Hiring Guide – Part 3: The Offer


Ripple Recruit have put together a 3 part series , which covers the 3 most important areas of hiring; The Search, The Interview, The Offer.

Part 3: The Offer

You’ve found your ideal candidate, the interviewing is complete and you’ve decided to make an offer, you’re nearly over the finish line…but not quite!

Putting forward an offer is often where some of the biggest challenges lie. The balance of power has shifted, and you’ve laid your cards on the table. Here are our top 3 tips to ensure the candidate you want, wants you back!

Tip #1 – Know your timescales

If recruitment has ever been a part of your job, then it’s likely that you’ve missed out on a candidate because you couldn’t get an offer to them fast enough.

In any candidate driven market (especially Technology and Engineering) it’s essential that you present an offer quickly to secure your first choice candidate. Getting an offer approved and in front of the candidate quickly is often much easier for a SME or start-up but can be more difficult for a larger company.

Just because you can’t get an offer approved within 24 hours, doesn’t mean that you should miss out.

  • Be clear about your typical timescales from the outset.
  • If you cannot get a formal offer in writing, then consider making a verbal offer to show your intent.
  • Get a clear picture of when the candidate is looking to make their decision and why. Understanding their reasons for needing an offer by a certain date may help you justify escalations internally.
  • Request a budget increase early if you know that your first-choice candidate is above your initial budget.
  • Determine if you’ll get a chance to make a counter offer or if you should put your best offer forward first time.
  • Always call the candidate by phone with the offer. A formal letter can follow but a phone call will convey your excitement and you can gauge their interest level as well as immediately addressing any questions.
  • Aim to get commitment as soon as possible. Don’t be pushy but find out and deal with any concerns or objections quickly.

Many candidates are willing to wait for a few days for an offer but a long delay between final interview and offer is never well received. It makes the candidate feel that they’re a second choice and could affect their decision to accept. There’s a saying in recruitment, time kills all deals…

Tip #2 – Clarify what’s most important

I’ve seen candidates reject an offer…

  • which would have given them a 30% pay rise.
  • that allowed them complete flexibility to work from home.
  • despite the employer offering a 5 year plan for their progression.
  • to join extremely exciting start-up.

And yet I’ve seen candidates accept job offers for the very same reasons.

The point here is that everyone has different motivations and just because your last hire joined because of the exciting work you’re doing in space exploration doesn’t mean that the next one will.

Understand what you’re offering to potential new employees and try to make sure that you can offer more than one attractive element. For example, you may not be able increase your budget and offer the highest salary but how about offering a 4-day week or the option of working from home?

Use the interview process to determine the candidate’s motivations and talk openly about their top 3 ‘must haves’ in their next role.

When presenting an offer, make sure that you include not just the elements of the financial package but also highlight benefits such flexible working, professional development, personal training budgets, support towards certifications etc.

During the offer process, having open communication and a dedicated point of contact is essential. Make sure that the candidate knows who they can contact for their questions and don’t just offer an email address , give them a phone number with a real live person at the other end!

Even when you’ve received the signed contract back in the post, I would advise following up with a phone call to make sure that the candidate doesn’t have any unanswered questions or concerns.

Tip #3 – Work with the candidate on their resignation

The resignation is generally the final hurdle and if it goes wrong, it’s definitely the most painful .

You’ve already invested a huge amount of time and effort in finding, interviewing and securing the candidate that you want but all this can be for nothing if their resignation doesn’t go as planned.

Any recruiter worth their salt will talk to candidates about counter offers , if you’re working with a recruiter then make sure they’ll cover this and have previous experience of coaching candidates through the process.

If you are hiring without a recruiter, then you’ll have to tackle this yourself . You can’t just avoid the topic completely, bury you head in the sand and cross your fingers! Talk to the candidate about what the resignation process will feel like, how their employer may react and what they may say to try and convince them to stay. Talk to the candidate about their reasons for resigning in the first place.

Resignations are an emotional experience. Although the candidate is resigning from his company, he’s also walking away from friends and colleagues and will feel an element of guilt about leaving everyone behind.

The best resignations are well thought out and planned . Talk to the candidate about their current projects and workloads. Can they put together a handover document with suggestions on who in the business can take over their work once they’ve left? Can they get any business-critical projects completed before leaving?

Your goal is to eliminate the panic that their current employer will feel when the candidate resigns, it’s this panic that often prompts the counter offer.

Stay in touch with the candidate over their notice period. Their current employer may make more than one attempt at a counter offer and if they do, being aware of the conversations at the time will give you the best chance of keeping things on track.

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