February 24, 2022

What Candidates Say a Good Offer Looks Like

by Chris Winterboer

I’m going to go out on a limb and say that you’ve more than likely heard “It’s a candidate driven market” over the last 12-18 months. There’s no doubt the last year and a half has been unlike any other hiring period in recent memory. Here’s the thing I’ve learned over the years and have been reminded of constantly in these crazy times. Everything you do in the hiring process needs to be tempered with a simple question, “Is this what candidates want?”


The answer is so important to your recruiting success. “No” means you’re not likely to get them onboard. “Yes” makes every step in your hiring process easier and faster including at the most important stage… the offer.


If you want to gain a competitive recruiting advantage, start by analyzing the end of your process. Offering candidates what they say makes a good offer sets you up for enormous success.

"They were great communicators."

In an effort to be expeditious and get offers out quickly, one thing we’ve noticed is that companies have skipped over the extra phone call before presenting the offer. An email with terms out of the clear blue sky feels less personal which means the candidate spends more time scrutinizing the details rather than feeling their way into a decision.

  • Don’t rely upon a one-page letter and a brief email or text to do the job. Verbalize the offer and get some level of buy-in. Then send the document.
  • Even if HR presents the offer, make sure your hiring manager checks in to reinforce how excited the team is to have the individual come on board.
  • Be pro-active in your post-presentation communication. Put a call on the calendar no more than 24 hours later to answer any and all questions the candidate may have. Use this call as a way to inquire about their timeline to make a decision.

"They exceeded my expectations."

A question we often ask candidates is, “What’s your easy yes offer?” You’d be surprised what information they share….and it’s not always just about compensation. Here are some of the notable “exceeds” we’ve heard from job seekers recently:

  • A signing bonus offered for mid-level, $55k-$80k, to help make the job change easier.
  • A 90-day performance review & raise especially when the person is walking away from an annual bonus or taking a step back in salary.
  • New home office furniture- chairs, desks, an extra monitor, cell phone reimbursement- add up for folks who will spend any amount of time- hybrid or 100%- working from home.

"They made me feel like there will be work-life balance."

Culture is a big reason why people change jobs. They gain a lot of perspective during the interview process, but at the end of the day there is risk with a move like this. They need to be 100% convinced that you value their professional AND personal wellbeing. The best offers address those concerns head on.

  • Clearly outline PTO policies- how time off is tracked and what situations require approval. Include copies from the employee handbook on PTO accrual and the holiday schedule.
  • Define, in writing, your flex time policy. This could be customized days/hours for their position to office vs. WFH and even commuter benefits.
  • Attach your benefits summary along with information on wellness resources. So many candidates are also dependent caregivers who need to know you can offer support to fit each person’s individual circumstances.
  • Show an overview of their onboarding and training schedule. A lot of people change jobs because of a negative experience reporting to a manager who’s never dealt with remote employees. You can counteract that by proactively showing how their supervisor will interact with them from day one.


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