Don’t forget the reason we talked in the first place!

My peers extended three offers last week. In all three situations, the offers (on paper) provided better career opportunity and increased “compensation” (ok – a couple were modest increases but none the less… an increase).

Observing their discussions, it is/was interesting how a candidate’s mindset evolves during the recruitment process.

When you typically ask a candidate “what they are looking for in a new opportunity,” the discussion typically revolves around the following “non-monetary” motives:

  • Opportunities for advancement
  • Scope/responsibility of position
  • Education/training
  • Chance to work with new technology, be involved with project from the beginning.
  • Commute, less travel, etc.

On occasion, candidates will include “monetary” motives as drivers in the decision process.

  • Base/bonus
  • Medical benefits, vacation, etc.
  • Retirement plan
  • Tuition reimbursement

But 99.9% of the time, a candidate will accept (or decline) an offer based on the monetary decision factors!

Isn’t that ironic? The reason you “talked” in the first place, most often, has nothing to do with money (monetary motives) but in the end . . . the conversation becomes centered on it!

Savvy recruiters/strong ‘closers’ manage this topic from initial conversation to close. But I’m finding that even the savvy veteran can get sucked into this type of conversation during the offer/negotiation/education process.

Why is this?

I think the biggest catalyst is the typical offer process. When an offer is made, most recruiters usually don’t start like this…

I am so excited to present this offer. Based on our initial discussion, we can provide you with:

  • An opportunity to move into a supervisory role in 18 months.
  • A chance to lead a team of 10 responsible for launching a new system in 15 facilities throughout North America.
  • Six Sigma training. We will sponsor you to become a black belt!
  • Opportunity to manage the project from Day I using RET technology.
  • A commute of 15 minutes and less than 25% travel.

Most often, we skip over the career, non-monetary motives and start like this . . .

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We are pleased to provide this offer.

  • Your base compensation is…
  • Your bonus is this…
  • Your benefits are XXXXX
  • Of course this is all contingent upon finalizing your background check, etc.

Based on the typical process, why wouldn’t a candidate dwell on the monetary part of the offer, since it’s all we talk about and is documented in the offer letter?

To ensure we don’t fall into this trap, we use a tool called a Career Comparison:

Current position Our opportunity
Non-Monetary Motives
New technology, etc.
Monetary Motives
Base compensation
Bonus, etc.

This tool allows us to provide an apples-to-apples comparison between their current position (or competing offer) with our offer. It allows them to objectively evaluate the opportunity based on all motives, not just based compensation, bonus, etc. It also allows the candidate to review this with other key decision makers in the process (significant other, mentor, parents, etc.)

Now, I have worked with some companies whose HR/Legal group is not too keen on putting some of these things in writing for the candidate but I think you would agree, you need to articulate your opportunity taking this into consideration.

With that said, please share your best practices on this subject. Please provide us with your “offer” process that ensures a candidate doesn’t forget the reason you “talked” in the first place.

David Szary is senior vice president and general manager, recruiting services, HealthcareSource. HealthcareSource is a leading provider of talent management solutions for healthcare.


4 Comments on “Don’t forget the reason we talked in the first place!

  1. David – I just printed this post and I’m sharing it with my team today. We’ve been using the “closing worksheet” provided by Lou Adler, and it’s a great tool to keep track of the info that we need to remember and “use” as we move the candidate toward the final stage. But the manner in which we present the final information is so critical and I’m not sure I’ve ever expressed its importance to my team.

    thanks for the reminder.

  2. I like this module. This makes a lot of sense as I have had the same issues come up before. The process that I use, and it works very well, is to always be talking about the opportunity, and their financial requirements in almost every conversation until the offer is received (by me)(having the authority to accept on both the client and the candidates behalf previous to the offer is ideal for ensuring a placement too). Answering all the questions of the candidate along the way about benefits, vacation, etc, so that in the end they can accept the offer. Also, I indicate to the candidate from the beginning that I will NOT extend an offer that will NOT be accepted at that moment. This has worked very well, and candidates understand this as I have explained the benefits to them as to why they would be receptive and how this makes them look good to the company too.

    In close, where this would be very helpful is to point out to other opinions such as the wife, friend, etc. as you mention, and show them the positive reasons that are FACTUAL for them to make this change. Sweet! I like this a lot, and I will implement into my process today!

    Thank you again for the tip.


  3. It’s also important to always check and recheck with the candidate his salary expectations. It’s always a moving target whether you ask about it or not. You need to know what it is they are thinking about in terms of their expected salary before they interview, after they interview, again after that if they interview again. In most cases, that number is going to go up once they know an offer will be made. You need to ask questions that will put it all together for you. Questions and the telephone – important recruiting tools. It’s never the great things about the offer and new new opportunity that wreck a deal.

  4. What a great insight, Dave. I will definitely use this in my perm recruiting. I do mostly contract work, but am actually hoping to close a perm candidate today and have to present the offer to him, so this is perfect timing!


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