Not every entrepreneur is a born recruiter, but hiring the right people is essential to making your business a success. And identifying great candidates is only part of the problem. Once you’ve found them, you’ve got to get them through the door.
So you’ve done the work of attracting great applicants, and choosing a future company star to add to your team. Now you’re ready to make an offer. You’re on the goal line—don’t blow it!
Here are nine tips for presenting a job offer to your preferred candidate.
1. DO IT IN PERSON
Would you ever email an important proposal to a potential client, and leave it at that? Of course not. You need to be able to guide them through it and answer any questions they may have. Use the same philosophy when closing the deal with a future employee. Book a time to go through the offer in-person, and if that’s not possible at least make sure you can discuss it over the phone. Don’t rely on a document to do your talking for you.
2. DO IT FAST
Once you know you’ve got the right person for the job, present your offer within 48 hours. The longer you wait the more time you give other companies to provide competing offers, and the less likely you are to close. Anticipate in advance any approvals that are needed to send out an offer to avoid candidate frustration and tap-dancing.
3. DO IT YOURSELF
While it is sometimes more convenient to have an HR person or external recruitment partner present the offer, the manager the candidate will be reporting to is much more likely to get a verbal acceptance on the spot. Delivering the offer yourself is also a great opportunity to build the trust and rapport needed for a great long-term working relationship. If it’s a sales role, the sales manager is also best equipped to answer any last-minute questions the candidate may have about commissions, quotas and expectations.
4. DO IT WITH ENTHUSIASM
Taking a job at your company is a big and exciting decision for the candidate, so you need to show that it is just as important and momentous for you. You are not an accountant presenting a spreadsheet—you are an entrepreneur presenting a life-changing opportunity. Make sure they feel that.
5. DON’T BASE IT ON CURRENT COMPENSATION
You are not competing with the candidate’s current employer—the fact that they’re entertaining your offer at all suggests they’ve already decided to leave. Rather, you’re competing with market demand for this individual’s talent. While a 10–15% bump should typically be enough to get them to sign, make sure you consider what else is in the market for them.
6. PAINT THE BIG PICTURE
Along with a salary and commissions, your presentation should address the goals of the business, the culture of the company, the leadership they will benefit from, any unique and exciting perks, and how you plan to equip them for short and long-term success.
7. PREPARE THEM TO EXPECT (AND REJECT) A COUNTER-OFFER
Great employees typically already have jobs, and will often be financially encouraged to reconsider leaving. You do not want to get into a bidding war with your candidate’s current employer, so prepare your candidate for the likelihood of a counter-offer and empathize with the emotional struggle of leaving their current boss, colleagues and clients. If it feels like more than a financial transaction, they’re less likely to be drawn by the money they’re being offered to stay.
8. STAY IN TOUCH
The deal is not closed until the day they start work, so keep up a high-touch program of communication after the offer is signed to ensure nothing else comes along to distract them.
9. SET A DEADLINE
Two days should be enough, but never offer more than five. Extend your deadline if you want, but only once. Once the clock expires, move on no matter what—if they haven’t accepted by now, they’re just not that into you.
Sonya Meloff and Jamie Scarborough are the co-founders of Sales Talent Agency, Canada’s largest sales recruitment company and #181 on the PROFIT 500 Ranking of Canada’s Fastest Growing Companies in 2014. Meloff was on the PROFIT/Chatelaine W100 ranking of Canada’s Top Female Entrepreneurs in 2010, 2011, 2013, 2014 and 2015. Scarborough is an accomplished sales leader and speaker specializing in how companies find, attract, choose and equip sales talent.
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