Job Offer or Job Awful?… Mistakes Companies Make
By Steve Margalit, FPC Recruitment Training Consultant
You’ve done a great job attracting top talent to consider your company for employment. You’ve had a stellar interview process thus far, but you still have one major hurdle to clear in order to finalize and complete the process…get an accepted offer. We’re living in a highly competitive market for top talent. The margin for error is very narrow; it only takes one slip up to cost you your choice candidate. It’s extremely important to set your ego (“Does Your Company Have an Ego Problem?”) aside and realize that your job opportunity is not the only one out there under consideration for your candidate. So how can you cross the finish line without stumbling? At FPC National, we sit at the center of over 60 offices and nearly 200 recruiters around the country. We have a large sample size of offers and placements from which we have identified some common themes on where the offer process has gone awry. Here are a few items to consider as you stride toward the finish line.
The number one culprit derailing your hiring process is time. Momentum plays a big role in the success of this process. It’s important to capitalize on that and ride the wave. The longer the process takes, the higher the probability your candidate will lose interest, or get another offer. One thing is certain…TIME KILLS ALL DEALS! Managing your own timeline along with all of the candidates under consideration can be a daunting task. An executive recruiter can be an invaluable asset in assisting you throughout the process. A good recruiter has in-depth conversations with the candidate during their search and they gain unique insight by extracting information unlikely to be uncovered in a formal interview.
Lack of Vision
Another factor that affects the successful acceptance of an offer is a lack of vision. Top candidates (the ones you WANT to hire), need to see a plan, both short and long term, for their place on the team. As a hiring manager, you may think you know what YOU want, but are you really listening to what the candidate wants? What is in it for them? If you consider the competitive environment for top talent, you understand that candidates need to be courted and enticed with the belief that the future is brighter at your company than it is in their current role. Keep in mind, if you are inflexible and are simply waiting for candidates to gravitate to you, you can guarantee one of your competitors will take them right out from underneath you.
The biggest undercurrent in this economic environment is LOW UNEMPLOYMENT (this is great for individuals, but it significantly raises the bar for companies that are looking to hire). It also means that it is highly likely that the top candidates under consideration for your position are currently employed and have options. Once you’ve checked all of the boxes by interviewing the candidate for qualifications and applicable skills, vetting their desire to join the team, testing for chemistry and fit, it is imperative that you bring a competitive offer to the table to seal the deal. Ask your executive recruiter to help manage the candidates’ expectations and help you to put together an acceptable offer without ruining chemistry through a potentially messy negotiation.
Now that the offer is delivered, how can you get your choice candidate to commit and accept? My recommendation is to put a reasonable expiration date on the offer, or it becomes a case of the tail wagging the dog. Without an expiration date, you run the risk of losing all control of the process at the most critical time. The terms of this deadline can be very simple. For example, if the offer is made on a Monday or Tuesday, set the deadline for Friday. If the offer is made on a Wednesday, Thursday or Friday, the candidate will need to make a decision by Monday. You will quickly learn about your candidate’s commitment, or lack thereof, with each passing day the offer goes unaccepted. If you do not set those terms for the candidate you allow them to shop the offer to their own company in the hopes of receiving a counteroffer, or even worse, they can shop it to your competitors in the hopes of a better package. Lastly, without a deadline you risk losing your number two and three backup candidates – immediately taking you back to square one.
Be objective. Be self-aware. Understand that you are not the only game in town; competition for top talent is always high. Please let us know how we can help.
FPC is an executive search firm comprised of over 60 offices nationwide that specialize in placing middle and executive management professionals. FPC National surveys professionals to gain better insights on workplace and job hunting trends.