You’ve probably heard this piece of wisdom before: hire slowly, fire fast. When you do the first thing properly – that is to say, when you’re extraordinarily careful and diligent about who you hire – you won’t need to do the second thing nearly as often.
When you’ve put in the time to pour over resumes and conduct interviews to find your preferred candidate, the last thing you want is for them to decline your offer. You’re practicing the philosophy of hiring slowly, but you don’t want your efforts to be wasted, and you certainly don’t want to go through the whole process again.
How to Present a Job Offer
There are three basic components to presenting a job offer: the work you put in before the offer is extended, the offer itself, and your response to their response to the offer. That may seem like a lot of responding, but keep in mind that a job offer is part negotiation. When you’ve found a highly-qualified candidate, don’t doubt for a second that someone else has found that candidate, too – it’s unlikely you’re their only option.
Before You Hire
You’ve decided on your preferred candidate, but it’s not often up to one person’s discretion who gets hired and who doesn’t. Make sure you have thorough discussions with all the people your preferred hire is going to be working with before you extend the offer.
On a similar note, you’ll want to make sure you’ve slotted your preferred candidate into the company’s organizational structure. Having clearly established roles and relationships can help smooth the candidate’s transition into the company.
Discuss, at length, the salary and benefits you’re willing to offer the candidate. You should establish a low end and a high end, leaving some room for negotiation. Keep in mind, however, that low-balling the salary is not a great way to start the relationship. You want the package you offer to be enticing to your candidate, but to not offer so much that you can’t make a counter-offer should you need to (more on that in the next section).
Ready any paperwork you can in advance. Prepare detailed descriptions of some of the roles and responsibilities the candidate will fill. Prepare all of the legal and financial documents you can so the candidate just needs to fill in the blanks and sign. The fewer hiccups you have once your candidate is hired, the better the company looks, and the faster the process can move forward.
Determine how long you’ll give the candidate to reply to your job offer. You want to hire slowly, but not too slowly – if your preferred candidate declines, you want to be able to make an offer to your second choice. Set a date that your candidate will have to give you an answer by; should they fail to do so, move to the second candidate. A week is usually an appropriate time frame.
Try to anticipate questions your candidate might ask you – about compensation, advancement, training, corporate culture, and anything else. Jot down your answers, and discuss them with colleagues. Ensure everyone is on the same page.
Make sure you have a thorough onboarding process in place. If the person you are hiring is going to be working remotely, make sure your onboarding process is entirely virtual, and include some tips for working remotely. A properly set-up onboarding software can make the process especially smooth.
One last suggestion: make sure you get all of this done as quickly as possible. You don’t want to leave your candidate waiting – or they might find somewhere else to work.
The Offer Itself
You’ve put all of this time and effort into finding the right candidate – don’t waste it by making your offer in an impersonal email. Call the candidate and tell them how excited you are to offer them a position.
Now, ordinarily, a hiring interview might be in order – you bring the candidate into your office to discuss the details of the offer and present the whole package. You might even take them out to lunch! In our present circumstances, however, that might not be an option.
You can check out our tips for hiring post-pandemic for more insights, but the biggest takeaway is that you should leverage virtual technologies. Use Zoom, Skype, or another video interviewing app for the hiring interview.
The preparation you did pre-interview is going to serve you well now. You’ve got answers for your candidate’s questions, you can guide them through the organizational structure and who they’ll be working with, and discuss compensation, bonuses, and benefits.
Don’t wait too long to get to the good stuff – if you’re excited about the package you’re going to offer your candidate (and you should be), they will be too. Tell them you’re excited to extend the offer to them, tell them why they were the best candidate, and how they’ll fit into the company. Then dive into compensation – no reason to hide a good deal.
The Candidate’s Reply
You’ll get one of three replies:
- I’ll think about it
In the first scenario, you’re good to go! You have all of the paperwork ready, so discuss the start date, send the paperwork over, and pat yourself on the back. You’ve succeeded!
In the second scenario, you’re well-prepared. Give them the date by which you’d like a response, and set up a phone call between the day you extended the offer and the day by which you’d like a decision. Explain that this will give you the opportunity to answer any questions they may have.
When a candidate isn’t sure, it’s likely they have another offer on the table. You’re well-prepared for this possibility – when you phone them again, ask them what’s on their mind, and why they’re torn between yes and no. If it’s about compensation, you can ask what other offers they have on the table and negotiate. If it’s about company culture, you can answer their questions and make your pitch.
Call the candidate on the last day agreed upon for them to make their decision. Should they ask for an extension, you want to decline for the most part. A candidate who can’t decide within a week probably isn’t all that interested, and you don’t want to hire someone who isn’t as excited as you are. The statistics bear that out – bad hires costs a lot.
In the third scenario, you can still learn a lot. Ask the candidate why they said no. A straight up no doesn’t leave a lot of room for negotiation, but you might improve your practices for the next hire.
Kiara is associated with Bookedin – an appointment scheduling software. She works alongside the marketing team to provide comprehensive content and outreach solutions. She is always open to sharing her experiences with local businesses and uncovering all the engaging content that converts viewers into customers.