by Matt Thomas

You have found a candidate you like and you are excited to extend an offer. As you type up the particulars (performance expectations, start date, comp, etc.) you feel your hands start to sweat. “He said that our comp was in range, didn’t he? She gave me a ballpark of what she currently brings in so this isn’t a haircut, right? Maybe I can save $5k here just in case they ask for a relocation package. Do we have a relocation package? That’s in the employee handbook. When’s the last time I looked at the employee handbook? Do we even have one?”

You button it up and press send (usually at the end of the day and far too often on a Friday!). You are 90% positive they will accept but that 10% sure is keeping you from being able to pay attention at your kiddos soccer game on Saturday morning. Sunday rolls around and you still haven’t heard back. “It’s the weekend so they probably aren’t online, good for them.” Work/life balance yada yada. Monday morning and still nothing. Should I call? No, then I look desperate. But I am desperate!

Monday evening, “Ping!” They are excited about the opportunity but unfortunately……you fill in the blank. They have a better offer. The comp is less than they expected. Or worst case, they are insulted and no longer interested in the position. You grumble something about “entitled millennials” and go back through your pipeline to see what your backup options are. You tell yourself they weren’t really a good fit in the first place and this is for the best. Back to square one.

Does this scenario sound familiar? We’ve seen it happen over and over again, and for a company in need, it can be a major blow. Even when you’re able to get on the same page and close the deal, the damage has been done and the excitement around a new hire gets sucked out of the room for everyone involved. It doesn’t have to be this way. We strongly encourage all of our clients to practice the art of pre-closing. Negotiate the details prior to extending an offer.

It is normal and common for companies and their candidates to negotiate the particulars of an offer. Why wait? Get out in front of it. The conversation should start something like this, “Hey we’re excited to put together an offer for you, but first let’s dive into the specifics to make sure we’re on the same page.” It’s that simple! You lay out your terms, they counter, you counter, they agree (or walk away) and then sending out an offer letter is a mere formality. The deal is already done.

Most hiring managers and business owners assume that candidates will take less to work in an environment with a strong culture and real opportunity. Not true. Compensation gets people in the door, culture and opportunity are what keep them there. Don’t be afraid to dive into the details early and often until you have extreme clarity. You’ll sleep better, and when those Saturday morning soccer games roll around, you’ll be present with the people that matter the most.

(At CV our Staffing Consultants stay engaged in the hiring process all the way up to and through a start date. They negotiate on behalf of the company and the candidate, ultimately helping smooth out the path towards a great hire and a great opportunity.)