For Hiring Teams:
A Recruiting Director’s Tips for Delivering an Offer
Sabrina Deltoro, Founder & Recruiting Director
Delson Talent Consulting
January 24, 2023
As a Recruiting Director at Delson Talent, I’ve given hundreds (possibly thousands) of offers, and in turn, I’ve coached hundreds of hiring managers. As you may know, finding the right candidate can take weeks, if not months, and no one wants to go through the entire vetting process, just to lose the candidate at the end of the process over compensation. If a candidate rejects your offer, it can take weeks to close a different candidate, or you might have to start the whole process over again. Once the offer is signed, on-boarding (which can take weeks if not months!) can begin, and you’re one step closer to delivering on the work the role requires. If you’re new to the hiring manager role, or you’ve been struggling with closing, read on for tips on how to give an offer that will get accepted.
BE CLEAR AND UPFRONT ABOUT THE SALARY AND BENEFITS
Starting from the first phone call, candidates will likely have questions about the specifics of the compensation package and the logistics of the role, so it is important to be transparent and clear in your communication when communicating this part of the offer. Provide a detailed breakdown of the salary, bonuses, benefits, and other perks that are included in the offer. Be prepared to provide salary range data or industry benchmarks to support your offer (although you may not need to use these). Additionally, be prepared to talk through the equity offered: how it vests, what it costs (aka the strike price), what its current value is, and what the company expects the future value to be at liquidity.
NEGOTIATE IN GOOD FAITH
It’s important to know up front what you’re able to be flexible on and what is set in stone, so you don’t mislead the candidate. Candidates may have specific concerns or requests that are not easily addressed in the initial job offer. For example, they may ask for a flexible work schedule, remote work flexibility, or additional vacation time. If your company has a strict in person policy, the candidate should know about it up front. Be prepared to discuss your company’s policies and accommodations process at a high level. Proceed with caution - the Americans With Disabilities Act has protections for disabled people, and a covered accommodation might include working remotely. Connect the candidate with someone in HR if they have more questions before making their decision, instead of promising something that might not be possible or declining a request that might actually be feasible.
COMMUNICATE THE VALUE OF THE OFFER
In addition to the salary and benefits, it is important to emphasize the other value that the company can offer to the candidate. You’re likely not the only company they’re exploring, but there’s a reason they agreed to interview with you. Find out what matters most to the candidate, and be prepared to speak to how your position fits in with what the candidate wants. Think outside of the bread and butter benefits; let them know about a recent professional development opportunity for someone on your team, how your team’s work is recognized at all team meetings, and ways you think this person will have an impact. If you have clean career ladders or a career matrix, now would be the time to mention how they could get promoted to the next level, or when they would next be eligible for a promotion or pay increase.
CONSIDER ANY RECENT RIFs YOUR COMPANY HAS GONE THROUGH
If your company has recently gone through a reduction in force, a candidate may ask about it. My recommendation is to answer honestly, that no hiring manager can promise you 100% security, no matter what the role or company. Explain why you joined the company, why you stay/what you love about the company, and what you’re excited about in the company’s five-year plan. Reiterate the role this person will play in executing on the company roadmap and strategic plan.
BE READY FOR NEGOTIATION
Sometimes when you give an offer, a candidate will ask for higher base right away and will be willing to take less equity. Before going into an offer call, check to see if you can gain approval from HR/ your manager in case a candidate asks to go up base, so you can be prepared with the impact to equity. Ask about sign on bonus flexibility as well to see what your options are here; this can be a good route to go to get the candidate to the first year total cash comp they are looking for. If your manager comes back to you and says there isn’t room to budge on either front, take this as an opportunity to build trust with the candidate. Acknowledge that while any pre-IPO stock is valued with an estimate, it’s not possible to see into the future to know what date it will have that value, and it’s always possible that it could end up being valued higher than expected upon liquidity. Most employers offer stock as part of the compensation package, so employees have a stake in the game. If they do a good job, and the business is successful, they will see that in the eventual stock price when that day comes. Bring solid talking points about your company's value, in the market, to show the potential.
GIVE A DEADLINE TO ACCEPT
While the candidate is likely very excited about your opportunity, keep in mind they are likely actively interviewing elsewhere. Give a deadline for acceptance of no less than two days, and no more than one week. Too little time sends the wrong message, and too much time gives the opportunity for the candidate to either change their mind, or use your offer as a bargaining chip for a different opportunity. One week gives the candidate time to consider the offer, speak to the people they are closest to, and come back and negotiate, if need be.
FOLLOW UP WITH THE CANDIDATE
After extending the job offer, it is important to follow up with the candidate to ensure that they have all the information they need to make an informed decision. This may include answering any additional questions they may have or providing additional materials, such as a company handbook, paid company holiday dates or employee benefits information.
Overall, the key to successfully giving a job offer to a candidate is to be clear, transparent, and respectful in your communication. At the end of the day, what sets up an easy offer call is aligning clearly with the candidate on expectations from the start, and checking in frequently to see if anything changes. If the end result of the call is that the candidate will think on it and get back to you, give them their space, and rally your team to reach out and help make them feel excited about accepting an offer with your company. It’s helpful to show that the whole team is excited about them joining, and give a little bit of a taste of the camaraderie on your team.