I find it incredible at how impersonal and non-candidate centric businesses can be when it comes to making job offers, to potential new employees. You would think that businesses would be doing all they can to ensure a positive candidate experience at this stage of the hiring process to successfully recruit their preferred candidate. But the truth is, candidate experience is often the last thing on many businesses minds when it comes to making a job offer. This of course leads to negative experiences and offers being turned down. It is a leading cause of why most businesses consider it a success if only 10% of job offers are rejected. However, by ensuring your process is set up to deliver a positive experience, you can get this formal offer acceptance rate up to 100%.

Be transparent at the start of the process

One of the biggest frustrations of job applicants is receiving an offer lower than their current pay. I once had a client who are one of the biggest companies in the world, they employ over 500,000 people globally. Yet, they were having almost one-third of their job offers turned down and they could not work out why this what happening. They had spent years trying to work it out. I ended up solving the problem for them in 15 minutes. They were not communicating the budget of the role at the beginning of the process or asking their applicants about their salary expectations. So, job applicants were going through an entire process without them knowing what the role paid, or the company knowing what the applicant was expecting.

The reason they could not see what the problem was, is because they were looking at things from an internal process perspective, not the applicant’s perspective. Their offer calculation process was flawless – it is one of the best ways I have ever seen to assess how much a person should be paid in relation to the budget of the role. But that was irrelevant. They could have the best offer calculation process in the world, but if you are interviewing people who are paid more than the budget for the role and want even more, it just doesnt matter. They are never going to accept the offer, because its less than they are currently paid, and even less than they desire. If they had disclosed the budget at the beginning the applicant would have declined the interview. 

Re-confirming expectations throughout the process

This transparency around budgets and salary expectations should be continued throughout the interview process. After every interview, in addition to providing feedback to the applicant and getting their feedback on the role, the talent acquisition team should be re-confirming the applicants level of interest along with confirmation their expectations remain aligned to the budget of the position. If a job applicant is consistently changing their expectations, or has a change in circumstance during the process, the application should be withdrawn if it no longer aligns to the budget of the role. Providing there are no changes in expectations, there should be no surprises when it comes to making an offer at the end of the interview process. Everyone should know where they stand.

Have an informal discussion first

Once a company gets to the point of making an offer, due to the consistent conversations about budget and expectations during the hiring process, the approved offer amount should make for a simple conversation. Either the amount approved is equal to, below, or above the candidate’s expectations and this will be self-evident. So, once the amount is confirmed, the talent acquisition team should call the candidate to explain what the offer is likely to be based on the assessment, and how the company have arrived at that amount. Unless you have an extremely poor HR and Management team that just pick random numbers to make an offer, there should be a very clear assessment and detailed explanation as to why the offer is what it is going to be. If the applicant disputes this, you should not waste their time or yours with a formal offer, and instead move on to the second-choice applicant. If you have made a fair offer, there should be no room for negotiation, as the offer you will have made is the correct number. Likewise, if the job applicant gets greedy and decides to increase their expectations at the last minute, you also know that the applicant lacks integrity and should refuse to move forward.

Release the formal offer

Finally, once everything is aligned, you should only then release the formal offer. You should also arrange a time to follow up and discuss the contract, specifically the non-salary parts of the contract. Many employment contracts do not go into details about health insurance, pension plans, flexible working entitlements and the like. So, it is always helpful to have a call or meeting with the applicant to ensure they have a full understanding of all the additional benefits and clarify any other points. If you have done all this right, you should very rarely have an offer turned down. The candidate will know that the offer is fair and transparent, and aligned to their expectations, and that the company if ethical and employee orientated.  

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