Great Expectations... Getting the Job Offer right

31 May by Alicia Vroegop

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Some advice on getting the job offer right

No doubt your business is desperate for good people, placing a lot of effort in marketing and getting your processes right.  You want to hire people who enjoy their job, the atmosphere, and are happy to exchange dollars for time. People who will remain loyal, and tell their friends how good it is. So when you find a good person, and you’ve enjoyed that ‘air-punch’ moment of celebration, it’s time for action.

You see, more often than we’d like, we see the offer process screwed up to the point of having to start ALL OVER AGAIN, and the reputation of your business is quietly being undermined.

How do you avoid these costly mistakes?


The #1 reason candidates fall over at offer stage is speed (or lack thereof).  When a verbal offer has been made, the candidate is expecting a written offer within 24-48 hours.  Leaving them without confirmation after a week isn’t acceptable practice in 2019. Where a candidate needs to hand in notice, leaving them wondering creates anxiety and stress, which can lead to doubts or a declined offer. 


Discuss salary expectations at interview.  The offer letter should just be a formality to confirm what has already been discussed.  A good agency will have spent a lot of time ensuring a candidate’s expectations match the job they are being put forward to.  If you have made it clear you are paying up to $100k, our candidates will not be expecting $120k. However, it is prudent to continue to reiterate at interview what their expectations are and what you are prepared to pay.    

Note: Change happens, we get it.  If the budget or business needs for the role have changed, and you have to cap the salary – TELL THE AGENT.  It is a waste of your time, the candidate’s time and the agent’s time to continue to pursue a candidate who is out of your budget.  It leaves a sour taste in everyone’s mouth.


Any pilot will tell you that the riskiest part of any flight is in take-off.  Similarly, the riskiest time of the candidate/employer relationship is that time between offer and start date.   It’s called momentum. Don’t give any room for doubt, negative pillow-talk from significant others or anxiety about change stop your candidate from starting.  To maintain momentum, stay in touch. It’s 2019, use your phone, text or email, LinkedIn. (Fax is unacceptable) Invitation to a team lunch prior to starting or a conference are great ways to keep the momentum going.


The moment of truth is in sealing the deal.   You want to make an offer that stops that candidate in their tracks.  An offer that has them calling off their next interview. An offer that makes them ring their significant other to celebrate their new job.  An offer they are EXPECTING. This is like the beginning of a new relationship. So GET THE DETAILS RIGHT. Have a good look at your letters.  Are they personalised? Are they specific to your role, your team, your division? Or does it look mass-produced. You’ve just hired this person for your team – don’t make them feel like just another number. 


Texting has been around for over 20 years now.  And phones… over 150 years of evidential testing there.  There is no excuse for a lack of communication. Ring the candidate once a reasonable time has passed for them to read the offer and consider.  Follow up, give the candidate an opportunity to have a relaxed conversation and an opportunity to cover off any questions.  

The balance of power in an employer/employee relationship is a topic on its own, but certainly in a talent-short market, attracting and retaining talent is not in your favour.  So, once you find talent, make sure the offer process is one that can’t be faulted.