How to Make a Job Offer

The screening process is all about getting to know your candidate while learning about what’s important and motivates him or her. Hopefully, you’ve already had preliminary discussions about title, salary, benefits, responsibilities, and advancement opportunities. Now it’s time to make a formal job offer.
Your offer is as much a negotiation for you as it is for the candidate. After all, you’ve found the ideal candidate after much screening effort and you don’t want to lose them. At the same time, you don’t want to give away too much. So move quickly and make your offer either in person or at least over the phone so you can convey your enthusiasm and passion for the candidate.
Here are a few things to consider.
  • Check the competition. Find out what the other guys in your industry are paying for similar positions so you can be competitive. Set your limits. Figure your absolute limits for salary and benefits. You can then offer less so you have room to negotiate. Make use of perks that don’t cost you a lot, such as working at home, flexible start times, or additional time off around the holidays. Consider a signing bonus or a profit sharing arrangement to sweeten the pot.
  • Explain fully. Describe how the pay works, including base salary, bonuses, and benefits. If it’s all on the table you can’t be accused of being sneaky or underhanded. Focus on what’s important to your candidate.
  • Put it in writing. You can make a verbal offer with verbal explanations. However, be sure to put it in writing as a formal offer package so there are no misunderstandings.
  • Be willing to walk away. As much as you love your candidate, he or she must be reasonable in negotiations and counter offers. If the candidate makes unreasonable demands and seems inflexible, perhaps you misread his or her intentions during the screening process. It is possible, the person isn’t as ideal a candidate as you thought.
  • Set a decision deadline. If everyone has done their homework, you may expect an acceptance of your offer within a day. Some complicated offers may require a candidate to take one or two days to think about it. Any more time than that and something is probably off.

Game Plan

Job offer letters can be fairly short and straightforward. Here are examples.
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