4 Offer Stage Strategies to Win Top Candidates

You’ve run a seamless process. Your hiring manager and interview team have all given the green light to a candidate. Now it’s time to close. This is the moment that matters. It’s also the point in the process where a recruiter can either be an administrator, or can position his or herself as a strategic partner who plays a key role in ensuring that the candidate accepts.

Too many recruiters make the mistake of assuming that getting to the offer stage means they’ve already crossed the finish line. On the contrary, this is arguably the final, most crucial lap of the race and there is work to be done. Here are a few examples.

Sell the value of equity

As a strategic partner during the offer stage when equity is on the table, it’s important to avoid simply regurgitating numbers that you’ve been given by your finance team. Take the time to truly understand the numbers, what you can share with the candidate and help him or her understand the value of the equity being offered. This means going beyond simply talking about  vesting cycles, cliffs and strike prices, and actually gathering the information necessary to speak to the anticipated equity value in different business scenarios over the next few years.

Tag team the offer call

Two is better than one in this scenario. The hiring manager should be present during the call to answer outstanding questions around things like near-term projects and the onboarding process and to address any concerns the candidate may have about the opportunity.

Encourage the hiring managers to discuss career growth within the role and why the team is excited for this person to come onboard. This is an opportunity for your team to show that you’ve been listening during the interview process, and that you can offer the candidate what he or she is looking for in their next role.


Don’t start with your lowest salary target

The job market is competitive. If you have a candidate at the offer stage, that likely means you’ve put them through an extensive vetting and interview process, so don’t risk losing them by giving them a lowball offer with the expectation that they will counter.

As a best practice, present the strongest offer possible and offer insight into how you got to that number. It’s impactful for them to understand that you’ve taken the time to consider the value they’ll be adding, the responsibilities they will have in the role and their prior experience. This stage of the process sets the precedence for the candidate’s future at the company and a foundation for a relationship that’s built on transparency and respect.

Get to a “Yes”

Your mission before ending the offer conversation is to earn a verbal commitment from the candidate. If there are hesitations or competing offers in play, engage in a dialogue to uncover what may be missing from your offer. Establish dialogue and find out candidate what would make them more comfortable with making a decision before hanging up the phone.

You should ask questions to find out where the candidate’s head is at, but avoid seeming pushy.  If the candidate seems indecisive and closed off, create a sense of urgency and work with him or her to set a timeline for when they can realistically respond to your offer.

The best recruiters know that their job is not simply to get candidates in the door and fill a pipeline, but actually to ensure that all of that work culminates in a “yes.” The key to success at this stage is knowing that it is an intense and sometimes emotional experience for both sides, and your job is to help everyone get to a decision they feel good about. This takes patience, experience and a healthy dose of EQ, but if done right, it can be one of the most rewarding parts of the job.

About the Author

Matt Hughes

Head of Talent, Hired