Breaking Offers is an Art

  • October 19, 2023
Man laughing on phone

Breaking offers is an art that many companies get badly wrong…

Start off on the right foot. 

Interviewing is often a long, tiring process that requires a lot of time and effort on both sides. The last thing you want to do is wreck it by clumsily breaking the offer and putting your new superstar off joining.  

The funny thing is, it all starts at the beginning, if you set expectations and understand motivations, it should have a happy ending. What we mean by that is, if you have asked the right questions and understood why the candidate is considering a move, you’ll know what matters most them and be able to pitch your offer accordingly. 

As a very simple example, if you are hiring for a new account manager and you discover during the initial stages that she is a mother of two children, you can be sure that flexibility is going to be a big deal to her. 

So when it comes to the offer, make sure you do everything possible to demonstrate that you can offer that flexibility – it will mean more than money in most cases. Likewise, if someone is relocating to take a role with you, for the love of God, make them feel welcome, supported, intro them to as many of the team as possible and even offer to help with the cost of relocation. The little things go a long, long way when people are weighing up whether to accept a role – and they often cost very little. 

Don’t rush it! 

Another common mistake employers make is to rush the offer. Either through excitement, or desperation, hiring managers often push the hiring button after one interview. That can work well if the candidate shares the same level of excitement/desperation, but if they don’t get ready to be disappointed. We advise our clients to undertake at least two rounds of interviews and also recommend they meet in person if possible. A twenty minute teams call is hardly likely to be enough for someone to decide whether they are prepared to invest in a career with you. 

It’s not just that though, the more effort and time a candidate has put into a process, the more likely is they will accept your offer – so make sure you are thorough and show you’re taking it as seriously as them. 

Sell the offer.

Whatever you do, do not email the candidate saying – “We would like to offer you the job of ___________ with a salary of ___________, congratulations.

Again, put some effort in, show them how excited you are about them joining, tell them what a difference they are going to make. Include all of the benefits, however small or insignificant you may think they are. 

Make the offer look as attractive as possible to them, sell the offer! You could be up against lots of others… 

Include an employee handbook where possible, or any additional info that may be helpful. Don’t apply too much pressure and make yourself and/or team members available if they have any questions – even offer for them to come back in or meet outside work for a drink if needs be – just make them feel a million dollars. 

Make your best offer first off, don’t try and be clever, it backfires most of the time. 

Pay a candidate what you think they are worth, don’t scrimp over a couple of thousand. As soon as you start going back and forth to negotiate, the goodwill evaporates along with your chances of hiring. Don’t ask them what they’re on – what does that matter? Offer them what you think is fair in line of what you have advertised the role at. If people don’t think you value them, they won’t join.  

If you still can’t seem to get it right, give us a call.