Convincing A Candidate To Accept Your Final Offer
By Mark Swartz
Canadian Workplace Specialist
Has a candidate ever made you sweat by hesitating on your final job offer? It’s a nail biter because if they turn you down, you’ll have some difficult explaining to do.
Also you’ll need to dip back into the candidate pool. Hopefully your second and third choices are still available. If not, you may be forced to start the recruiting cycle all over again. And repeat the negotiations. That’s costly and time consuming.
So how do you get your candidate of choice to accept the final offer you’ve made them?
Know Your Candidate
During the interview and negotiating process you’ve gotten to know this job seeker. They’ve told you about themselves little by little.
This is your opportunity to build on that knowledge. Have a brief conversation with the candidate at this point. Ask them if there’s a particular reason they are hesitating on your offer.
If they choose to answer honestly, you can address the issue directly. Keep in mind the candidate’s priorities and try to work something out that’s mutually agreeable.
But the candidate may not wish to give you specifics. Possibly they’re discreetly entertaining other offers. Or aren’t sure if they should really leave their current employer.
In that case you’re going to have to sell your candidate on why they should accept your offer – or else you risk losing them. Depending on the candidate’s needs you could do any of the following.
Sell The Opportunity
At some point in an interview you asked the candidate why this opportunity appeals to them. Did you listen carefully to the answer? Because now’s the time to recall what they said.
Focus on how well the job fits in with the candidate’s expressed goals. This could include room for promotion, leaderhip prospects, a better title, or exposure to new technologies and methods.
Talk Up Your Company
There are reasons the candidate applied directly to your company. Remind them of these now. Is it your reputation? The way you’re known to treat employees?
Some employers create a corporate culture that’s exceptional. Others take a leadership position in research, technology, being first to market. Which of these appeal most to the candidate?
Publicize Your People
In most cases employees don’t leave companies, they leave bosses. That’s why you should play up how great it will be to work under their new hiring manager, and interact with top notch colleagues.
Don’t just use your own words: invite the candidate to meet again with your people if need be. And provide true stories of how your employees have thrived in their careers with you.
Show Them They’re Welcome
A candidate may be wavering due to not wanting to leave the comfort zone of their current job. They know many of the other people and feel part of a team.
You can prove that the candidate will be welcome here as well. Have some of your team members call the candidate and say how excited they are to start working together. Include the CEO: nothing says “you’re welcome here” like the big boss telling you personally.
Boast About The Benefits
You may not be able to pay the highest salary or provide the best financial benefits. However the candidate wouldn’t have come this far with you if it weren’t for your other offerings.
Flexible scheduling. Being closer to home. More weeks of holiday. Play up how you compare to the competition in terms of these softer (but potentially very important) benefits.
Persuade But Don’t Push
There’s a delicate line between gentle prodding and applying pressure. Pointing out the good points, and realities, of working for your company can help the candidate reach a conclusion sooner.
Avoid giving the candidate an ultimatum. Instead you can suggest that if you don’t hear back from the them by a certain day and time with their acceptance, you’ll assume they’ve decided to explore alternative employment.
But if you have to push hard and the candidate is still on the fence come decision day, you have to ask yourself if it’s worth the effort. Going overboard to convince them to join you could backfire. They’re hesitating for a reason.
If you’ve done your best to satisfy their concerns you shouldn’t force their hand to say “yes.” Otherwise you could be getting someone who is only half-committed.