When you consider making a job offer, it’s tempting to offer the job to the candidate who is most like you. The candidate feels as comfortable as a well-worn shoe. You won’t get many surprises once you make the job offer, and your gut is comfortable that your favorite candidate can do the job.
Beware, beware this practice. Why does your organization need another employee just like you, a candidate who is as comfortable as a well-worn shoe? Is this candidate for your job offer really the best that you can do?
Does she complement the rest of the team and bring new skills to the table? Does she expand the capacity of your team to contribute to your organization? For the best possible hire, all of this must be true.
Before You Make the Job Offer
What factors must you consider when you’re down to the wire and making the actual hiring decision? Before you make a job offer, consider these issues.
But, first, let’s backtrack for a moment. You've gone through all of the expected steps to prepare to make a job offer. You've:
- Reviewed job applications to select the most qualified candidates to interview.
- Invited your best candidates in to interview with your interview team.
- Held second, and even third interviews, with your candidates who appear to be the most qualified for your job.
- Obtained interview debriefing information from all employees who participated in your interview process.
- Performed background checks to validate each finalist’s credentials.
7 Factors to Consider
You’ve now reached the most critical point in the many-step hiring process. Given your essentially qualified candidates, who will get the job offer? The small group tasked with the final decision must decide on the candidate who will receive the job offer.
Do you go with your gut and make the job offer to the candidate that you like the best? Offer the job to the candidate you’d most enjoy having lunch with regularly?
Throw your hands up in the air and recognize that all of your finalists could actually do the job? Pick the person whose recent experience is most relevant to your company’s products and customers? The final hiring decision is a dilemma you face every time you want to make a job offer.
At this fork in the road, your candidates have been verified as having particular skills and experience. Here are the seven critical factors to consider before you select and hire your candidate.
1. Team Feedback
Review the feedback information from the employees who served on your interview team. It’s impossible for 10-12 people to sit at the table to make the final decision, but their input deserves attention and review. Before a recent job offer, three interview team members gave the hiring manager the feedback that one of the candidates appeared to have a 9 to 5 mindset.
In a company where every employee does whatever needs to be done when needed, this vibe rubbed the interviewers the wrong way. It was the ultimate deal breaker for the candidate who did not receive the job offer.
2. Reference Checks
If you have been able to obtain feedback from former supervisors and managers of the potential employee, you have a goldmine to review. Yes, people change, but not that much, and not that quickly. So, performance feedback, and especially the positive response to the question, would you rehire this employee, should be a powerful factor in your decision to make a job offer.
3. Culture Fit
The time you spend with each candidate is an opportunity to assess the candidate’s potential to fit within your culture. Does this mean that you select the candidate you like the best? Not if you want to make the best job offer. What you seek when you consider cultural fit is the candidate who will succeed in your workplace. For example, you don’t want to select an employee who prefers to work alone for a job whose holder will only succeed by influencing a larger team.
You don’t want to make a job offer to a candidate who was energetic, forceful, and well-qualified — when he interviewed with your company’s executives. But, in the interview with potential coworkers, he, literally, talked over their heads, impatiently checked his watch several times, and asked, is that all, after the fifth or sixth question. He won’t fit into a culture that values the unique contribution of each employee, regardless of the level or job.
On the other hand, you don’t want to eliminate a hard-charging candidate, even if she makes the committee a bit uncomfortable with her energy, dedication, and drive. Maybe your organization could use, as Emeril from The Food Network says, some bam and bam and bam, to kick the energy and drive up a notch. So, be careful with cultural fit. The goal is not that all employees are vanilla when you consider making a job offer.
4. Ability to Do the Job
You do need to assess whether you are confident that the potential employee, with appropriate training and mentoring, can do the job. In answering this question, you also need to assess your candidate’s relevant experience.
Rarely is a new job an exact match with what an employee did in another organization. Perhaps your candidate for a customer service role has fantastic verbal skills and professionally and positively served customers face-to-face all day long. Can he bring these skills to bear on a customer service function that is 100 percent on the phone and by email?
Maybe, maybe not. Did you test his ability to write a coherent email? Will he thrive in an environment in which his only face-to-face interaction is with coworkers? These are tough questions when you assess a candidate’s ability to do your job before you make a job offer. In another example, your candidate excelled at selling clothing in a retail store. Does that mean that she can do sales for your organization? Maybe.
Can she bring these sales skills to a sales job that requires her to collect information in an email form and then, price a bid for the client’s business? Does she have the follow-up skills and persistence necessary to pursue the potential sale for six months to a year? How about her ability to handle rejection at work? In a retail setting, it’s just another sweater. After six months of pursuing a client’s business, failure to make a sale is discouraging and deflating.
5. Commitment to Growth
A powerful question that needs an answer when you consider making a candidate a job offer is whether the candidate will continue to grow his skills in your organization. The ability of your employees to grow, develop new skills, keep up with the changing world and marketplace is critical.
What did you hear the candidate say during the interviews that enables you to believe that he is committed to keeping growing? What in the candidate’s background tells you that the potential employee is committed to ongoing development?
Does your candidate read, participate in workplace book clubs, stay abreast of his field professionally? Is he interested in the world and do you have the sense that he continually looks at the marketplace and adjusted his skills and practice accordingly? Does he learn new programming languages and obtain viable certifications? You must see evidence of a commitment to growth. If he doesn’t have this commitment prior to your job offer, he won’t suddenly obtain it when you hire him to do your job
These questions lead us to your next factor that needs serious consideration before you make a job offer. Which of your candidates has the most upside potential? Beyond a commitment to learning and developing more skills, will your candidate be capable of progressing in your organization? If an employee, does she have managerial potential and interest.
6. Leadership Potential
Can you see her developing the skills necessary to lead a project team? You are not making a job offer just for your currently open job. You are asking an individual to join your company. And, it is often way too tempting to hire the first warm body who can do the job — an unfilled position is painful and the work is piling up.
But, this is a significant mistake in candidate selection. It’s one that you’ll want to combat, too. You may even have a supervisor who secretly, with or without awareness, wants to make a job offer to the candidate who will stay in the current job forever. You want to make a job offer to the individual who exhibits the most upside potential for your organization. To do less than this, in your job offer, is to nullify your entire selection process. Because, yes, you can do better than this.
7. Strategic Value
Finally, you need to assess which candidate will add overall strategic and personal value to your workplace. Which candidate can you visualize working across department boundaries to forge cohesive solutions for customers? Will one of your candidates head up philanthropic giving over time — she expressed a deep commitment to giving to the community and her actions bore out her words. Did one of your candidates exhibit behaviors in the past that lead you to believe that she will continue to care about coworkers in her new job, should you make the job offer.
You need to consider the overall value that the candidate offered in her prior employment. Did she learn the company’s products even though her job was not to sell them? Did she keep up with the happenings in different departments and exhibit an overall value for and concern about the whole organization? Or, did she sit at her desk and just do her job? You are seeking to make the job offer to the candidate most likely to add value to your overall organization and its customers.
Review What You've Learned
These are the seven critical factors that you must consider before you make a job offer. Sadly, you may find, when you consider these questions and key factors, that you don’t have all of the information that you need for your assessment.
A phone call or two might solve your information problem, but it’s much more important to prepare your team to do a better job in the future.
This is a great opportunity for you to assess your recruiting and hiring process and interview questions. You want to make sure that you are better prepared in future recruitments, to obtain the information that you need, so that you can make a more educated and informed job offer.