4 Step Process to an Effective Offer Extension

Congratulations, you’re about to extend an offer to your job candidate; it’s been a long journey from when you first contacted your candidate.  To ensure that the offer is a smooth transition in the overall recruitment process incorporate the following four steps.

Begin with the End in Mind

The salary negotiation process begins with the first conversation you have with the candidate, which is typically during the phone screening.  Phone screens should last around 30 minutes. This beginning conversation should evolve around what skills the candidate has, how their skills can benefit the company, how your role can benefit the candidate’s career and what is the candidate’s salary compensation expectation. 

Woman talking on phone while facing lap top and taking notes on paper
Record all critical data obtained in the phone screen with candidate

Set the Tone

By beginning with the end in mind you are also setting the tone. You are letting the candidate know that the end goal is to get him/her to the offer letter stage.  Your tone throughout the recruitment process should be clear-cut, transitory, pleasant and professional. By setting and maintaining the tone the candidate will follow suit. Keep the tone positive by informing your candidate exactly how the interview process will go. Let the candidate know how long the interviews will last, how many people will they meet and what types of questions they should be expecting. 

Woman in blue business jacket with white blouse, talking on cell phone.
Set the tone starting with the first phone call

Be Prepared

Be prepared to answer any questions the candidate may have. Have all necessary information at hand. Important information might include selling points for joining the company and/or department.  Know salary ranges, bonus figures, commission structure and any other financial parameters associated with the role that you are looking to fill. Have all necessary documents on hand such as phone screen form, interviewing forms, access to resumes and benefit information. 

Expect the unexpected and be prepared to have a strategy for end stage negotiations with employer counter-offers, requests for higher salaries, additional vacation, time off before or shortly after starting a new job, issues with titles, drug test and background check challenges. 

If your candidate receives a counter-offer, consider any more you may want to sweeten your offer and give your candidate 24 hours to reconsider your offer or to accept their counter-offer. Do not give the candidate any more time than 24 hours as then the control will be shifted away from you. Your company has no desire to engage in a tug-of-war with another company for any candidate, no matter how valuable their skills may be. 

Be prepared with a plan B candidate and/or sourcing strategy in case your candidate does not accept the offer or fails a drug test or background check. Don’t put all your eggs in one basket.  You don’t want to start from scratch if your desired candidate suddenly drops out of the running at the last minute. 

Rope with two business men pulling on each end as if in a game of tug-of-war
Do not engage in the counter-offer war

Always be in Control

Control in this case does not mean ‘having the upper hand’ or engaging in ‘power-play’ but rather guiding the candidate and watching for red flags. The candidate needs to know that you have their best interest at heart and that you are the one controlling the interview process from beginning to end. Control the process by driving the conversations. Sometimes a nervous candidate might chatter on and on when answering a simple question. Kindly stop them once you have your information and let them know that due to time constraints you must move on to the next question.   

Make the compensation expectation question one of the first to ask.  There is no need to waste time if you are too far off from the salary range assigned for the role. If they ask you to first reveal your salary range, don’t do it; you need to keep control of the conversation. Let the candidate know that after they reveal their compensation expectations you will be happy to look at your data to see if the figure falls in line with your salary range.

Some candidates believe that if they are earning too much money the company will not consider them for a lower paying role. Inform the candidate that this is not the case, especially if they have a good reason for applying such as wanting to gain skills for a different field or wanting to leave a very small company for a global firm where they will work on larger, more complicated projects. The beginning salary discussion and motivation around it are critical to end stage negotiations.  

Scrabble game with tile spelling out salary.
Be in control of conversations concerning salary

By plugging in this four-step process your offer extension should be a whiz-bang, win-win success! 

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