Job offer negotiation is indeed an art.  I personally hired or attempted to hire hundreds of people into my organization over the years, and I can testify the existence of the "satisfaction/outcome inversion syndrome".  It is amazing for me personally, given my engineering/rationalness oriented mentality!:)

The more profound take-away is that, nothing discussed here is limited to the job offer negotiation.  Rather, it is about our everyday life, every negotiation, and frankly everything.

(*)  This post is about "job offer negotiation satisfaction", NOT "job satisfaction", which is a whole different topic.