- Blog Categories:
- Business Coaching
- Company Training
- Customer Service
- Customer Service Training
- Down Economy
- Employee Development
- Employee Retention
- Fast Company
- Human Resources Management
- IT Staffing
- Job Analysis
- Job Listing
- Management Development
- Men's Wearhouse
- Skywalk Group
- Staffing and Employment
- Supervisory Training
- Time Management
This blog article, submitted by Elizabeth Trcka, Skywalk Group Partner, is the final recruiting topic for the month of November.Â Next month we will round out the year with entertaining and informational blog articles from our Skywalk Group team.
How to best prepare and ensure that your job offer will be accepted.Â No surprises!
To reach an offer acceptance by a candidate, there should be no surprises once you are ready to extend the offer.Â Keep in mind, the offer process starts from the minute you engage a potential candidate.Â By constantly asking qualifying questions, pre-closing the candidate, and keeping the client informed, you can minimize the risk of investing countless hours and resources in a candidate who declines an offer.
Gather information throughout the recruiting process
One of the most common mistakes in job offers is there was not enough information gathering and giving early in the process.Â As a result, candidates are surprised by compensation, location, start date and a wide variety of other factors.
During the recruiting process, make it a conscious effort to gather the key data points during the initial conversations.Â A couple of must haveâ€™s;
- Last 2 -3 yearâ€™s W2 income
- Percentage of income from base and bonus
- Expected income for next jobâ€”base and bonus
- Ability and willingness to commute to the office (if required)
- If relocation is necessary, the expected costs and/or components (moving expenses, home sale, breaking a lease, etc) involved for the candidate
- Desired start date
As you collect this data, you should also be giving the same information back to the candidate.Â Confirm that the compensation is within available range, that the relocation needs are within budget, and that the desired start date matches the companyâ€™s needs.Â If one of the data points is out of line with your expectations, discuss it then.Â You do not always need to resolve the difference then, but make sure it is widely known before the decision to move forward is made.
The final part of doing your homework is learning the candidateâ€™s selling points.Â Why are they interested in the position?Â What are their long-term career goals?Â What kind of corporate culture do they prefer?Â Start documenting the data points that will allow you to build a compelling sales pitch when the time comes to negotiate and close the candidate.
Most important is to document the information.Â All of this information should be a) collected, and b) confirmed more than once during the phone screening, initial interviews and final interviews.Â It never hurts to say â€śWhen we spoke on November 15th we discussed a salary range of $65,000 to $70,000â€”is this still what you are thinking?â€ť It lets the candidate know that you are paying attention, which is both reassuring and reduces any urge to renegotiate late in the game.
Pre-close the candidate
Through the interviewing process, you should be continuing to 1) collect the necessary data, 2) confirm accuracy, and 3) begin to lay the groundwork for your sales pitch.Â Remember the ABCâ€™sâ€”Always Be Closing.
Pre-closing a candidate is the step that has the most impact on the acceptance rates of job offers, and is one often skipped.Â Once you think you feel the candidate has a legitimate chance of receiving an offer, make the pre-closing call.Â The goal is to outline the details of an offer, but be very clear that this is a confirmation of the candidateâ€™s interest and not a verbal offer.
Begin by saying you and the group/company have not made a final decision to extend an offer, but you think they are a strong candidate and would like to talk through the details of what an offer may look like.Â Recap the information you have documentedâ€”compensation, salary/bonus, location, desired start date.Â Then walk through the same points with ranges of the offer.Â Highlight and discuss any discrepancies between your expectations and the candidates.Â A couple of sample questions you may want to use include:
- If we were to extend you an offer that looked like this, would you be interested in joining us?
- Are there any reasons why this offer would not be acceptable to you?
- Is this offer what you were hoping for? When would you be able to start?
- Have you discussed this opportunity with your family/partner/significant other or do you need more time to discuss it?
- Do you think your current company will give you a counter offer, and is there a chance you would stay?
