December 14, 2020

8 Things Candidates Love (Or Hate) About Job Offers

by Mary Newgard

July’s Ask the Insurance Recruiter column, “10 Ways to Impress Candidates During Interviews, turned out to be my most popular article of the year. With only this edition to go, we’ll have to see if it holds the #1 spot!  

I believe this is because insurance agencies understand the correlation between the hiring process and hiring success. Interviews are an obvious way where things went right and wrong. Equally as important is when you make an offer which, from what I’ve seen in my 15-year career, has the greatest chance for inconsistency among agencies and often within them.  

Taking a page from July’s theme, here is a similar list to improve your offer presentation. These are easy things I hope you’re already doing, but if not, then let this list be a great conversation starter with your leadership team. 

#1- Candidates Love When You Make It Personal 

Do you call immediately before AND after the offer letter is sent? If not, do both with the operative word being immediately. This is an opportune time to reinforce your excitement and positivity about reaching the finish line. 

#2- Candidates Love Supporting Documents 

An offer packet is powerful compared to an offer letter. The packet (which can be digital or compiled in a beautiful company folder) needs to include information on action items such as: 

  • A benefits overview 
  • PTO schedule 
  • Relocation reimbursement contract 
  • Non-compete agreement 
  • Background check release  
  • Final approved job description 

#3- Candidates Hate A ‘Take It Or Leave It’ Vibe 

You offered this person a job for a reason, but have you considered that your approach may fail to make an emotional connection? Remind the candidate that you are their advocate. You are here for them. If something isn’t perfect, you want to work on correcting it together. 

#4- Candidates Hate Surprises 

In just the past month, I’ve had clients present offers 30% less than the candidate’s stated compensation expectation and double the job requirements. The time for you to raise objections or ask for modifications to salary, bonus, job duties, work schedules and other fixed factors was during the interviews. We’re in a competitive job market. The more extreme the surprise the swifter the rejection will be.  

#5- Candidates Hate Resignations & Counteroffers 

Put on your superhero cape. This is your time to shine.  

  • Do you prepare the candidate for their resignation?  
  • Do you coach them on what to say if their employer throws out a counter?  
  • Do you role play the “what if” scenarios of their two-week resignation?   

No matter their seniority, all candidates from one year to 30 years of experience hates this kind of difficult conversation. You can and should help. 

#6- Candidates Love When You Overdeliver 

A sign on bonus you didn’t mention before. A $100 Starbucks gift card with a note that says, “You’ll Like This New Job A-Latte!” After a long job search, tiresome interview process or tough negotiations, it’s time for you to bring on the feel-good moments. 

#7– Candidates Hate Lowball Offers 

Have you ever had to justify an offer that didn’t meet the candidate’s expectations? You may have uttered phrases like ‘internal equity’, ‘the potential of total earnings’ or ‘there is no way to move up if we start at the high end of our range’. Candidates perceive these comments as excuses. Work through gaps in compensation expectations during the final interview or pre-offer negotiations. 

#8- Candidates Love Communication 

Create a Communication Calendar for the time period between acceptance and start date. At a minimum, you need to check in with the candidate weekly. Ask them: 

  • “How are you doing?” 
  • “Are you and your family still feeling good about everything?”  
  • “How’s your boss been acting since you resigned?” 

I’ve seen agencies really step up their game beyond a phone, text or email. Every person they’ll work with sends a “Welcome To The Team” message with fun facts about themselves. Especially at this time of year, invite the new hire to the holiday party. Send social media invitations & already start working on updating their LinkedIn profile and new company bio. 

“Ask the Insurance Recruiter” is a monthly column written by Mary Newgard, Partner and published in partnership with Insurance Journal Magazine. Visit Insurance Journal Magazine’s website for a complete list of previous articles. For questions and comments, email Mary at


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