Salary isn’t the only thing you can negotiate when you’re interviewing for a new job. For many people, things like a flexible schedule or more vacation time are more important than money, and many employers are happy to accommodate.
But what happens when you accept the position, only to find out that they’ve changed their mind after you start?
Career expert Alison Green (aka Ask A Manager) helps a reader figure out if there’s anything she can do.
I just started a new job last week. I was able to successfully negotiate an extra week of vacation, but now I am being told by HR that the internal company recruiter who authorized the extra vacation had no right to do so, and that the company will not honor that extra week. I showed them the email chain, and they say it doesn’t matter, it’s against company policy to negotiate with vacation time.
I had other offers when I accepted this position and now I am pissed. The rest of the benefits stink and the pay is less than normal for my field. I don’t want to stay at an employer who would do this!
If I were to start looking for new employment, how would I approach this position on my resume and in interviews? If I leave it off, it looks like I left my last job with nothing lined up, but if I include it, then it will show me at a job for less than a month. What should I do? I work in the technology field so there are lots of opportunities for me, and I don’t want to stay with a company that clearly doesn’t value its employees.
What?! I am outraged on your behalf, letter writer. This company is way, way in the wrong.
It’s utterly unreasonable for them to expect you to know that their own internal recruiter (not even an outside recruiter, but someone who’s an employee of their company and involved in hiring) wasn’t authorized to negotiate with you. What on earth do they expect—that you’d insist on verifying any offer negotiations with the CEO?
You acted in good faith and assumed that the person negotiating with you was authorized to do so. What if you’d negotiated salary with her too, and then discovered after you started that she wasn’t authorized to offer you the pay that you agreed on?
Whether or not their recruiter was authorized to do what she did, she did do it, and you accepted the job based on that agreement. They should be honoring the agreement. This is ridiculous.
As for how to handle your departure, I’d say this: “Unfortunately, the salary and benefit terms that we’d agreed to when I came on board ended up falling through.”
Your resume is a little trickier. You’re right that if you leave it off altogether right now, it’ll look like you left your last job with nothing lined up (which will make some employers wonder why, and they may not bother to contact you to find out), but if you include it, it’ll raise questions about why you’re already looking. Neither of those is ideal, and there’s an argument for either one (or rather, against either one). If it were me, I’d probably just leave it off, but I think you should go with whichever one feels better to you.
And of course, once you do find a new job, you can remove this from your past altogether—definitely no need to include it on future resumes at that point.
This article originally appeared on Ask A Manager and is reprinted with permission.
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