Tuesday, October 23, 2012

The stall

Occasionally you'll have a very nice problem: more than one job offer. Maybe one station is pressing you for a decision, maybe both. Maybe one has an offer on the table and you're hoping for an offer from a station you like better.

You need time, but News Directors are pressing you for a quick answer. (This is ironic since they usually move at the speed somewhere between continental drift and Jim Lehrer.)

This is when you employ some sports strategies. The stall. Killing the clock.

Let's say you get a job offer today and the ND wants a quick answer. (First, note that any ND that does a car salesman type full court press is usually trying to hide something.) The very first thing you do is ask the ND to send you a copy of the contract so that you and your lawyer can look at it. Since we all know lawyers move at the speed somewhere between glaciers and Jim Lehrer, this will give you a few days to let things play out.

You can use the ND's speed, or lack thereof, against him. You can ask for a simple change in a contract, a few more dollars, perks, whatever. This now buys you more time as he has to take the contract to the GM, corporate, the beancounters, or whoever. That'll kill a few more days.

The stall is a very subtle tactic, and you cannot overplay it and stretch things out forever. But when you need a few days for other factors to play out, you can always buy a little time with some sensible requests.


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