You’ve found the perfect candidate! Now what?

Kristi Birkeland on Sep 25, 2018 3:00:00 AM

It’s not always easy to move from a great candidate to a great offer. And in a tight talent market, it can be even more difficult. 

You need to make your coveted candidate an ideal offer. One that’s going to make them as excited to say those three little words as you are to hear them.

“I’ll take it!”

Gone are the days of expecting an immediate yes, with no problems and no negotiations. Employers, hiring managers, and human resources teams are realizing that making an offer is a nuanced process that needs to take both parties into account. Job seekers have more leverage than ever, and employers will need to adjust their expectations and processes accordingly.

Speed up to slow down

Because quality candidates are likely to have multiple leads, they may not be willing to wait very long for an interview or an offer. Moving high priority candidates through the process quickly can be the difference between being successful and being ghosted.

If your current talent search procedure involves multiple interviews, hiring committee meetings, and approval processes, now is the time to evaluate the necessity of each component. Get rid of any extraneous requirements, then find ways to streamline the critical pieces so your progress doesn’t get stalled and your candidates don’t get frustrated.

You may also need to adjust your strategy and timelines regarding the acceptance of an offer. Today’s job seekers may need more time to fully evaluate their options and commit to a decision. This might sound like a double standard, but it’s important to remember that hiring isn’t just about what’s right for the hiring manger or the organization. For your candidate, it’s all about making sure you’re the best fit for them. If the answer is no, it’s in everyone’s best interest to have that person move on. If the answer is yes, the extra day or two will be well worth the wait.

Flexibility is the new “Sign here.”

Hiring contracts have always been negotiable, but whether or not job seekers decide to do so depends largely on the market. When job demand is high and positions are few, candidates are much more willing to accept an offers as is. Likewise, when jobs are readily available and applicants are few and far between, employers should expect negotiations and counter-offers.

Once again, it’s time to take a look at your processes. Are you offering fair compensation, generous paid time off, and attractive employee benefits? If so, are you including these things in your job postings? Your future employees aren’t just making major career decisions. They are making major financial decisions as well. And in order to do that, they’ve got to have adequate salary information. Don’t let people get all the way through the process only to find out they can’t accept the job. It’s a waste of their time and yours.

Be honest about what you’re offering. If, for whatever reason, you really don’t have any wiggle room in your offers, be upfront about that from the start. If you neglect to make that clear to your candidates during the search and interview process, you could easily get burned when it comes time to hire.

Don’t take it personally

Candidates who negotiate during the offer phase aren’t doing it to be difficult or to offend you. It’s all part of the decision making process. Being flexible on some of these things could give you a huge hiring advantage.

Keep in mind that negotiating with a potential new hire can be an easy way to create a happy, engaged, loyal employee. And in many cases, it’s not just about cash. Every applicant comes from a unique situation and has a unique set of personal and professional goals. Here are some common issues your future employees may be wrestling with:

  • Student loans
  • Stagnant salary
  • Long commutes
  • Inflexible schedules
  • Affordable childcare
  • Lack of paid time off
  • Toxic boss or culture
  • Non-existent career paths
  • Limited professional development
  • Inadequate health, vision, and dental coverage

If you can make life easier in any of these areas, it just might tip the scales in your favor.

Sealing the deal

To make the negotiation process go smoothly, you’ll want to consider a few key things before going in:

  • What is the full salary range for the position, and where do new hires fall within it?
  • What is the top dollar amount you can realistically offer without offending your current staff members?
  • Are there additional ways to compensate employees that don’t involve increasing wages?
  • Do you have other qualified candidates in line for the position?

Never assume you know what your candidate wants from an offer. It could be an unrealistic expectation, but it could also be a very simple and reasonable request.

If your hiring process is transparent and designed to filter for cultural fit, it will likely weed out any unrealistic expectation candidates— and you’ll be left with a talent pool that’s worth investing in.

 

Photo by tomertu

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Topics: HR Strategy