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A Tale of One City – What Employers Can Learn from NYC and Amazon’s Squandered Deal

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By now, almost everyone has heard that Amazon has backed out of moving one of its two new headquarters to Long Island City, NY. The reason? NYC and Amazon just couldn’t agree on things, and negotiations came to a standstill. And, while there’s much debate over who was right and who was wrong, there are a few lessons employers can take away from the situation to ensure good talent doesn’t slip away, much like Amazon slipped away from NYC.

  1. Be Open to Negotiations

If a candidate is asking for more money, don’t automatically shut them down. If that amount is still within market rate and you think they’d be worth it, meet them halfway or agree to the amount so you don’t lose them. Alternatively, you can offer other perks to compensate for more money, like a work from home day each week in lieu of that extra $5K the candidate wanted, or three extra vacation days. Be flexible and open to solutions – don’t just automatically say no and lose good talent.

  1. Keep it Cordial

Of the failed deal, Amazon said, “For Amazon, the commitment to build a new headquarters requires positive, collaborative relationships with state and local elected officials who will be supportive over the long-term.” This is an obvious dig at the politicians in NYC who protested the $3B in incentives offered to the retail giant. Sen. Michael Gianaris of Queens said of Amazon, “Like a petulant child, Amazon insists on getting its way or takes its ball and leaves.” Both comments are harsh, and the public is seeing just how bitter everyone is over the squandered deal. No matter which side you agree with, it’s clear that neither side is acting professional. Don’t be viewed as unprofessional. If you can’t come to an agreement with a candidate, don’t get bitter and insist they’re asking for more than they’re worth. Instead, wish them well and keep an open line of communication for future openings.

  1. Always Have a Backup

Neither Amazon nor NYC have a backup to replace what they’ve lost. Amazon is continuing on with just it’s new Crystal City, VA location and NYC doesn’t have another retail giant to fill the 4 million square foot void left in Long Island City. Don’t be left with only one headquarters or 4 million square feet of emptiness – instead, always have a backup. If your number one pick turns down your offer, make sure you’ve kept an open line of communication with your number two. Don’t reject them before candidate one accepts the offer, or you’ll be starting the process from scratch.

Whether you care about the failed Amazon deal or not, it’s clear there are some valuable lessons that can be learned from it. When working with top talent, especially in such a tight labor market, it’s important to be open to negotiations, stay cordial during the process (and even after), and always have a backup.


Nexxt is a recruitment media company that uses today’s most effective marketing tactics to reach the full spectrum of talent – from active to passive, and everything in between. Learn more about hiring with Nexxt.

 

 

 

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