Getting a “Yes” To Every Job Offer
10 Foolproof Steps
This article was originally published in Mainebiz, October 1, 2012
Finding the perfect candidate to fill the critical position in your company is never easy. Search, interviewing, and reference checking can be draining to you and your organization. And once you find the “right” one, you’d like to believe your job is over, but it is not. Getting the candidate to say “yes” is the most important part of the entire recruitment process. Without a “yes” everything else you have done is simply practice.
After you have completed the interviews and references, ask yourself: Can he do the job? Will she be accepted? Will he fit? Is she interested? What is the likelihood that he will stay? Will outside factors interfere with her performance? Are there any red flags? Am I excited about him? Is my staff? Is she the one?
If you are convinced that the candidate has the right stuff and will add value to your organization, then it is time to prepare the job offer. Don’t underestimate this step. Too often, we assume the candidate will automatically say yes. Unfortunately, this is not the case. Unless they are unemployed, there is often a pull to stay in the current job then to accept your position—a “buyer’s remorse.” And, they may be interviewing elsewhere where a “better” offer may already be on the table.
To begin, let’s look at some of the reasons candidates accept new positions. Sometimes it is because they want to get away from their current place of employ. Usually it is because they are seeking a better career, money, flexibility, or a closer commute. Your job as the hiring manager is to fully understand what these motivators are because through these you can determine what it will take to get the candidate to accept your job offer. Candidates will tell you what it will take. You simply have to listen for it during the interview process and then include it in your job offer.
To do this you must probe very deeply into the reasons they have left previous positions and why they would consider leaving their current job. Their reasons could be anything from salary, opportunity, security, conflict with a supervisor, travel, flexibility, etc. Whatever the reasons and there are usually more than one, your job is to find out, in detail, what they are. This information will help you prepare the job offer that will ultimately yield you a “yes” response.
Remember, well before you extend the offer, you must know what the candidate wants and does not want. Then you must address all of these pieces in the job offer. If what the candidate wants is out of your ballpark, then it is time to lay the cards on the table. Outline what you can offer. Never apologize for what you can or cannot do. Stress the benefits of working for you. And if you cannot close the gap, thank the candidate for his time and move on.
The Job Offer—10 Musts
Once you know what it will take to get to a yes, it is time to draw up the offer. Here are 10 musts for every successful job offer:
- Put the offer in writing. Make sure your letter is clear and concise and includes, at a minimum, the following: job title, reporting structure, starting salary, benefits, and date of next review.
- Make the letter welcoming. If it is filled with legalese, you’ll turn off the candidate. Remember, you’re courting the candidate. This is not a prenuptial agreement.
- Deliver the offer in person—face to face. You want to be able to immediately address any questions, objections or issues that the candidate may have. You want to see his reaction to your offer. If his body language says “no” you need to find out why—and fast. If an offer absolutely cannot be extended in person, do it over the phone. Setting a positive tone now will increase the odds of getting a “yes” and will guarantee a positive start to the candidate’s employment with you.
- Give the offer letter to the candidate after you have delivered the offer in person.
- Be prepared to negotiate, particularly with professional positions. However, you’ll get minimal push back on your offer if you already got a clear understanding of what the candidate wants during the job interview.
- Be prepared for a counter offer from the candidate’s current employer. If she is good, her boss will probably not give her up without a fight. Discuss the possibility of a counter offer with the candidate during the interview process. Ask her directly if she expects to get one and what she’ll do. Find out early so that you can prepare your response.
- Don’t expect an immediate response to your offer. Give the candidate a few days to think about it, but no more than a week. The longer it takes to get a response, the more likely things could go wrong.
- Make sure you immediately address any questions or concerns. Never leave a candidate hanging. It sends the wrong message.
- Make yourself available, day or night, to respond to a candidate’s question—or to questions from his or her spouse.
- Be very clear to a candidate how important they are to you and your organization and why you want them. Be welcoming.
By knowing what your candidate wants before you extend an offer, you increase the odds of getting a positive response. By making it impossible for the candidate to say “no,” you ensure that your job offers will result in an enthusiastic “yes.”