Hiring the right candidate for your business is resource-intensive. You put out the call, pour-over resumes, hold a number of interviews, and narrow down the field. Once you’ve finally picked out the candidate who best suits the role, you really want them to accept the job offer - you don’t want all of your hard work to go to waste. You can always extend the offer to the second or third best candidate, but there’s a reason they’re not the first on your list. When the job offer you make is attractive and well-thought-out, you’re much more likely to land the most skilled candidate who perfectly matches your requirements and expectations.
1. Get Your Ducks In Order
To offer a candidate a job without having worked out the details of that position is not recommended to say the least. There are, of course, circumstances in which the nature of a particular position might change. A startup, for example, might require an employee to become the ''Jack of all trades'', to begin with, then transition to a more specific, niche role as time goes on.
Nonetheless, you should strive to make the employment offer you’re proposing to the candidate as clear as possible. Highlight important responsibilities, understand potential career paths, and create a clear hierarchical structure - who reports to the candidate and who the candidate reports to. Have the appropriate papers ready to sign and be filed with professional agencies or other stakeholders. Do as much work as you can before placing the job offer - that way, you’ll be able to answer relevant candidate questions and minimize delays.
2. Act Quickly
High-quality candidates aren’t looking for work for long. You’re unlikely to be the only prospective employer the candidate has approached, which means it’s to your advantage to be the first one to get back to them. Have your hiring managers decide on your preferred applicant as quickly as possible, then present your offer to them as soon as you decide.
This is not the time for an email. As soon as you’ve decided on who you want to hire, phone them to make the job offer. You’ll have a bit of time between this phone call and actually making the employment offer, because you’re going to ask them to review and sign the employment agreement either in person or by using an e-signature.
How exactly you do this is up to you, and it will depend heavily on what industry you’re in, as well as the prestige attached to the position. You might want to take your candidate out for lunch - how upscale is up to you. Once you meet up in person with your candidate, you’ll be ready for all of their questions and concerns - we’ll address some of the finer points of this, below.
4. Be Generous
People don’t leave their employers for no reason - more often than not, if they feel valued at their last place of employment, they’ll only be moving to receive higher compensation. A good rule of thumb is to offer at least 10% more than their former employer was offering; move that up to 15% if you’re really enthusiastic about your candidate and you can afford it.
Talking up salary is one thing, but the rest of your compensation package could be the cherry on top. Have a gym? Talk about it? Provide comprehensive medical insurance or life insurance? Bring it up. These extra perks can add up to thousands of dollars in an effective salary for employees who use them.
You’ve taken the time to establish where this candidate is in the company’s hierarchy and you’ve also taken the time to assess their skills. Be open about potential career growth, education opportunities, bonuses, and other ways you can help your candidate grow and develop. People will often leave jobs if they feel there’s no room for growth - show your candidate a path forward.
5. Talk Culture
Talking about business culture can be complicated if you haven’t thought about your own culture too much. Exactly what makes one business’ culture better than another’s is hard to pinpoint, and what’s attractive about a company will vary from candidate to candidate.
When people ask about your corporate culture, what they’re really asking about is the people. Do you take it easy? Are there a lot of water-cooler talks? A number of shared hobbies and interests? Extracurricular activities and volunteering? Do you have an underlying philosophy that guides your culture?
You might talk about your own policies as an employer - how receptive you are to conversations with employees, how rigid the chain of command is, and how suggestions are best made. Avoid talking about any one person in particular - the best way for someone to get to know someone else is to introduce them and let them make their own decisions about one another. You should never gossip about an employee - there’s no place for that in business.
6. Prepare For Their Answer
Generally, there are three answers your candidate can give you: yes, maybe, and no. When the answer is yes, congratulations! You can skip ahead to the “Hire Them!” section because all that’s left is a warm gesture and some discussions about the details.
If they answer, “maybe”, feel free to ask them what’s on their mind. Don’t be pushy about the whole thing; ask with honesty, empathy, and curiosity. A candidate who is uncertain shouldn’t feel overly pressured. Read the “Give Them Time” section for more details.
Should your candidate decline your job offer, the first question that’s going to run through your head is “Why?”. That’s a very good question, and you should ask it out loud - directly, but politely. They came to hear your offer, so they must, at the very least, be interested. You might find it’s something fixable, like a higher salary that’s within your allotted budget (though again, if you really like a candidate, you should offer them the maximum you can write out the gate). There might be something unchangeable, like a similar offer in a better location. No matter the reason, if you can’t hire the candidate, thank them and ask them to keep in touch. Don’t try to pressure them into anything. The impact of high employee turnover can be brutal, and if you’ve hired a candidate who isn’t keen on working with you, you’re likely to see problems sooner or later.
7. Give Them Time
Most candidates won’t take an offer on the spot; they’ll need to think it over for a couple of days. Give them the opportunity to think, both during the in-person meeting and after. Of course, you can’t spend all year waiting for a candidate; you have a position that needs to be filled. Should the job offer happen on a Monday, give them until Friday. In other cases, it might be best to give them the weekend to mull it over. 5-7 days should be enough for most candidates and most positions.
8. Keep In Touch
Just because you’ve given them 5-7 days to answer doesn’t mean you can’t call them again. Let them know that they should contact you over the course of that period of time with any questions or concerns they might have. Schedule a follow-up call with them about halfway through the time you’ve allotted them to decide, so you can touch base.
For candidates who have declined your offer, let them know that you’re interested in having them work with you in some capacity, and to contact you should they decide they want to join your team. You’re likely, of course, to have filled the position by then, but other opportunities come up, and great candidates can be hard to come by.
9. Hire Them!
You’ve put in all this work, your candidate has said yes; now you can sign the papers and hire them! A debrief is always a good idea - give them any paperwork you need them to sign, let them know when they can expect to start working and give them a tour of their workplace (if you haven’t already). Consider celebrating with a drink or a meal - show them how excited you are to have them work for you.
Kiara is a blogging enthusiast. She loves applying her knowledge of writing and marketing to new content pieces. Some of his favourite pieces can be found on Bookedin’s website.