Making an Offer They Can’t Refuse

You’ve finally found the perfect candidate for your role. Now all you have to do is genuinely convince them to sign on the bottom line. How can you ensure they pick your company over others?

A well-considered offer. 

In a time where the battle for top talent is extremely intense, a strong, appealing offer makes all the difference. And we’re sharing our insight into what you need to do, know, understand and demonstrate when putting together a top offer.

Understanding Motivation is Key to Securing Top Talent

Time is of the essence

Once you identify your candidate of choice, do not delay in giving them an offer, particularly if this person brings a unique skill set. If you haven’t seen a lot of candidates to date, moving to the offer at this stage can be difficult. However, it’s wise to follow your instincts. If you believe this is the right candidate and are genuinely are interested in working with them, then snap them up!

It’s not always all about the money

You’ve likely put in a lot of effort to get to this point, so before you start to enter into negotiations, you need two crucial pieces of information: What is the candidate is currently making? And what do they really want to make? You also need to be realistic about the market and industry standards, what the candidate can make and whether or not you have sufficient budget to hire.

While money is a factor, candidates may be motivated by a combination of things: the challenge, increased responsibilities, company culture, the leadership – to name a few. Don’t kid yourself though, just because money may not their main motivation, the reality is the majority of individuals want to see a salary increase when they move. If the candidate is particularly strong, they may have many offers to compare, so yours needs to be as competitive as possible.

Correctly understanding the candidate’s motivation is the crucial element at this stage. Look at their track record and examine how long they’ve been with their current company and explore their reasons for leaving. You might learn that they were genuinely underpaid at their last company and this time, they’re not prepared to sell themselves short. Or you may find they have made a succession of moves purely to increase their bottom line. Again this bottom line focus is not necessarily a bad thing, but it is something to definitely consider when hiring.

Show Them The “Love”

One sure fire way to let the candidate know you’re interested and have a real desire to hire them is to be prompt, courteous and do what you say you’re going to do. A speedy offer letter with simple, welcoming language demonstrates and reinforces your interest. While you want to protect your company legally, wherever possible avoid legal jargon and make the offer letter as welcoming and informative as possible.

Give Them Something to Talk About

Presenting the offer verbally first is a good idea for two reasons:

  • 1. If you anticipate some negotiations, it makes more sense to finalize the details before sending anything in writing.
  • 2. It’s a great opportunity to clarify all the details of the offer, sell the position and company again, and reconnect with the candidate’s interest.

Reinforcing details such as the autonomous nature of the role, the unique culture, opportunities for growth and your onsite wellness facility etc. are important as they factor into the decision-making process.

After you’ve finalized things verbally, you should follow up with a formal letter and any other company.

What Should The Offer Cover?

In all cases, your offer should list the monetary and non-monetary benefits. This is particularly important if you can’t be as competitive as you’d like, yet you have lots of non-monetary benefits to offer.

If applicable, the offer should contain most of the following items:

  • + Job title
  • + Start date
  • + The person who the position reports to
  • + Where the role is located
  • + Base salary / annual compensation
  • + Bonus information: How does the bonus work? (i.e., a percentage of salary, how often it pays out – quarterly, annually, etc. – and whether it’s based on individual performance, company achievements, or a combination of the two.)
  • + Review date
  • + Probationary periods
  • + Entitlement to join company benefit program
  • + Vacation entitlement
  • + Other benefits (RRSP match, pension, stock options, free gym membership, payment of professional membership fees, etc.)

Highlight Additional Perks

If you’re having trouble attracting your candidate of choice, you may wish to consider the following options:

  • + Signing bonus, repayable within 6- 12 months if the candidate leaves within that time frame
  • + Guaranteed first-year bonus
  • + Stock options and employee share plans

Other non-monetary benefits to consider offering include:

  • + Flextime
  • + Telecommuting
  • + Job sharing
  • + Growth, learning and development opportunities
  • + Recognition for innovative thinking in the form of a points program with rewards
  • + Health and fitness programs
  • + Additional days off (e.g., “mental health” or “family sick” days)
  • + Day off for birthday or annual anniversary with the company
  • + Paid sabbatials after a number of years of service
  • + Additional vacation days after a number of years of service
  • + Additional time off/paid trips if employees hit certain targets

Provide a Closing Time

Include an expiration time on the offer to show you would like closure and to prevent a candidate waiting while other companies still continue the courtship dance. Putting a time limit shows that you are serious and professional. Typically 48 to 72 hours from the date of receipt is reasonable.

Be Open to Negotiate

Don’t take it personally or as a sign of disinterest if the candidate wants to negotiate for more dollars. Asking is fine. You’ll either be able to accommodate them or not. It might be the candidate really wants the job, but your offer is lower than a competing offer. If the candidate is in demand, you can be sure they’ll have other offers.

If you do encounter an applicant who seems to be very reluctant to accept your offer, try to find out why. It’s very important to understand both the motivations and the objections to the role. Ignoring the reluctance in favour of buying a candidate who has some serious doubts, could be potentially very damaging in the long run.

Stay Engaged

It’s important to stay in touch with the candidate after they’ve accepted the offer and before they join your organization, especially if they have a longer notice period. If an individual is in very high demand, they’ll continue to receive calls from other interested parties. It doesn’t mean they’ll listen to them, but it’s worth your while to maintain and solidify the connection you have worked so hard to establish.

© Sheila Carney of Vantage Resourcing. Used with permission.



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