There was a job opening, you've interviewed several candidates, and one of them made a great impression. So, you call the candidate to offer them a job. In most cases, the chosen candidate would be very excited. But that's not how it always plays out.
Some candidates feel hesitant about accepting a job offer. They would ask for time to think about it. Most recruiters would prefer to fill the position as soon as possible. So, if a candidate asks for more time to decide on the job offer, how much time should you give them?
How long should it take?
According to Sarah Jane Thomas, an HR professional, the amount of time an employer should give vary from a couple of days to a few weeks. The general rule of thumb is to provide the candidate with a week to reach a decision. It would be best if you were specific about your expectations and not say something such as "we look forward to hearing from you soon" as it is vague and they will take as much time since you did not specify how long.
Let's say there's another top candidate who's waiting for your response, saying that they had received another offer, but they wanted the job you were offering. Now you're in a scenario where you could potentially lose your top candidate and need to select from what's left of the candidate pool.
What's worse is that you could also lose the second-best candidate. Ask yourself: Do you have the luxury to wait for another week or so? This is why it's very crucial to make your first call to the best candidate. If they do not accept the offer, at least you still have other applicants to choose from.
The top candidate might have a hard time deciding on the best job offer.
Give them enough time
You should also know that accepting a new position can have a massive effect on a person's life. It can potentially affect their finances, family and social time. The candidate has to be sure that that they are making the best decision for their life, at least for the next couple of years. It's a win-win situation for everyone when the new employee starts their job confidently because they know they have made the right choice.
What if the candidate realised that they had not seriously seen themselves working at the new place and therefore wondered if they want the job. It will be hard for them to hide their hesitation.
You can help them by asking them if they need further clarification about the details of the job. The worst feeling is losing the best candidate because you did not effectively communicate the job role and its elements. If the candidate has questions about the job, you must address their concerns.
It would help if you also considered that the terms of the offer might not be suitable or worse in comparison to another job offer received by the candidate. If you're a good hiring manager, you should be prepared for multiple scenarios and figure out how to achieve the result you're looking for. If not, you could contribute to the delayed start of a new employee.
It's your choice, after all
As an employer, you still have the choice not to give the candidate more time to think over the job offer. Nevertheless, if you pressure them too much and demand a swift decision, the candidate will think you're not the kind of employer they want to represent.
In any case, the candidate will be asking themselves how reasonable are you likely to be in other situations down the road. If you do not want to give them more time, be open and honest about it and tell them why.
Likewise, the candidate will be open and honest as to why they are asking for the extension. If it is because their current employer has anticipated the job offer and made a counteroffer, you should grant them extra time. If not, you will lose the candidate immediately. Remember, the candidate applied for the role because they are looking to leave their current job!
As an employer, you should be reasonable for your candidates.
Everything has an expiration date, and that includes a job offer. Yet if as an employer, you find yourself in the situation where the top candidate rejects your proposal, and it's not because they have a better job offer, do not lose hope. Where there's a will, there's a way. How you handle this situation could lead to the outcome you are looking for. So be flexible and always be ready with Plan B.
Who are we?
Source: LinkedIn / Sarah Jane Thomas
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