A Recruiter's Notebook: And the Offer Is...?

You’ve survived a lengthy search for a key member of your senior leadership team. Multiple candidates have endured several rounds of interviews. The “winner’ has emerged and you’re ready to make an offer. The candidate is excited and it’s time to close the deal.

Let the dance begin. How much should you offer? What if the candidate would have accepted less? Maybe they’d make a lateral move with an attractive bonus potential? Perhaps you’ll start low and leave room for some back and forth.

Resist the temptation to be a master negotiator. Instead, err on the side of generosity. Ask the candidate where they need to be and match it or come as close as you can. I’ve seen too many candidates become deflated when a low-ball offer is presented. Rather than build on the momentum of an upbeat recruiting process, you invite the candidate to question the wisdom of a move or, even worse, accept an offer from another company.

Conversely, I’ve seen the goodwill that is generated when a client offers a healthy bump in salary, a meaningful bonus opportunity and even an extra week of vacation. It confirms the candidate’s gut feeling that this is the right career move to make. The dollar difference is negligible compared to the benefits of gaining an energized, enthusiastic new team member.

In today’s tight market, talented candidates are motivated to move by an increase in responsibility, the desire to have more impact, and a meaningful bump in total compensation. If you can offer all three, you’re in a great position to win.

Barry Elkus
Partner, Gilman Partners