Don’t Make that Offer! 5 Things Hiring Managers Should Do First

September 24, 2014

Anyone involved in hiring at a startup can agree — the most exciting part of any search is sending out the offer. After all the time and effort you put into finding the right person you’re so close to finally bringing them on board. But now comes the hard part — waiting to hear back and wondering, will the candidate accept?

Ultimately, that final decision may be out of your hands, but with the proper preparation you can set yourself up to make the most compelling offer possible. Here are a few points to make sure you’ve ticked all the boxes on managing the offer process from start to finish.

1) Get All the Details Regarding Their Current Compensation

Make sure you’ve discussed more than just base salary. You need to dig deeper to to know exactly what you’re up against and what you’re expected to bring to the table. Details include:

  • base salary
  • bonus variable
  • bonus payout schedule and how much has been seen
  • stock options or RSU’s
  • 401k match
  • any other added incentives (cell phone, car allowance, etc.)

It may be obvious to suggest, but no one wants to come down to offer stage and find out that Joe Candidate has a tuition reimbursement plan that he will owe money on if he leaves the company before a certain date.

2) Clarify What the Candidate’s Priorities Are

Remember, this hire is only as sound as the alignment between you and the candidate. Knowing your candidate’s priorities and what they’re looking for in their next position — job title, money, growth – will help you understand how realistic their expectations will be for a potential offer.

3) Confirm the Salary is Within Your Budget

If the candidate is looking for a salary that is slightly above your budget, you need to be aware of that at the beginning of the process.

4) Gauge How Passionate the Candidate Truly is About the Opportunity

Does the candidate have a genuine interest in your company? Does s/he feel in sync with your vision for the role? Is s/he pursuing any other opportunities? These are all important questions to ask. If you sense lukewarm enthusiasm, you will be fighting an uphill battle to make your offer connect.

5) Always Be Wary of a Counteroffer

This is arguably the most important thing for startup hiring managers to keep in mind. Sure, the candidate may be thrilled about this new opportunity, but have you challenged them to think about their current situation? The most important question you can ask is this: “Is there anything your current company can do to keep you?”
You need to know how difficult it will be for them to give notice, how shocked and upset their current manager will be, and whether your candidate will be enticed by a lucrative counteroffer. Unfortunately, counteroffers are the norm these days, so educating your candidate on the reasons not to accept a counteroffer will be in your favor.

Making Offers Candidates Can’t Refuse

Armed with these friendly reminders, you can approach each offer you make with confidence that you’ve done your homework and prep. For more tips on extending persuasive job offers, see this quick guide.

Free Guide to Recruiting and Hiring the Best Startup Talent

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Technical Recruiter

<strong>Rose O'Connell</strong> is a technical recruiter at <a href="">AthenaHealth</a>. She was previously a Talent Specialist with OpenView.