As you interview numerous candidates for an open position, it can be easy to forget that candidates have power, too. This becomes even more obvious when you offer someone a job, and your offer is declined. Prevent such situations by never assuming that job offers will automatically be accepted. You do not know what a candidate is dealing with. Perhaps she wants to use the offer to get a salary raise at her current job, for example. Ask five questions as part of the multilayered process of making a job offer, and you are in good position to extend job offers that will, indeed, be accepted.
Question 1: If You Decide to Stay with Your Current Employer, How Do You Plan to Progress in Your Career?
Ask this question of all candidates during the interview stage, and be sure to also get an idea of how long it would take the candidate to get to the next step in her career. The career progression question is important because it gives you an idea whether the applicant might accept a counter-offer from her current employer. You also get insight into how much the applicant values the potential of her present job.
Question 2: Please Remind Me Why Accepting a Job Offer Here Would Help You Progress in Your Career.
Ask this question and the three that follow when you are ready to go about making a job offer. Reference checking, background screening and other pre-offer procedures should be complete. You could call the candidate to ask the questions or do it through email. Whatever medium you use, the benefit for asking again about career progression remains the same: the candidate must assess the value of a potential job offer and what she stands to gain from working at your company.
Question 3: Suppose We Extended You a Job Offer. By When Would You Be Able to Accept or Reject It?
After making a job offer, a short waiting period, say 24 hours, is reasonable. Of course, your dream situation would be for a candidate to reply to Question 3 with, ïI would be able to accept right away.ï If a candidate answers that she would need more than a day, then proceed with caution. Such a delay is a warning sign that she is comparing offers from other companies or plans to use your offer to leverage her current position. It’s fine to ask a follow-up question for more information. For example, ïWe would like job offers to be accepted or rejected within 24 hours. Is there anything we could do to clarify the decision for you?ï
Question 4: If We Did Make a Job Offer, When Would You Be Able to Start? How Much Notice Would You Plan to Give Your Employer?
The rule of thumb after making a job offer that is accepted: any employee who leaves should give two weeks to her employer. Some employees also want an extra week to take a breather in between jobs. So, starting two to three weeks from the offer acceptance date is reasonable. On the other hand, starting five or six weeks later is not. If you get an answer along these lines, you should ask for clarification. For example, ïWe should clarify that we are hoping for someone to start within three or four weeks. It’s possible that we could wait longer for folks who need to wrap up really critical work or complex projects. Is that the case with you?ï If you forget to ask this question, you open yourself up to the risk of a job applicant going for a counteroffer.
Question 5: We Discussed a Possible Starting Salary of $[Dollar Amount Here]. Would You Still Accept a Job Offer with That Salary?
A few things first before discussing this question. Ideally, your business already has fair compensation policies and practices in place. Doing so is ethical and ensures everyone is treated justly. In addition, you should already have discussed salary. The job posting, for instance, should have mentioned a salary ballpark at least, and the candidate’s application materials may have touched on the issue. It’s also possible that salary was discussed in interviews. In fact, it’s necessary to have discussed salary beforehand. It makes no sense to expend immense amounts of time and resources on interviews, contacting references, background checks and the like, and have no idea where each of you stands as far as salary and compensation goes. So, the aim of this question is to remind the candidate of the figure you discussed beforehand and to get an idea of if it is a deal beaker for her at this point. As you go about making a job offer and exploring how to bring all-star hires on board, turn to the resources here at Mighty Recruiter.