Don’t forget the reason we talked in the first place!

Apr 30, 2008

My peers extended three offers last week. In all three situations, the offers (on paper) provided better career opportunity and increased “compensation” (ok – a couple were modest increases but none the less… an increase).

Observing their discussions, it is/was interesting how a candidate’s mindset evolves during the recruitment process.

When you typically ask a candidate “what they are looking for in a new opportunity,” the discussion typically revolves around the following “non-monetary” motives:

  • Opportunities for advancement
  • Scope/responsibility of position
  • Education/training
  • Chance to work with new technology, be involved with project from the beginning.
  • Commute, less travel, etc.

On occasion, candidates will include “monetary” motives as drivers in the decision process.

  • Base/bonus
  • Medical benefits, vacation, etc.
  • Retirement plan
  • Tuition reimbursement

But 99.9% of the time, a candidate will accept (or decline) an offer based on the monetary decision factors!

Isn’t that ironic? The reason you “talked” in the first place, most often, has nothing to do with money (monetary motives) but in the end . . . the conversation becomes centered on it!

Savvy recruiters/strong ‘closers’ manage this topic from initial conversation to close. But I’m finding that even the savvy veteran can get sucked into this type of conversation during the offer/negotiation/education process.

Why is this?

I think the biggest catalyst is the typical offer process. When an offer is made, most recruiters usually don’t start like this…

I am so excited to present this offer. Based on our initial discussion, we can provide you with:

  • An opportunity to move into a supervisory role in 18 months.
  • A chance to lead a team of 10 responsible for launching a new system in 15 facilities throughout North America.
  • Six Sigma training. We will sponsor you to become a black belt!
  • Opportunity to manage the project from Day I using RET technology.
  • A commute of 15 minutes and less than 25% travel.

Most often, we skip over the career, non-monetary motives and start like this . . .

We are pleased to provide this offer.

  • Your base compensation is…
  • Your bonus is this…
  • Your benefits are XXXXX
  • Of course this is all contingent upon finalizing your background check, etc.

Based on the typical process, why wouldn’t a candidate dwell on the monetary part of the offer, since it’s all we talk about and is documented in the offer letter?

To ensure we don’t fall into this trap, we use a tool called a Career Comparison:

Current positionOur opportunity
Non-Monetary Motives
New technology, etc.
Monetary Motives
Base compensation
Bonus, etc.

This tool allows us to provide an apples-to-apples comparison between their current position (or competing offer) with our offer. It allows them to objectively evaluate the opportunity based on all motives, not just based compensation, bonus, etc. It also allows the candidate to review this with other key decision makers in the process (significant other, mentor, parents, etc.)

Now, I have worked with some companies whose HR/Legal group is not too keen on putting some of these things in writing for the candidate but I think you would agree, you need to articulate your opportunity taking this into consideration.

With that said, please share your best practices on this subject. Please provide us with your “offer” process that ensures a candidate doesn’t forget the reason you “talked” in the first place.

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