You’ve found the perfect person – now how do you bring them on board?

You’ve come this far –  convinced the CEO to sign off  recruitment budget, done at least 3 jobs while you wait for the new person to join,  interviewed candidates at the crack of dawn or in an empty office after everyone else has gone home,  sat through the presentations,  and found the perfect person.  Hooray!  Now how are you going to maximise your chances of your Offer of Employment being accepted? Read on.

1. Move quickly.

If you’ve made a decision, why wait? Time is always your enemy in recruiting and remember exceptional talent is more than likely to have more than one “suitor”. Always contact the selected candidate within a day or two of the final interview at most.  Show how keen you are to welcome them to the team. Now is not the time to play it cool.  And don’t leave the door ajar for another company to get to them any longer than necessary.

2. Make a verbal offer -always call.

Never, ever make an initial offer to a candidate either directly or via your recruitment consultant by email only.  This is not the way to maximise your success. This is an offer of employment with your company – if you can’t be bothered to pick up the phone why should they be bothered to join you? In addition you will waste valuable time by emailing backwards and forwards when a 10 minute conversation would have done.

3. Be enthusiastic.

Remember, the employer-employee relationship doesn’t start the first day on the job. It officially starts with the job offer. Make that moment memorable for the candidate and explain why you think she is right for the job and why she should join your company. What will be the benefits now? And in 2-5 years time? Be available for candidates to get back to you with questions if necessary. Spend time on making them feel that the relationship they will have with you and your company will be better than the one they have with their existing employer.    Who may well  now be your competitor for this person once they hand in their notice…..Remember you are possibly about to go head to head with one of the same companies you meet on new business pitches.  You know you are the best choice –start proving it.

5. Show them the money.

Hopefully you will have a good idea of the candidate’s salary expectations by this stage. Wherever possible you should meet these expectations – if they are unrealistic that should have been identified before getting to this stage so that they are aware of it (and therefore not disappointed by the offer).  It’s not like buying a house where you put in a “cheeky bid” and then work up…..A candidate may feel personally insulted by a low offer and its sets off warning bells about how much you really want them.

Explain pay and benefits as thoroughly and accurately as possible. Describe the base salary, how any bonus plans work, provide a fairly thorough overview of health and other benefits, and describe any other perks.

7. Follow up in writing.

Then put everything in an email or letter. Include all elements of the offer: job title, base salary, benefits , holidays, perks, etc.

Identify how long the offer is open for.

Aim to get their verbal and then written commitment as soon as possible.

8. The counter offer

This may come from another company OR their current employer.   To try and preempt the latter,  talk to them about what their reaction would be in advance e.g. Talk about how it will feel giving notice:  “How will your boss react?” “Have you thought about what l your response will  be if they offer you more money?”

Don’t just dismiss the competition if the candidate wants time to weigh up more than one option  – find out the details of why they are considering any other offer and then having identified why it is of interest to them point out the benefits of yours in the same areas – there may well  be something you can do at this point to make your offer more attractive (not just financially but in other ways too).

Remember the candidate is going through a stressful time at this point – be professional and be their friend.

9. Agree a start date and stick to it.

And invite them to any company social activities before they start – keep working on that relationship building.   Unless your company social activities are too debauched to risk inviting them until they are under contract…! In which case maybe wait until you think they are ready for the wild rumpus to begin….

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Claire Griffin on LinkedIn