Hopefully You Did These 8 Things With Your Job Candidate

Conventional thinking tells us that first to the finish line wins. And that is usually the case.

But consider this scenario:

You interview a number of candidates and find “the one.” You want to move quickly, you know they are interviewing elsewhere and you want to lock them down before anybody else does.

So you move and lightning speed to get approval on a competitive offer that you are confident will delight them. Without hesitation, you present the offer and expect to see fireworks as the candidate jumps out of their chair with their gracious, elated acceptance.

Instead, you hear these words:

“Thank you! I’ll take a few days to review and then let you know if I have any questions.”


You know what happens next. You spend the next 24, 48, 72 hours in anxiety, wondering if your offer is going to be accepted but knowing in your heart that it likely won’t be — the longer you wait to hear, the less likely you’ll get a yes.

Article Continues Below

Then the call comes. The candidate won’t be taking your offer because another company offered them something more competitive that better fits their objectives.

In this competitive market for technology talent, don’t let this happen to you or your company. It can be avoided, not completely, but at least mitigated. Before an offer is presented, make sure you can check all of these boxes off your list:

  1. Did you ask the candidate if they are ready to accept an offer today?
  2. Did you find out at what salary?
  3. Did you confirm whether or not they’d accept at 10 percent less then that target salary?
  4. Did you ask them to speak with their spouse, and have they done that yet?
  5. Did you walk them through a counteroffer scenario from their current company, i.e., are they mentally prepared to tell their boss “no” if he/she offers them more money to stay?
  6. Did you find out about any other interview loops they are engaged in, and the status of those?
  7. Did you explain how your company doesn’t make offers that don’t get accepted, so you need 150 percent assurance that they are going to take whatever offer they tell you they are ready to accept?
  8. Did you request the candidate sign a “letter of intent” to accept an offer at X before you present it?

This may seem extreme. The alternative thinking is to put out your best offer and they either take it, or they don’t — no harm, no foul. But I don’t think it’s that simple. There’s a lot of time, energy, and emotional investment that goes into preparing and presenting an offer … not to mention ego. It hurts to be rejected.

With this methodology, your rate of offer rejections will diminish.

Not to mention, it’s just good form.


1 Comment on “Hopefully You Did These 8 Things With Your Job Candidate

  1. This is an important subject and I’ll give you my perspective as an VP HR and now consultant. Team work particularly important at this stage of acquisition … you might have taken 1,000 leads to end up at the horse race Scott describes. As a recruiter, you have to work closely with the hiring manager and HR person if you have one and work tactically. Scott’s list of questions are part of this tactical approach … have a debrief with the candidate … you are now a coach and this is about their emotional state. Keep contact with them as a hiring team … remember, you probably kept them waiting for days for a decision and it’s your time to now to deal with that anxiety. What do they like/dislike about the role and company? what is their employer saying? Do you have friends who can talk to them? Plan this ahead so you can be ready. Spend time on this … other stuff can wait. Scott is right, this is why you get paid the big bucks. Companies like mine can help with the research, sourcing and workflow but we can’t replace you!!

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *