• Article
  • 27 Feb 2023
Pete BurdenPhoto
Pete Burden

How to Make an Offer Your Ideal Candidate Can’t Refuse (5 Steps)

Candidate Offer + Listing Image

Whether you are a seasoned engineering hiring manager or you’ve never been hired before, once you’ve chosen your ‘ideal candidate’, it’s good to have a process to make the job offer.

On the surface, making an offer to a candidate seems like an easy thing to do. However, covering all the relevant information clearly can sometimes slip through the net, so it’s worth having an outline.

Here are five steps you must complete when making an offer to a candidate.

Read more: Six strategies that start-ups should implement to build strong  technical teams [ 3-minute read]

1.      Ask for feedback


While a prominent place to start might seem to be outlining the job offer, you must start by understanding if they have any objections to working for you as soon as you’re ready to make the offer. Nurturing a candidate to want to work for your engineering company, and finding if you are both a good fit, will be your first priorities.

Asking the candidate how they feel after the interview process is super important to gauge their interest in the position.

Ask questions like:

  • How did you find the interview process?
  • Were all your questions answered? (This is an excellent opportunity for them to ask more questions and confirm any doubts about working for you).
  • Were there any aspects of the job or company that you found particularly appealing (or unappealing)?

Before you present your offer, you should find out information and settle the candidate’s expectations of working for you. It also gives you another chance to sell the opportunity to them. There is no point in presenting an offer to a candidate if they have pre-existing reservations or concerns about the role or the company. Tackle those first, then get into the presentation of your offer and the financials.


2. Present your offer


This is the exciting part! You get to offer your candidate (what you think will be) an attractive offer for them to work for you.

The job market has changed, especially in engineering, in recent years. Whether you are an engineering supplier, a start-up engineering technology developer, or a huge OEM, you will have specific benefits and drawbacks when selling ‘working for you’ (instead of your competitors).

In recent years, it has become increasingly challenging to fill engineering positions. Some sources (universities and colleges) say that it’s because we simply aren’t educating the next generation of engineers, and demand has outgrown supply.

While there may be several factors that affect it, you can be sure that you have to have now to be competitive in several areas:

  • Flexibility
  • Compensation Package
  • Training
  • Career progression
  • Company Perks

This is by no means a definitive list, but the top two are flexibility and salary. A study from LinkedIn found that 39% of leaders across the UK & US are still struggling to find qualified talent for open roles, although they agree that flexibility will help fill those positions.

The bottom line: define the reasons your company is better to work at than your competitors, whether it be salary, flexibility, or any of the other above points.

This should be the ‘sell’ in your offer to the candidate and tailored to the feedback mentioned in the first point.


3. Be aware of counteroffers


We’ve talked about engineering hiring being incredibly competitive now; this means you now must be ever aware of counteroffers from the current employer of your candidate.

The key is to prepare the candidate for the inevitable counteroffer from their existing employer. Understand how they would feel if presented with one and prepare them for that conversation. Ask how they would think if it did arrive; would a fresh injection of cash be enough to keep them?

Employees have several reasons for wanting to leave a company. These could be, and not limited to, any of the following reasons:

  • Toxic workplace culture
  • Not enough career progression
  • Poor work/life balance
  • Lack of flexibility
  • Not being paid enough

Ultimately, if the employee believes they are worth X, why is their current employer not already paying them that? Sure, a significant pay increase can help temporarily bridge the gap or at least stop the bleeding. Still, data has shown that a counteroffer will only be a temporary measure, and most employees will leave within the year following the pay rise.

As the employee, your boss may expect more of you now that you have had a pay rise, and the reasons you had for leaving initially, which may be any of the above, softened with more money, now are more severe and evident to you.

So as the hiring manager or recruiter, how can you avoid your perfect candidate running off to a competitor and ruining your hiring plan?

The answer isn’t exactly simple and will vary from candidate to candidate. While hiring plans can be flexible for the right person, you typically have a budget to stick to, so this is where the previous point about presenting your offer will pay dividends if you get it right.  

There are a few things you can do to secure that candidate, though:

  • Understand the motivations of the candidate; why are they considering the counteroffer?
  • Reiterate your employee value proposition; this is an opportunity to sell the role again. Do communicate openly and honestly, however, as transparency with the candidate about what you can and can’t offer will ultimately benefit both parties. You don’t want to hire the employee and have them leave in the first year because what you were ‘selling’ wasn’t true.
  • Be willing to negotiate; is the candidate purely motivated by money? Or are your competitors offering something you can’t?
  • Move quickly. Make your decision and communicate it efficiently and swiftly to your potential employee.

I can’t promise this will always work; sometimes, you must settle for the second choice. Just make sure your recruitment strategy is robust enough that you have a shortlist of excellent candidates to deliver your projects on time and with quality effectively.

Ultimately, proper preparation of the candidate and nurturing them before their first day will be the tell-tale that they are joining a company that sees them as a valuable asset.


4. Continue nurturing the candidate throughout the onboarding stage


We’ve all been through it; you go through an interview process and get a start date, then nothing.

Whether you’re the hiring manager or the HR department within your company, you need to keep the candidate engaged with your company in the lead-up to the start date.

Engineering companies suffer from onboarding issues with IT due to intense security procedures and sometimes a lack of processes for smaller firms. You can try the following methods to engage the candidate:

  • Providing them with their IT equipment if they’re working remotely
  • Get involved with their accounts and access, speaking with the team to prepare them for their first day.
  • Inviting them to a company-hosted event prior to their start date
  • Give them some material to read about the company
  • Get them involved by brushing up on company procedures and reading the guides and requirements for some projects you work on.

This is a short list and by no means definitive! Do what you can within the constraints of your procedures and security.


5. Provide a solid onboarding process and experience


There are times when projects and time-consuming meetings have taken precedence in your working day, and then it’s Friday afternoon, and you have a new starter on Monday. You haven’t got their IT equipment ready or booked a meeting room for their onboarding. Sound familiar?

You need a solid onboarding process; whether it is your HR team reminding you, or you have an EMS [employee management system], or a workflow within your regular IT software that can send you automated reminders, for any size of an organisation, it’s a top priority to sort out in your company to ensure you’re creating the right impression on your employees.

This may sound self-explanatory, but the number of times it is overlooked is unfortunate. Get this right, and your employee will have a great impression from the first day. It will help retain them as long as all the other parts of your candidate experience and employee value proposition are defined and communicated.


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