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Published on: Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Should You Ask for a Step Back?


As part of ExecuNet membership, I conduct a weekly teleconference called Six-Figure Hotline where members call in to ask the questions keeping them up at night, and to gain market and trend insight from the career experts who join me in talking about issues that are important to executives today.

In a recent teleconference a caller asked, "Once you've progressed far enough in the interview process, how aggressive do you really need to be as far as asking for the job offer? How do you respond to the question, 'Is this job enough for you?' How do you counter the fact that a position may be a step back, but you really want the role for a variety of reasons, (e.g. great company, advancement opportunity, industry, etc)?"

Here's what I told him:

Asking for the offer: It depends on your read of the interviewer — if they are looking for a "risk taker" or someone to be assertive. In general, my guess is that the company would like to feel that making the offer is their "to do" and if the interview process has gone well you shouldn't have to "ask" in the first place, and in "asking" it could be viewed as being over anxious and might be seen as a negotiating weakness. If it were me, I would wait for them to make the offer and go from there.

Is this job enough for you?: Understand what their concern is in asking the question. Sounds like they are worried that once the market turns you'll be gone because the job is too much of "been there, done that" and "they won't be able to keep you challenged" etc., Your job as the "salesperson" is to anticipate the objection and have points to make that will put their minds at ease.

Step back: You have really answered the "Is the job enough for you?" The reasons you have given are certainly among the points you can make. Especially true if you are bringing 20+ years of experience because you can also make the argument that you have been around the game long enough to know what you like, don't like, what turns you on and where your job satisfaction comes from which is part of why you are so excited about the opportunity.

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Dave Opton's avatarDave Opton
Dave Opton founded ExecuNet in 1988 to provide a trusted environment where senior-level executives could build career opportunities by facilitating connections to other executives, experts and key market insights. Dave has drawn upon his 35 years of experience in human resources to develop and grow what has become the leading business and career membership network for executives and senior managers. A widely recognized executive career management expert, Dave is regularly quoted in The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, Business Week, Fortune, Fast Company, and other leading business publications. Mr. Opton received his BA from Indiana University.

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