After days, weeks or even months of sourcing, shortlisting and interviewing candidates, you have finally identified the right candidate for the role. But, with many receiving multiple job offers, the best candidates can be spoilt for choice, not helped by the fact that counter-offers are ripe at the moment.

Now is the time to act thoughtfully but quickly. But what do you need to do to make sure your job offer is accepted?

The job offer: top tips for employers

The whole process counts. Don’t wait until you have made your job offer to consider how to respond to a counter-offer. It’s not all about the money (although that does play an important part!).

Create an inviting culture and showcase your employer brand – one of the challenges of a virtual interview is conveying your firm’s brand. Candidates are not walking into your beautiful offices and getting a ‘feel’ for your firm. The opportunity to connect in the same way has been lost. You therefore need to ensure they see this in a different way.

Introduce the candidate to your team and the wider team – virtually or in person. Increasingly clients are meeting candidates face to face for a walk and a coffee if not in the office. Build a relationship with the candidate. Show them how they will be treated if they accept the job offer. Show what projects they may be working on and promote the firm’s diversity, career development, flexible working policies, and so on.

Understand a candidate’s motivations: many are now swayed by more flexible working patterns, work-from-home options or a team that is offering more support, infrastructure or budget. It is important to show how the firm will invest in their careers, show case great examples of people who have progressed within your organisation. The way in which firms are managing diversity and ESG are important factors people consider. Whilst most firms are now offering flexibility, more than ever candidates are looking for a trusting culture, somewhere they feel supported and integrated into the business but where they will be treated like adults and able to manage their time in a way which is best for their role and home life. Especially for those with caring responsibilities, giving back time rather than money can be powerful.

Use the interview to impress – from the welcome at reception to the way you bid a candidate farewell, it all counts. Act efficiently, deliver constructive feedback and do not wait too long between interviews. Show commitment in the process by communicating regularly and clearly. Ensure the candidate will enjoy working with the people who are already there by making relevant introductions and perhaps following up successful interviews by inviting them to a social event. You need to convince the candidate that they want to work for your firm above all others: be authentic; demonstrate your culture; sell your strengths.

Ask the right questions in interview – ask when their last pay rise, bonus and review were. We have had an offer recently where the candidate was due a sizeable bonus a month after the job offer. We knew this was coming and able to manage by being transparent on both sides. Understanding and assessing whether you’re comfortable with someone waiting for a bonus to be paid before they hand in their notice can sway a candidate to join – and for the extra month you’ve waited, you might not have been able to find another candidate and complete the process. Some firms consider paying a sign on bonus to compensate for lost bonuses.

Respond quickly with your offer. The market is moving rapidly. One firm we work with sends out a form at each each stage of interview to reaffirm salary, current interview activity and any change in salary aspirations. It really works to ensure everyone is on the same page and the firm can move quickly when it comes to making an offer. A speedy offer after the final interview is much more likely to get accepted. It also stops a favoured candidate getting snapped up by someone else or getting caught up in a counter-offer.

Pitch the salary right – don’t be tempted to start with an offer which has scope to increase if they say no – put your best offer forward from the outset, and tell them you are doing so. The amount will depend on skills, geography, industry, budget, seniority, etc, but it must be pitched sufficiently high and fairly to attract top talent. A competitive offer will also include all your other benefits. Try to avoid getting into salary negotiations: the candidate wants to feel they are valued and rewarded accordingly and are more likely to accept an offer straight away if the salary is set from the start at the right level to reflect their worth.

During their notice period – stay in touch with candidate. Whilst a candidate works their notice this is still an opportunity for a firm to counter-offer. Stay in touch, meet up and introduce them to others in the team. This is an opportunity to continue building a relationship and not the time to walk away and seem them again in 3months time!

Be prepared for your candidate to receive a counter-offer. How will you react? Speed is of the essence here, but if you’ve taken all the right steps above, you’ll have a far better chance of winning over your chosen candidate at this final stage. Remember, salary alone was very unlikely to be the only reason your chosen candidate decided to leave their current role. Decisions are based on a number of factors. Assess the proposition with a long-term outlook.

If you would like talk to the about how to manage counter-offers or any aspect of recruitment please contact Rebecca Ellis [email protected]