News and advice for software sales professionals and employers.

How To Make An Offer – 7 Challenges Series

To continue our series on the challenges hiring managers face, we are considering how to make an offer once you’ve completed the interview process. If you missed part 3 of the series, we discussed Conducting a Successful Interview.

Make an offer in an effective and compelling manner

Once you’ve made your decision about whom you’d like to hire, it is important to have the best approach to make the offer. The first question to ask is: Has the candidate gathered/learned all the information needed to decide (except re: salary/compensation)?

Do NOT discuss an offer until you have asked one of the following:

  • “Do you feel you know enough about us and the opportunity at this point to make a decision?”
  • “Based on what you know, are you able to rank this opportunity against any others you have?”
  • “We are likely to decide later this week (or whenever). What is your timetable for making a decision?”

Once you’ve covered the issues above, only then should you move on to specific conversations about salary/compensation. If you believe salary/compensation may be an issue, you may want to preface the salary discussion with a reminder that several candidates are competing for this position—and that salary WILL be a factor. How you address salary initially should depend on how much the candidate makes now.

Here are a couple of scenarios:

  1. If they make less than your desired range, ask what they are looking for.
  2. If they make at the high end of your range or above it, tell them where an offer likely would likely come in (remember, still hypothetical at this point—still “IF we decided to move forward and make an offer, it likely would be about ___.

Once you’ve discussed the salary if you decide to go with this particular candidate, tell him/her that you intend to make an offer. However, remind them that there are other candidates, and ask that they be honest if they are on the fence. That way you won’t cut other candidates out of the loop anticipating their acceptance, and then have to scramble if they have second thoughts. Finally, if the start date is more than two weeks away, be SURE to arrange a meeting with the candidate within two weeks of him/her signing an offer letter (call it lunch, or whatever you want). This will help ensure the candidate actually starts, and help them to feel connected and in the loop while they’re waiting for their official start date.

Don’t forget to come back in the coming weeks when we address “Retaining Top Sales Professionals” once you’ve hired your top candidates.