Job Offer Advice

After you make your final hiring choice, you may think that you can just sit back and relax. Not just yet. You still must make the job offer official, and you need to remember that if you fail to handle this phase of the hiring process carefully, one of two things can happen: You can lose the candidate to another job offer, or, even if the candidate comes on board, you can start the relationship off on a bumpy note. Keep the following in mind regarding how to offer a job:

  • Don't delay. After you make up your mind about candidates, make job offers immediately, especially if you're in a tight labour market. Remember, even a day or two delay can cost you the employee of choice. If your small business has procedures that can slow down the process – for example, no one gets hired unless the president interviews the individual personally – look for ways to streamline the process.
  • Put your job offer on the table. At this stage in the process, you have no reason to be coy. Call the person you want to hire and outline the details about pay, benefits and anything extra. If you don't have these details nailed down yet, you're not ready to make the offer. Most small businesses make job offers verbally by phone and then follow up with an official letter. Making the offer by phone rather than waiting to get the candidate back into your office will avoid having too much time elapse between the interview and the offer.
  • Set a deadline. Give candidates a reasonable amount of time to decide whether to accept the job offer. What's "reasonable" generally depends on the type of job. The time frame for an entry-level job may be a few days, but for a middle or senior-level candidate in a competitive market or for a position that involves relocation, a week isn't excessive.
  • Stay connected. While candidates consider job offers, you should stay in touch with them. The purpose is for you to reinforce your excitement about candidates potentially joining your team.