Sometimes getting your candidate across the line isn’t as easy as you might think or hope. After all, just because you believe you have identified the perfect candidate, it doesn’t necessarily mean that the candidate feels they have found the perfect employer.
So many things can go wrong at this point, and as an employer (or a recruiter for that matter!) you need to be aware of these and also be aware of what you can do to prevent the whole process from falling apart at such a critical stage.
During the offer and post-offer stages, be sure to maintain personal communication with candidates – make them feel like they’re dealing with a human being who has an interest in them.
Be sure that the official offer that the candidate receives matches any verbal offers you’ve made during the process. The last thing you want is for the perfect candidate to receive their official offer and be surprised by its contents.
If a candidate turns down your offer or accepts a counteroffer, there’s no point in burning the bridge by getting upset, as you might still be able to recruit that candidate in the future.
6 Mistakes You Can Make with a Candidate at the Offer Stage
Keep them waiting. You were so keen to rush them through the interview process since you knew how hard it would be to find good candidates. But then you realised just how long the recruitment process was taking and how much of your own work you now need to catch up on so you decide to keep them waiting.
That’s one way to get them to lose interest fast.
You’ll never be accused of over-communicating. No candidate will turn a job offer down because you were in touch with them too frequently during the process.
Make the offer via email. If you can, it’s always a good idea to make a verbal offer first. Ideally, meet with the candidate in person – or at the very least call them. Be excited for them, and let them know how keen you are to have them come on board.
Talk through the role and core responsibilities again, and be clear on the salary you would like to offer them and on when you’d like them to start.
Assuming they do verbally accept, there is then nothing wrong with telling the candidate they will receive an official letter of offer within 24 hours.
Get someone else to send the offer out on your behalf. Believe it or not, candidates like continuity. So if you want to derail your star candidate, just ask another random team member to email the contract out on your behalf.
The candidate will then think you were just the ‘show person’ to get them in the door, but that you really don’t have any time for them. In their mind they’ve received a communication that reads, “Hi, you don’t know who I am but please sign here. Welcome aboard!”.
Include items in the offer that you hadn’t explained in person. When a candidate receives your offer of employment, there should be absolutely nothing in it that surprises them or that they weren’t expecting to see – including salary details.
For example, if the commencing salary is different from their post-probation salary, make sure you cover that during the interview. Or when you first discuss salary with the candidate, you must clarify whether it’s a salary package inclusive of benefits or a base salary plus benefits.
Any hidden surprises will just end up pushing candidates away.
Don’t give them any time to think about it. Nothing is more nerve-wracking for a candidate considering a new job offer than to feel like they’re on a clock.
Accepting a new role and going through the resignation process at their previous job is stressful enough as it is. Adding even more pressure at this time could easily scare them off.
Get defensive if they consider another offer. There’s evidence to show that over 75% of candidates who accept a counteroffer end up leaving the organization anyway within the next 3 months.
So if you show a bit of aggression or hostility towards a candidate who might be considering a counteroffer, then if they do ultimately leave their current employer within the next few months, they most likely won’t be reaching back out to you.
Remember how you thought they were a rock-star candidate? Keep that thought in mind before you get too defensive.
Candidate Offer FAQs
Should I make a verbal job offer?
Whether or not you should make a verbal job offer depends on your company. Make sure you have the proper authorization before extending any kind of verbal offer or agreement.
If you are authorized to do so, a verbal offer can be a great way to show interest and help head off any counteroffers the candidate might receive. Just make sure that you aren’t making promises you can’t keep – anything you say to the candidate verbally should be matched in the official offer.
What should I do when a candidate turns down a job offer?
When a candidate turns down a job offer, you should evaluate the offer and make any necessary changes for the future. If a candidate turns down your job offer, feel free to ask them for feedback.
They might share reasons relating to the offer itself, the interview process, or your brand image, and you can re-evaluate and make changes to those areas that will help increase your appeal to future candidates.
How long should I give a candidate to reply to a job offer?
As a general rule of thumb, you should give a candidate about a week to reply to a job offer. How long you give a candidate to respond depends on the position you’re hiring for and how urgently it needs to be filled, but a week is generally considered to be an appropriate amount of time.
Finding the perfect candidate isn’t the end of the hiring process. You still need to make sure that they think your company is a good fit, and avoid doing anything that might push them away.
Following the tips and guidelines laid out above will help you avoid making mistakes that could cost you a great recruit, and will help make sure that your perfect candidate will be ready to accept your offer.
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