Will Your Candidate Accept the Offer? This Checklist Will Help You Know

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Sep 3, 2015
This article is part of a series called How-Tos.

Note: In this third and final part of a series on managing search risk, Joe Ankus presents a checklist of the questions to answer before an offer is made. Getting these answers will help you guide the offer and presentation to minimize the potential for rejection. In part one Joe presented the pre-search and pre-submission risk assessment checklists. Part two presented first interview risk assessment checklists.


In this article, I present the final risk assessment checklist, which details the questions to answer to minimize the risk in the offer and acceptance process. By identifying some of these areas before, and during, your search, you improve the odds of having a more positive experience and a higher close ratio overall. The key is to be proactive, not reactive during the entire search process.


Offer Risk Assessment Checklist

  • Did you, as the recruiter get the chance, pre-offer, to review the offer letter before the client sends it to the candidate? If not, you should ask your client for the opportunity to do so. I have found that clients have the wrong mailing/email address, misspellings, incorrect salaries (both higher and lower than intended), incorrect benefit information, etc. In a perfect world, review the letter first and then let your client send to the candidate. If you are directly involved in the presentation of the offer this becomes much easier. If not, you still want to make sure the client doesn’t make an error that will embarrass both you and the client.


  • Did you, as the recruiter, make sure that nothing has changed in the candidate’s situation (either personally or professionally) that would require the offer terms to be tweaked? A common example is a delayed or expedited starting date. Another example is a clarification or explanation of benefits (including insurance and/or retirement plans) based on changed needs since the hiring process started.


  • Did you, as the recruiter, make sure that the candidate is adequately prepared against the dreaded counteroffer? I recommend making this preparation an integral part of the entire recruiting process, but if you haven’t prepared both the candidate and client for this possibility, now is the time. Counteroffers are problems that plague our industry, and it is up to you and your client to guard against this.


  • Did you, as the recruiter, make sure that you and your client have done the required due diligence on the candidate’s background? (This responsibility may be allocated entirely to the client or entirely to the recruiter or shared between the two of you depending on the recruiting agreement between the parties.)


  • Did you, as the recruiter, make sure that all the candidate’s questions, concerns, and issues have been addressed by either you or your client? Don’t assume there aren’t questions; sometimes candidates need to be coaxed into sharing their thoughts. After they receive the offer, ask them if there is any other information you or your client can provide to help them with their decision.

Notice that all these questions must be asked and satisfactorily answered as part of the closing and offer process. Since most of our work is done on a contingency basis, you want to eliminate most of the common risk factors.

As I am fond of saying, “Surprises are only good for parties, not for recruiting.” After you review the checklists I’ve shared these last three issues, you may well add your own risk items. In recruiting, the lists of things “to do” to manage risk should always be growing based on your own successes and challenges. They are meant to serve as a guide to highlight the areas that require the most risk assessment up-front. Keep a note pad by your desk and write them down as you experience them. Trust me, it will yield dividends for the future.

This article is part of a series called How-Tos.
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