Say no before you get an offer? Sounds crazy, doesn’t it.
By John Borrowman, CPC
Borrowman Baker, LLC, BV Staffing + Consulting
Interviewing BV candidates is hard enough. Making an offer is the hardest because it means showing your cards. Before you do, wouldn’t knowing your candidate’s cards be good?
You can better understand what’s in your candidate’s hand if you use these four questions. Ask these earlier in the interview process.
If you stayed where you are, what would likely be your next career move, and when would it happen?
The answer tells you how your candidate sees the career potential in her current role and how your opportunity compares. It can give you ammunition to describe your opportunity as more attractive. It can also reveal how susceptible your candidate may be to a counteroffer.
Please take a minute and tell me why you think joining us and taking on this role would be valuable to you from a personal and career development point of view. If you were looking back on this in five years, how would you explain this move to a potential employer?
Your strategy is to have the candidate tell you the benefits of joining your practice rather than vice versa. You’ll hear what your candidate thinks are the strong points, and you can build on them in follow-up conversations. Your candidate’s answer could also reveal misunderstandings that you will want to correct. Or worse yet, your candidate has done zero research and should be dismissed.
Ask the final two only when you’re ready to extend an offer.
If you received a job offer from us today, would you be able to accept or decline?
You’re hoping to hear: “Yes, pretty much immediately.” You should expect to hear some reference to “think about it.” If that takes more than a few days, you should ask what questions remain you haven’t answered. If you accept a delay, you should know why and for how long. Offer letters should always include an expiration deadline.
I’m going to ask you a crunch question. What’s the salary level where you would accept our offer without a need for further discussion, and what’s the level where you walk away?
Your candidate expects a number. You are asking for a range and may momentarily flummox the candidate. However, this approach increases the odds of a reliable response. If expectations are aligned, you can make the offer. If you see a problem, you can a) discuss that with your candidate to explore flexibility or b) delay while you see whether you can adjust.
Making an offer means showing the cards you have in your hand. Asking these questions helps you know the cards your candidate is holding.