How to Make a Hard-to-Refuse Job Offer
You’ve gone through a great hiring process, references have checked out, the social media profile is clean and now you are in a position to make your dream candidate the job offer.
However, in a competitive job market, it cannot be taken for granted that the employee will accept your job offer. Sure, if you are Google (the most desirable employer in the world), you can be pretty sure your offer will be accepted, but the rest of the relatively mortal employer brands must work to get the talent they want to sign on the dotted line. You need to do more than just select your dream candidate; you must make the candidate want to choose you. Because, employers don’t choose the best candidates, the best candidates choose the employer.
And below, I have set out some steps you can take to make sure the best candidates choose you, by making an offer that cannot be (or is at least hard to) refuse.
Once you have done your due diligence, don’t delay in making an offer. Move fast. Why? A timely job offer shows you are a dynamic, quick thinking company that really wants the candidate to join the business. It also demonstrates that you respect the candidate’s time. If the process becomes drawn out without good reason, it can make your firm appear ponderous and indecisive, which are not attractive qualities in a business.
A drawn out process also means the candidate may become susceptible to other offers and opportunities which may make him or her less likely to accept your offer or more likely to ask for a higher starting salary.
As well as sending them a letter or an email offer, make sure you always call the candidate to convey the offer verbally. It shows commitment and you can show your excitement. If you are really interested, have the CEO or department head call also (or at least sit in on the call), to show the all round enthusiasm for the candidate. If the person was the #1 candidate out of 80 resumes, voice that. Flattery and create goodwill around the offer and you will increase the likelihood of acceptance.
Ensure the offer is competitive
As in many walks of life, low-ball offers can upset candidates and lead to refusal, or at the very least, a more awkward and agitated negotiation. So check the market and ensure to make a fair and attractive initial offer to the candidate. Think what you would want or at least settle for if you were in their shoes. Most candidates will want to at least make a 10 percent advancement on their current salary. Pitch at the right level so the candidate feels they are advancing and being compensated fairly.
Explain the offer
Don’t just communicate the salary figure; explain the value of any bonus and individual benefits so candidates are aware of the full value of the offer (consider using a total reward statement). Explain your pay and benefits philosophy, e.g. do you pitch at mid market or upper quartile? If they understand the philosophy behind your pay levels they may be more accepting of them.
Talk about pay raises and career progression opportunities
Make sure to also explain how often pay raises occur and when the next pay review date is scheduled. Consider offering a pay review in 6 months subject to performance. This will help them to visualize working with you, and to visualize earning more pay with you. Both notions should increase the likelihood of offer acceptance. Also, talk about opportunities to progress and increase their salary, as career development is one of the key motivators of top talent.
Coach them on giving notice
Be aware that candidates are susceptible to counter offers and they may have emotional ties or just anxiety about leaving their current employer. So, talk about the process of giving notice which involves asking them how they feel about it, or how they think their manager will react. Also, make your HR team available to give tips and advice on resigning and remove/alleviate this potential counter offer obstacle.
Of course, there is no such thing as a cast iron guarantee that a candidate will accept your offer, so the most you can do is make an offer that’s very hard to refuse.
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