The Trials and Tribulations of The Offer
Your candidate just crushed their final interview — heck yeah! You get feedback from the client that they are ready to move to reference checks and the offer stage for your candidate. You did it. Or did you?
Recruiters know the danger of celebrating an offer before the hire is official. It is exciting! You put in hard work to find a candidate that checks all the boxes and made sure both the client and the candidate remained interested throughout the whole process. That deserves a celebration.
However, like others, I have definitely been guilty of jumping the gun in celebrating a “hire” when it was really an offer– just to have the candidate back out. It happens to the best of us, but there are steps we can take to reduce the chance of a candidate walking away from an offer.
First, cover the candidate’s competing offers early. If you’re confident about submitting a candidate over to a hiring manager, check with the candidate on where they are in current interview stages. Ask the candidate how your opportunity stacks up to their competing opportunities. This way, you are prepared to return to the hiring manager with all the information you need to make the interview process successful.
While you’re covering competing offers with the candidate, be sure to explain to them why you are going over this. Some candidates have had bad experiences in the past and do not trust a recruiter with information that they think will be used against them. However, you are using this information to help the candidate. You can leverage the information for higher salary, a quicker interview process, or other perks like working remotely. If the candidate understands that you are on their team, they will be much more likely to be upfront about their competing offers.
Continue to check in with your candidate on competing offers with each call or email you exchange. If you are consistent in checking with your candidate, you reduce the chance of being blindsided by a candidate withdrawal.
That said, consistent communication is important for making sure your candidate stays on the hook through the interview and hiring process. Ideally, you’ll check in with your candidate every two days. This way, the candidate does not feel like you have forgotten about them or lack urgency. You’ll be creating trust with the candidate by keeping them in the loop with every step, even if there is no update from the client. You’ll also be able to check in on any updates on their side.
Once you have created trust with the candidate– ensuring them that you are there to partner with them and be their representative, you’ll be able to negotiate the ideal offer for the candidate. If you lack prior trust by the offer stage, a candidate may not feel as comfortable to ask you to go to bat with what they are actually looking for in a package. This could land you with a candidate who withdraws at the offer stage.
It’s not a guarantee
Even if you take all these steps, sometimes you will still lose a candidate. If you’ve done everything you can to create a trusting relationship with the candidate, stay up to date with their competing offers, and represent them in the offer stage, you’ve done a great job and should still celebrate getting to the offer stage for a role.
While it may feel like a letdown or a bummer, you were able to prove to the client that you can provide them what they are looking for. Moreover, you can take what you learned during the process to find a candidate with a similar profile– both hard and soft skills, moving forward. That way, when you move through the interviewing cycle with a new candidate, you can be confident in who you are presenting and avoid any issues you ran into previously.