All of these questions open opportunities for further discussion and gives you a better sense for where the candidate is in the decision making process.Â Once you get a feel for where you align and where you donâ€™t, reiterate that there are other candidates in process and other considerations before making the formal offer.Â Wrap up the pre-closing conversation with a specific time when the candidate will hear from you with details on next steps.Â Againâ€”not an offer, but â€śdecisions on next stepsâ€ť.Â Once that time and date are set, stick to it!Â Even a half-dayâ€™s delay sends the wrong message and puts you behind other competitive offers.Â Hopefully you will be calling with a formal offer, but at the very least you will call with an update and set a new time and date for follow-up.
Extending the offer
Once you have agreed internally to move forward with the offer, call the candidate at the time set previously or schedule a new time to talk with the candidate about next steps.Â While you want the conversation to be natural and comfortable, one potential outline and structure for the conversation would be:
- Start out with the good newsâ€”â€śWeâ€™d like to formally extend you an offer!â€ť
- Tell them what you are going to tell themâ€”set the agenda of the conversation
- Sell the opportunity and alignment with the candidateâ€™s goals, which by now you have already discussed in detail:
-Start by describing the immediate impact the candidate will make
-Discuss the long-term opportunities for the candidate
-Highlight the companyâ€™s strengthsâ€”growth, vision, culture, etc
- Create a direct link between the candidateâ€™s previously stated career and personal goals and the job
- Discuss the details of the offer.Â Specifically address any areas where the offer does not meet the candidateâ€™s requests or issues discussed in the pre-closing call.
- Ask for feedback
-If the candidate is satisfied with the details, ask for a verbal acceptanceâ€”â€śSo if you are good with the offer and this is a verbal acceptance, Iâ€™ll put together the formal offer letter and get it out to you.â€ť (There is no reason to send the offer if you do not have a verbal acceptance.)
-If the candidate has remaining questions or would like time to consider the offer, identify the areas of concern.Â In many cases, the candidate will want something on paperâ€”offer to outline the details of what the offer would be in an email rather than send out the formal offer letter
- Once the candidate has verbally accepted:
-Prepare the candidate for a counter offer, if relevant.Â Walk them through how they will respond to a counter offer from the current employerâ€”remind them why they are leaving and address what they will likely offer them to stay.Â The loyalty of a candidate that accepts a counter offer will always be in question by the employer.
-Discuss next steps and timeline.Â Let them know when the offer will go out and how long they have to accept.Â Always set a deadline for formal written acceptanceâ€”we recommend a deadline of less than 3 business days, with 1-2 days being preferable.Â If you have done your pre-closing work, this should be a formality and should not require much consideration.
-Let them know the formal paperwork will be sent, and make sure they have it in their hands within 24 hours.Â Whenever possible, email a PDF version of the offer letter or overnight the offer packet to the candidate.
- Final steps
-Follow up with the candidate to make sure they received the paperwork and everything is in order.
-Always require the offer letter to be signed and returned by the date specified.Â It may seem obvious, but we have had clients in the past just send out the letter and wait for the candidate to show up on the first day with the signed paperwork.Â Not surprisingly, they had an abnormally high rate of candidates back out of their offers, accept competitorâ€™s offers or just never show up to work.
-Once the offer is in-hand, the recruiter or hiring manager should follow up with the candidate at least once a week until the start date.Â The longer the time period between acceptance and start, the greater the risk of the candidate backing out.
- Check in and follow up.Â Be sure to check in with the candidate the first week to see how things are going.Â If there is any disconnect between the candidateâ€™s expectations and reality, you want to identify them quickly.
Anyone who has spent months recruiting the perfect candidate only to have it unravel at the last minute understands the importance of a smooth negotiation and closing process.Â Given the amount of resources required to attract the right candidate, the process of negotiating and extending a job offer is often overlooked and undervalued.Â However, by following a few guidelines and best practices, you can drastically reduce the risk of losing a candidate at the offer stage.