The Drop – Deal or no Deal

Job offers – what to consider for employers and candidates – Part 1

A job offer is the ultimate goal for anyone in a recruitment process. The employer wants to offer to the best candidate and candidates want to secure it so they can make the best move for their career.

When is the right time?

So, when should one begin to consider what they want from an offer? At the end of interviews? During the interview process? Well actually, none of these. Candidates should be considering what they want from an offer from the very start of their job search and clients should be enquiring about a candidates expectations in the first interview stages, not at the end. I see many processes fall apart because money is discussed at the eleventh hour.

There are also clear advantages in using a good recruiter as a go between during salary negotiations as they can objectively advise both the employer and the candidate.


Candidates, should avoid been too fixed upon specific criteria for an offer and understand their market value. Having some flexibility in your expectations can be very powerful, so set your minimum starting point and work from there. Knowing your market value is key, not just in your current role but also in similar roles and other markets as variances between categories, packages, companies can vary hugely. For example, FMCG and blue-chip companies tend to pay higher salaries compared to drinks industry employers.

Employers should always consider that having some flexibility when making an offer can be the difference between them securing a candidate and losing one. No one is expecting an employer to go way beyond internal/external salary benchmarks and market values, but understanding what is important to a candidate will help in later negotiations. 

The persistence of time

Time and managing it correctly during an interview process is critical, particularly once an offer is made. When the decision is made to offer a candidate, employers must ensure all the information, offer letter, contract etc… are ready to go. It is important that employers are clear with the candidate on how much time they have to make a decision on an offer as leaving such elements open ended is dangerous. Expectations and emotional bank accounts need to be managed. Similarly, candidates should not assume an employer will wait too long for a decision. Many times recruiters have to play a balancing act between an employer wanting an answer and a candidate using delaying tactics as they are expecting other offers etc. This is where the use of recruiters is helpful.

job search

The emotional bank account

As referred to earlier, from day one there is an emotional bank account between employer and candidate. The process will tick along nicely so long as all information is out in the open from the start. The emotional bank account continues to build throughout the entire process. The stage that is most sensitive is when an offer is made and this needs to be treated with care on both sides. The employer should avoid low-balling an offer. Candidates should avoid suddenly raising salary expectations, entering a counter offer scenario (unless the candidate is prepared to stay put) or asking for extended time to make a decision. Employers have also been known to be too hesitant on offering and keeping a potential employee on the back burner until further interviews are undertaken. Frequently a good candidate finds a role elsewhere during this process.

There can be a tendency for employers to stretch the interview process further in case there is the dream candidate out there. A perfect match can be exceptionally rare and employers need to understand the need for compromise too. A decision not to offer over something very small will envitably cost the employer time and money by going back to the drawing board. There are always elements of risk in the hire process, but if it is well managed using a good recruiter as a go between then the outcome is likely to be favourable.

Part 2 to follow…

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