Managing the Offer Stage
Our articles have taken you – as a business-owner or Human Resources Manager – through the recruitment process from sourcing all the way to final selection. Now we will talk about the final stage of making and managing a job offer.
We say ‘Managing’ rather than ‘Making’ an offer because it is critical that you achieve a successful hiring after all the work and use of resources to get to this point.
If the salary range and package offered for the position were discussed at the interview stage and no issues were raised then your offer stage is more likely to go smoothly. Offer stage is not a time for surprises, the offer should be in line with what you have been talking about all the way through the process, and likewise a dramatic change in the candidate’s expectation at this stage is a red flag.
If you have withheld your budget from the candidate up to this point and are relying on the candidate’s current salary to base your offer then you will now have to deal with this and your senior management will have to approve the budget. Don’t let this process delay your offer – if the candidate is strong and is planning to move jobs, waiting for your senior management to approve a budget can kill the recruitment process for you.
Although a call to tell the candidate that they are successful is a good idea, offers should be made in writing. Your offer letter does not need to be long but it should include details of the position, salary and benefits package, a provisional start date and a deadline for the offer to be accepted or rejected.
Hopefully your candidate accepts the offer, resigns, serves notice and is ready to start on your chosen date. Of course that does not always happen. You must be prepared for the candidate’s employer to make a counter offer. Handling a counter-offer must be done delicately. You need to have a conversation with the candidate where you remind them that you, without being their employer, made them this offer and the current employer only countered when you discussed resignation with them. You must remind the candidate of all the positive points in your organisation and your offer gently reminding them of the reasons why they applied for your position in the first place.
Candidates from recruitment agencies
If your candidate was sourced through a recruitment agency then remember that the consultant at the agency has a stronger relationship with the candidate than you do and is likely to be much more successful than you when talking to the candidate about the counter-offer.
In some situations, particularly for positions in high-shortage areas, you may need to adjust your offer above the current employer’s counter-offer. Although in normal situations this strategy should be avoided it should be in your range of possible tactics.
Remember that employees who are only motivated by salary are the least engaged employees meaning that they are the most likely to leave for another higher offer. It really should be your reputation as an employer that rewards and develops employees and the particular opportunities you are offering in this position that attracts the candidate to join you. Unfortunately the realities of an employee-driven market mean that you sometimes have to compromise and make a counter-offer to get the people your organisation needs.