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How to make an offer a Candidate will love

Kate Allen, Managing Director, Allen Associates

Having narrowed your search from a pool of hopefuls to the most promising Candidate, you’re ready to put an offer on the table.

By this point, you might have already started thinking about the role they will play in the company, the value they will add and the difference they will make - but don’t get too carried away just yet. The job offer is the final hurdle in the search for talent: overcome it with ease and the hunt will end – fall, and you will find yourself back at the beginning.

In truth, salary and title alone simply aren’t enough to outbid the competition in a fierce talent war. If you are to convince the highest quality Candidates to choose your company, you must do as Don Corleone would do, and make them an offer they cannot refuse. Of course, it’s easier said than done when you are not a mind-reader, or a mob boss.

Fortunately, there are a few things you can do to improve your chances of recruiting Candidates in an increasingly tough market:

Do your research

If you’re about to enter negotiations without prior knowledge on market trends and Candidate expectations, you may as well admit defeat. After all, even if your Candidate hasn’t spent the last few weeks immersed in job boards, they aren’t short-sighted enough to start an application without knowing the kind of salary on offer for their skill-level. If you don’t do your homework, you run the risk of making a dangerously low offer, and pushing them into the arms of your competitors.

True or not, the Candidate could perceive this as a lack of available funds in the business, the lack of importance placed on their position, or the lack of belief in their abilities. In any case, most Candidates feel more valued when they don’t have to hustle to receive the industry average.

Listen to their needs

An exciting opportunity might catch the eye of your target Candidate, but underneath the compensation on offer and the reputation of the company, professionals seek reassurance that the role will tick their boxes.

Don’t worry: you don’t need to perform some Derren Brown-level trickery to determine what boxes these might be: instead, use the opportunity that the interview provides, to identify which factors might sway their decision.  

Perhaps they seek a role where there is a clear path for career progression; maybe they’re in the market for an Employer with an attractive benefits package and reward scheme. It could be as simple as a shorter commute or as specific as a preferred environment. The only way to know is to ask, and the response you receive will play a key role in creating a competitive offer.

Tailor your offer

Using the information you have gathered in the interview, you can present your Candidate with a proposition that reflects their priorities without necessarily breaking the bank. Of course, if the Candidate’s skills are in demand, it’s not worth scrimping on their salary if you can afford not to.

As well an attractive remuneration package, your offer might include a flexible working arrangement that allows them more time with their family, and less time stuck in traffic. Depending on their lifestyle, it might be a paid gym membership or a cycle to work scheme that seals the deal. If there is scope in the role for a perk like international travel, certain Candidates might even accept dipping lower than their asking price.

Beyond lifestyle benefits, your offer should seek to reflect their career aspirations: it might be clear career progression, dedicated management or autonomy in the role. Your aim at this crucial stage is to demonstrate to the Candidate how your business will meet both their personal and professional requirements: get it right and any counter-offer they receive from their current Employer won’t even get a look in.

Over the last 20 years, we have grown as a business to become one of the leading independent Recruitment agencies in Oxfordshire, and in 2018 have opened our first London office, to service Clients in the capital.    

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