To ensure the offer you exend to a candidate is met with success, it’s best to look at it as a process that starts from the first time you engage with them. One of the biggest mistakes recruiters make when extending an offer is doing so while having a lack of information at their disposal. As a result, candidates can be turned off by compensation, title, start date, or other factors that really should have been addressed earlier on, not at the eleventh hour!
During the recruitment process, make an effort to gather key data points during the initial conversations. As the third-party recruiter, you should be learning what factors will motivate your candidate to accept your job. Some questions need to gather answers to are:
- What are their salary expectations for a new job and how does this compare to their most recent W2 earnings? (Be sure to understand how much of that was the basic element and how much was bonus)
- What is their ideal job title?
- What is their location and ability / willingness to commute (if required)?
- Why are they interested in the position?
- What are their long term career goals?
- What kind of company/ culture do they prefer?
If your candidate’s answers to these questions don’t align with what the job is offering or requiring, then their expectations are not realistic for this position and it is important to discuss it immediately. You do not always need to resolve the difference then, but make sure any differences are not going to be a deal breaker!
It is also important to document the data you obtain so you can refer to it later on in the process and build a compelling offer pitch when the time comes. Not only should this information be documented, but it should also be confirmed multiple times and revisited throughout the process. After each interview you should be re-confirming these data points. Ask these simple questions:
- “We discussed a salary (and possible bonus if available) of “XXXX”, is this still what you would be looking for?”
- “Does this position still fall in line with your career goals and objectives?”
- “Is there anything that is concerning to you about the role at this stage?”
Before delivering the offer, you should be focussed on pre-closing the candidate. A pre-close will usually come just before the offer. The pre-close is a two-step process:
- Begin by saying the company has not made a final decision, but that you want to have the candidate’s best interest in mind if an offer does come.
- Then ask a simple pre-close question: “If I am able to get you an offer of $XXXX (plus bonus if applicable) and a title of XXXXX, would you accept this role?”
It is important to use the salary and title that will be in the offer letter so you know if they will accept or not! The whole idea of the pre-close is to get them thinking about accepting the role, before they actually have the offer come their way. When you then extend the offer, there should be no surprises and it should be accepted!
Other questions to keep in mind during the pre-close:
- When would you be able to start?
- Do you think your current company will provide a counter offer and is there a chance you would accept? What could they do to keep you?
- Do you have any other competing offers?
Once a pre-close has been done successfully, you should be comfortable that your official offer will be accepted.