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Navigating the Offer Stage

February 13, 2024

Congrats on reaching this stage! If you’re here, that means you found a candidate you’re excited about – and want to work with. However, there’s more that goes into an offer than coming up with a salary number and sending your candidate a letter. Below are five of our top tips for navigating the offer stage with a candidate.

1. Give your candidates a call (or ask your recruiter or talent partner to) in order to share the news. It’s always a good idea to extend the news as warmly as possible – you want to convey your enthusiasm for your candidate! A phone call to let them know you’re sending over an offer letter is usually appreciated. Plus, your candidates may not be checking their personal emails everyday if they’re currently working or may be on vacation – but they’ll usually have their phones with them.

2. Try to give candidates as much time to consider the offer, without impacting your hiring timelines. If you’ve been interviewing a candidate for three and a half weeks, try to give your candidate at least a few days to review your offer letter and respond. Remember – they’ve invested their time in interviewing with you too, and deserve time to reflect on the role, compensation, or any other consideration they may have. Pressuring a candidate for an immediate decision can lead to resentment or a declined offer.

3. Don’t be caught off guard by negotiations. Hopefully, by this point, you’ve already covered compensation and salary, and have a ballpark package in mind for what your candidate will accept. However, top candidates always advocate for themselves to receive top offers, or more equity.

If a candidate does want to negotiate, start by acknowledging that the best negotiations are those where both parties feel valued and understood. Candidates are not just looking for a good salary; they're looking for opportunities for growth, work-life balance, and a role that aligns with their career goals. Understanding these motivations can guide you in crafting an offer that appeals to the candidate beyond just the financial aspects.

4. Be open to creative solutions. If salary negotiations reach a standstill, explore other areas where you can offer value. Flexibility in work hours, remote work options, additional vacation days, professional development opportunities, or even a signing bonus can be attractive to candidates. These alternatives can often bridge the gap between the candidate's expectations and your budget limitations.

5. Let your candidates know what their trajectory could be like at your company. A successful negotiation doesn't end with acceptance. Discuss and outline potential paths for growth and development within the company. For example, if you’re hiring a Product Manager, do you see this role growing as the company grows and turning into a Director of Product Management in a couple years? That’s a great piece of information for a candidate who wants to  Or do you see this role moving into larger projects over time, Showing candidates that there's a clear trajectory for advancement can turn an initial job offer into a long-term career opportunity.

Potential red flags to look for during negotiation

While it’s rare for an offer to be revoked (even if candidates are trying to negotiate), there are definitely some red flags that may come up during the offer stage, such as:

Negative or overly critical questions. If a candidate is aggressively inquiring about past employee conflicts, controversies, or negative press (unless they’re framing it constructively), this can be a red flag. For example, if the company was recently acquired and the acquisition received some negative press, it’s okay for them to ask if the acquisition will impact them. But if they come across as weary of other issues, this is something you may want to address with them head on before signing the offer.

Questions that have already been answered. This may seem obvious, but employees who ask a lot of questions that are clearly addressed in the job offer, employment contract, or accompanying documents may be a red flag. This may indicate a lack of attention to detail, and that you’re not spending time seriously reviewing your offer.

Questions about severance or exiting a company. It’s understandable that layoffs are top of mind for many people, especially with the amount of press coverage they receive. But if your candidate comes across as seriously concerned about their ability to effectively complete the tasks of your new job, this may be a red flag.

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