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Extending an offer: five best practices

You wrote a perfect job description, interviewed excellent candidates and are ready to extend a job offer to the top contender. If you think this is the easy part, seasoned managers and recruiters will tell you otherwise.

Almost 60 percent of hiring managers were told “no thank you” after offering a candidate the job over the course of a year, according to a recent CareerBuilder survey. Another recent study estimated that 35 and 50 percent of all offers are declined.

Avoid last minute hiccups by following these best practices:

Do your Homework

By this time, you should know the candidate’s salary history, expectations, career goals and motivators. Only extend the offer if there is a genuine interest in the company. If a candidate is overly focused on salary, there is a good chance you will lose the individual to a counter offer or the deal will fall apart at the last minute. Many candidates are willing to change jobs for a salary increase of less than 10 percent, according to a recent Glassdoor survey.

Move Quickly

You may not be the only company with an attractive offer. Pick up the phone to give the good news personally. Although the job seeker may excitedly accept immediately, many ask for time to consider the offer. Do not let more than two days pass without checking-in to answer questions and get an update. Most companies require an answer within a week or less, depending on the nature of the position. Be professional, but be persistent.

Quantify the Offer

Provide the candidate a detailed description of how salary and any bonuses are awarded. If the position offers equity, benefits such as health care, tuition reimbursement or retirement, put a dollar figure on the benefits. This will help the employee understand the true value of the offer and make it stack up higher next to competitive offers. 

Sell the Role

Almost 80 percent of job seekers want details on why the company is an attractive place to work, according to Glassdoor research. The top five considerations job seekers take into account before accepting an offer are: salary and compensation, career growth opportunities, work/life balance, commute and company culture. Emphasize long-term opportunities with the company and perks that may appeal to the candidate such as flexible schedule or on-site daycare. Providing this review will energize the candidate and reduce the appeal of a counter offer.

Formal Offer

It’s a match! Once you get a verbal acceptance, the next step is to send out a formal offer letter. Let the candidate know the deadline to accept (generally no more than three days). Prepare the individual for a potential counter offer from their current employer and how to respond. Review the five considerations that make the opportunity attractive. After the call, email a copy of the offer and overnight the packet to the individual. Stay in contact! Although the match looks promising, the period between acceptance and the first day is still fragile.

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