The job offer is a conversation

that starts before an offer letter is issued.

If you’re looking to increase offer acceptance rates, remember to check for candidate concerns, identify decision influences and confirm salary expectations before putting forward an offer.

Candidate concerns

It’s normal for candidates to have a few concerns. However, if there are major concerns, then you have to work to alleviate them before making an offer. For instance, if a candidate is concerned that the job doesn’t have a clear reporting structure, you could walk them through the organisation structure or schedule a quick call with the hiring manager who might be able to reassure the candidate.

Decision influencers

Accepting a new job is a big life decision and candidates typically consult with their family, friends or mentors before accepting. Find out who the candidate looks to for advice and enquire about how they feel about the job opportunity at your organisation.

If a candidate’s spouse is worried about longer working hours or a candidate’s mentor is worried about long term career progression, this is your chance to provide information to address their concerns.

Competing offers

Good candidates usually have multiple offers on the table when they decide to move jobs. Get more information on how your candidates are evaluating their offers. What are their priorities and which offers are they seriously considering. Also gauge to see how they would ranks your offer compared to the other offers they have received.

Salary expectations

Always discuss salary expectations upfront. If your salary budget is lower than the candidate’s expectation, be upfront about it. Check to see if your budget is something your candidate would seriously consider. If it’s clear that your candidate won’t be agreeable to your budget, you’ll need to find out what their minimum expectations are to see if you might be able to match it.

This conversation also offers you the opportunity to elaborate on additional benefits and perks you offer.

Pre-close

Once you have all the details about concerns, influencers, competing offers and salary expectations you should have enough information to gauge whether a candidate is going to accept your offer.

At this stage you should try and pre-close your candidate. The pre-close is a hypothetical question about whether a candidate would accept a job offer from your organisation.

For instance, you could ask “If we offered you the position of (JOB TITLE) at our company with a package of (SALARY), would you accept?”

You’re not looking for the candidate to officially accept. Instead, you’re using the pre-close question to gauge if they candidate is ‘likely' to accept.

Ideally, you’d like the candidate to answer, “Sure, that sounds good but I’ll just need to sleep on it before officially accepting”.

If a candidate answers, “Hmm, I’m not sure, I’ll let you know once I get the offer” you know there’s a chance the offer might be rejected. You can choose to probe further about their concerns to see if you can modify your pre-close offer to sweeten the deal.

Always have the conversation

Sometimes, it may feel like the job offer conversation is unnecessary. You might have a candidate that seems really excited about the opportunity and who you feel would definitely accept an offer.

Still… have the conversation.

Never assume and don’t take things for granted. Even candidates who appear really interested may have potential competing offers or may have salary expectations they assumed you were aware of.

Make the job offer conversation a part of your recruitment process and you’ll be able to avoid unnecessary job offer rejections.

Navin Muruga