Why we love HR (special job-offer edition)

It's job-hunting time for this IT pilot fish, and his first two interviews both look like they'll turn into job offers.

"One was at a large parcel delivery service, and the other was at a midsize marketing company," says fish. "I had worked at the the marketing company several years earlier as a contract programmer, and they were interviewing for a technical manager."

That's who fish hears back from first. But the HR rep begins by telling fish that the technical manager job is off the table. Why? fish asks -- I did that job in all but title before.

HR guy reiterates that it's off the table, but offers fish a position as a database analyst/developer. The salary isn't bad, though it's several thousand less than fish is aiming for.

Puzzled, fish thanks the HR guy for the offer and promises to get back to him by the next day.

"A couple hours later, I got a call from the parcel delivery company," fish says. "The salary was right where I wanted it to be, and my only responsibility would be as a developer, so I accepted the position.

"Then I called back the HR guy at the marketing company to decline his rather tepid offer. I told him while I appreciated his offer, I had accepted a position somewhere else."

There's a hint of panic in the HR rep's voice as he tells fish, "Let me call you back in a few minutes."

Five minutes later, fish's phone rings. "How about we offer you the technical manager position, and increase the salary by $3,000?" HR rep asks.

Fish thinks about it for a moment. The new salary offer is still well below the other job's pay, but something else is also now clear: This guy lowballed fish, trying to hire him for a lesser position at lower pay so fish could later be promoted into the tech manager job with only a modest salary bump -- just to save a few grand a year.

"I told him while I appreciated the new offer, I had already accepted the other position, and I never go back on my word," says fish.

"If he'd been more honest with me the first time and made his best offer first, I would've accepted. But this was SOP for how they treat employees anyway, so I'm actually glad I didn't go back to that unhappy shop."

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