You are the one I want!

How to ensure a candidate’s positive response to a job offer & turn it around when an offer is declined.

Right now, with the market being candidate led (i.e. lots of jobs and not as many candidates) we thought we would share some advice and tips to help you secure the very best talent and the candidates you have managed to attract.

As an interviewer, rather than an interviewee, you may find it’s only too easy to sit back and listen to the answers to your questions. But always remember that an interview is a two-way process. When hiring for your team, have you ever come across the scenario where you’ve taken a stand-out candidate through the various, rigorous stages of the recruitment process, only to find that when you get your dream candidate past the final hurdle and offer them the role you’re surprised to hear them say ‘NO’? This can sometimes be because you have failed to impress that candidate and make clear to them that you really want them in your team!

Making it clear to the candidate that they are the one you want is really important, however this should be accompanied by various other elements which combined will be critical in helping the candidate reach a positive response to this very important career decision. A candidate might decline an offer due to the fact that the company has not demonstrated through the interview process just how enthusiastic they are about this person coming on-board, or they may not have outlined the extent of the opportunity that’s on offer.  In order to ensure an affirmative response – a resounding ‘YES’ – from a candidate at offer stage it’s important that the interviewer(s) impress that candidate as much as the candidate impresses the company.

Be mindful of the following points when looking to secure your next chosen candidate:

  1. Never assume a candidate will know they are highly sought after, demonstrate enthusiasm
  2. Make yourself approachable, and open to questions, at whatever stage in the process
  3. Be flexible, and show you will explore options that are in line with what they’re seeking
  4. Encourage them to be transparent about what they’re looking for - it’s far better to find out then and there, rather than discover things are not to your / their liking later down the line
  5. Address your concerns and any concerns they might have, and find solutions where possible
  6. Share information about the company culture, terms & conditions, benefits, training, career development, induction programme
  7. Communicate clearly and professionally – put yourself in their shoes
  8. Make sure the interview process is well defined from the start and stick to it to ensure a smooth and succinct process and avoid delays where ever possible!
  9. Be available - if a further conversation is required to discuss unanswered questions make that happen
  10. Show them your personality, the working culture and environment – you want this person to want to work with you, your team and your company.

Each and every job offer situation is of course very different. If you are finding only too often that you’re failing to secure candidates at offer stage, you need to ask yourself why? Have a think about the above points, and remember that even after an offer has been declined, all is not lost, there is still time for you to impress them. It might be a simple case of the candidate looking to work 8-4 instead of 9-5, in which case, you might find that a solution can be found. Therefore it’s important for you to welcome their questions and make sure you are asking the right questions too at that crucial moment when they do decline so as you can uncover whether there does exist the opportunity to turn it around and make it a ‘YES’.

Communication is so very important at the offer stage, so if the candidate is someone you really, really want, you need to make sure you impress them throughout the stages of the recruitment process (not just at the final stage!) and remember to make your job offer, and your company, stand out against the rest in this highly competitive job market.

Following this advice can get you that acceptance but don’t stop your good work with a ‘YES’! If you are successful in getting your chosen candidate to say ‘YES’, ensure to engage them, congratulate them, follow up with how much the company looks forward to working with them and welcoming them. Perhaps schedule some catch-ups over their notice period so that they are coming into the company warm and engaged.

It goes without saying that all candidates within any given selection process should undergo an equal experience, with a like for like interview structure & technique. If you are looking for guidance or support when interviewing candidates, or to discuss a particular hiring need, don’t hesitate to get in touch. Inspired Selection is the leading publishing recruitment and executive search agency working across the STM, Academic, Professional, Education and Trade publishing sectors. We would be delighted to hear from you!