Closing the Deal: Make an Offer They Can’t Refuse

You’ve screened and interviewed candidates, checked references, and now you’re ready to make someone a job offer. What do you need to do to seal the deal?

In a competitive job market, simply offering someone a job hardly guarantees that the person will take it. This phase of the recruiting process can be the most complex.

You’ve got to manage salary and benefit negotiations, demonstrate your professionalism, and promote the opportunities your company provides. In other words, it’s not just about choosing the best, but making sure the best want to choose you too.

Act Quickly

Any delay in making an offer can cause you to lose the best applicant. Close the deal fast. A speedy job offer demonstrates your desire to have this person join your company. It shows you think quickly and respect the candidate’s time. Long, drawn-out recruiting, on the other hand, may give a candidate the impression that you’re unable to make up your mind. That’s not the type of organization someone wants to join.

Make a Competitive Offer

Before entering negotiations, get the lowdown on ongoing salary trends. Any offer you make should be fair to the candidate and in line with the standards of your industry and your company. Review recent postings on to get a handle on what similar companies are offering in terms of salary and benefits. Sites such as can help you learn about compensation-related trends and best practices. Your trade/professional association also may conduct regular salary surveys.

Be Creative in Your Compensation

Many small employers find it difficult to compete on salary alone. When you can’t offer a high starting salary, consider other financial incentives, such as stock options, profit sharing and signing bonuses. More and more candidates, especially those who want to work for smaller companies, can be enticed with “lifestyle” benefits that help them balance work and life, such as flex-time and telework opportunities.

Say It and Write It

It’s generally best to make an offer in person; you’re able to explain all aspects of your salary and benefits package, while the candidate can ask any questions. Avoid misunderstandings by
formalizing your job offer in writing.

Along with starting salary, include additional details such as job title, job responsibilities, location, etc. Be careful not to imply more than you are sure you can deliver; for instance, statements that allude to job security can be interpreted as a “promise” of job security, making it difficult to let go of someone who doesn’t work out.

Pump Up Your Business

Presenting an offer is the time to promote the benefits of working for your company. Highlight why someone should come to work for your business. It could be anything, like cutting-edge opportunities, new chances for advancement, staff recognition and bonus programs, or your unique corporate culture.

Demonstrate how your business is a match to the candidate’s life and lifestyle. This is your opportunity to make the candidate feel good about coming to work for you.

Know When to Stop

Not every candidate is going to jump at your offer. Some candidates may appear reluctant as a negotiating ploy, thinking their hesitation will encourage you to make a stronger offer. Others may be unsure that the job is a good match. Try to discover the source of the indecision. If a candidate is looking for a greater salary, determine if it aligns with the person’s potential contribution.

Similarly, pleading your case to a candidate with serious reservations could backfire when the person has second thoughts and jumps ship after only a few months.