Posts Tagged ‘job offer’

Getting to “YES” on Job Offers

Tuesday, June 6th, 2017

It used to be that to get a top executive, you figured out what salary you wanted to pay, offered a bonus that might be discretionary, and extended the offer.  The candidate might accept, decline, or counter, and the response was almost always based on the money issues.

Organizational Talent Management experts have learned a lot about candidate motivation, yet offers are still often constructed and extended based on just monetary issues.  Candidate turn-downs are often based on many other factors.

Hidden Concerns:  There are lots of things you can’t legally ask a candidate about, but might be on their mind.  What issues could interfere with a move?  Does the candidate have elderly parents, or kids in high school?  Is the spouse really on board, or being dragged kicking and screaming?  The best way to address these hidden concerns is pre-closing, or testing the offer.  When you float a dollar range, and ask could they accept that, you will often hear, “Well, I’d have to think about it.”  Your next question should be, “What will you be thinking about?” Or, “What issues will you be considering?”  This will surface many of the hidden concerns, which opens the door to further discussion.

Candidate Motivation: “A” Players are rarely motivated by just the money.  Other key motivators include being inspired by your vision, liking your company culture, identifying with the challenges you have laid out for them (performance objectives for the position), feeling they can make an impact, long term potential for growth or equity, etc.  If you take care to find out what really matters to each candidate, and make sure you have painted a picture that incorporates these features, the money becomes secondary.

Offer Components:  There are many components to offers today that can be important to a particular candidate.  Again, it is critical to ask what is really important in the features and benefits you include.  One candidate might find educational reimbursement to be valuable, while another might need flex time.  We had a candidate this year who needed the relocation package to allow much more for temporary living, and much less for cost of home sale, and that required a change in company policy by the new employer!  A key issue for executives today is where they will be permitted to live, with many people wanting to keep their home, and commute twice a month to the job location.  Know what is important, and see if the candidate’s needs can be met.

A key strategy is individualization.  Most companies employ experts that standardize HR policies as much as possible.  Candidates are at their most vulnerable when they make a job change.  Being treated like a person instead of a commodity will win hearts and minds, and get “yeses.”  Last year, I had one candidate for whom the money wasn’t an issue at all – he was taking almost a lateral.  All he wanted was some help getting his wife started on her job search in the new locale.  He was jumping for the opportunity, while she was hesitant, and that’s what it took to win her approval and consent.

The pool of talent will begin to tighten in the recovery, and getting offer acceptance will become an art and science, and you must master both!  As an employer, you need to be creative, intuitive, responsive and willing to customize.

Why Not to Extend a Job Offer Too Soon

Monday, June 5th, 2017

Many employers, correctly seeking to act quickly on a good candidate, put together and extend offers as soon as they decide a candidate is right for them.  The minute the offer is extended, all control moves over to the candidate, and the employer’s ability to influence the decision, or help “close” the candidate is diminished.  An important strategy is to test-close or pre-close the candidate, mostly to surface non-monetary issues.

Indicate that an offer is being put together at level $X, and ask if the candidate would accept an offer “like that.”  Most will say “I’ll have to think about it.”  At that point, the employer or recruiter can ask, “What would you be thinking about,” and begin to dig further into what issues need clarification, what other concerns (beyond the money) are present.  Surprises will surface!  Perhaps the candidate is not fully closed on relocation, or on the counter-offer possibilities.  Maybe the spouse is worried about a new job, aging parents, kids in high school.  Some candidates are concerned with seemingly minor issues, like another week of vacation, or employee share of health insurance, or even how much per pound the moving allowance will be!  By finding out these variables before extending the offer, the employer remains in control of the information flow, can provide meaningful answers, counsel the candidate on the transition process, close sometimes inconsequential gaps, and get the close.

Once the offer is extended, the communication often stops, and the process becomes a poker game.  Candidates will ask for more money, but sometimes hesitate to discuss other meaningful decision points.  Many employers end up unnecessarily increasing the offer, to get a yes, when there are completely different issues at stake.

Take the extra time to find out what is really on the candidate’s mind.  Get the acceptance faster, with less pain, and often at a lower cost.

Employer Insight on Job Offers

Saturday, June 3rd, 2017

There is an old lawyer’s axiom – Never ask a question you don’t already know the answer to. I think this saying also applies to employers extending job offers to management level candidates. I’ve seen too many clients extend offers before they know if the candidate will accept, only to get a turn-down.

Once the offer is extended, the power shifts to the candidate, and often, that is when negotiation begins. The negotiation should be done before the offer is extended. An employer should know whether the offer will be accepted, before they actually give the offer to the candidate. Here is what the employer should know before extending the offer:

  • What other factors will influence acceptance? These could include: benefits, bonus, growth potential, relocation issues, spouse’s job, kids in high school, elderly parents, etc. Dispose of these issues before discussing money, and the money becomes easier to discuss.
  • What are the non-monetary reasons the candidate wants to come to my company, and/or leave his/her current company?
  • What are all the components of the candidate’s current compensation package? Which are important? [Some candidates don’t care about bonuses, and want a higher base; others want the opposite]
  • What amount does the candidate want to work at my company?
  • What is the minimum level at which the candidate will walk away?
  • Would a sign-on bonus (one time payment) substitute for some salary (permanent cost)?

When an employer takes in all the factors and truly understands the candidate’s motivation, then a “test” offer can be given, accompanied by a “trial close.” “If we offered you X, would you accept?” If you get a response “I’d have to think about it”, then you have to discover all the things the candidate would be thinking about, until you get a “yes, I’d accept“. Then the next day, you can extend the offer, and know that you’ll get a yes.