June 23, 2018

Jobseekers: Sign In | Sign Up Recruiters
  InFocus Newsletter Newsletter archives

Share this article:
Bookmark and Share

6 Great Reasons Not to Lose a Candidate -Part 2

Lack of Control of the Offer

The making of an offer is a critical moment in the hiring process. It is delicate and it is subject to the stresses and strains of the candidates conflicting fears and concerns around change. The offer should be made to the candidate by the person with whom the candidate has the strongest relationship. In most cases, that is the recruiter who was there every step of the way to make it to the offer stage. A few things to consider:

  • Try to close the candidate before you make the offer (More on this later…)

  • Do not lowball the candidate for any reason

  • Keep a short window on the offer. Three days maximum for an answer.

  • Remember that an offer letter is a summation of previous conversations, not a time for the candidate to negotiate.

Controlling the offer is a good way to remain close to the candidate at this precarious moment in the hiring process. Think this through and more with caution.

Poor Closing of the Candidate

Offer time is show time for all parties concerned. It is like take off and landing for pilots: the most dangerous part of the flight. With this in mind, if at all possible, close the candidate before you extend the offer. This is pure agency talk but it works. Consider the pre-close by simply asking the candidate the following simple question:

  • If I get you the offer of $105,000 as a base and a 7 percent bonus as discussed, will you accept the offer? If the candidate says yes, you are on some level done. If the candidate says "no" or "maybe," dig a bit and find out their hesitation. Can you fix it in order to get to yes? If so, do it, if not, keep talking. Because getting to "yes" is the objective. Remember, a candidate who has been closed before the offer has been made is the perfect situation.

Questions Not Asked

We lose hires not because of the questions we ask but because of the questions we do not ask. When things go well and we have the candidate we seek, we tend to hold back on digging into how the candidate really feels about making the move. We hope that things will move along nicely and we will close the deal.

This is not a great way to do this business. We all need to discuss the things with our candidates that we feel might pop up at the end and kill the deal before they become a reality. Talk to your candidate. Listen to what they are saying as opposed to what you want to hear. Ask them about things such as; money, commute, type of company, new role/old role, title, type of project, benefits, and hiring manger.

The above topics are just the tip of the iceberg, as no topic of conversation is off the table. Want to take it one step further? Want more of the graduate school of recruiting and want to dig deeper? If so, do not just ask the candidate what they think. Ask the candidate how they feel.

  • How does it feel to leave your friends at work after nine years?

  • How does it feel to go to a smaller group?

  • How does it feel to do more QA and less development?

  • How does it feel to not be a manager anymore?

  • How does your wife/husband feel about you making this move?

Ask these questions … the big painful questions. A big move like a job change has far more emotion than logic. Ask these questions because fear of loss is stronger then desire for gain. Ask these questions even if you do not want to know the answer because the decisions made by candidates are based far more upon how they feel then how they think.

One last thought/question. As you get closer to the offer, the best question of them all is a simple one. Can you see yourself working here? If the answer is “yes,” this is a good thing. If the answer is “no,” something is terribly wrong and the time to engage in a meaningful dialogue with your candidate, is right now.

The nature of our business is one of winning and losing. Taking into account the complexities of technology, multiple opportunities, and changing economic conditions, this will not change anytime soon. We will all lose deals if we stay in this business. The purpose of the information above is to see that all of us, myself included, win more and lose less.

Read Part 1

- Howard Adamsky

Howard Adamsky ( has been recruiting since 1985 and is still alive to talk about it. A consultant, writer, public speaker, and educator, he works with organizations to support their efforts to build great companies and coaches others on how to do the same. He has over 20 years' experience in identifying, developing, and implementing effective solutions for organizations struggling to recruit and retain top talent. An internationally published author, he is a regular contributor to ERE Media, a member of the Human Capital Institute's Small and Mid-Sized business panel, a Certified Internet Recruiter, and rides one of the largest production motorcycles ever built. His book, Hiring and Retaining Top IT Professionals/The Guide for Savvy Hiring Managers and Job Hunters Alike (Osborne McGraw-Hill) is in local bookstores and available online. He is also working on his second book, The 25 New Rules for Today’s Recruiting Professional.