Updated on June 24, 2013
Finally! You’ve found the right person for the right job. You’ve checked the candidate’s references, and everything looks good. Now, what’s the best way to extend the job offer to the candidate?
1. As part of your compensation strategy, research comparable salaries ahead of time, and design an offer that is as attractive and competitive as possible. There are many sites that can give you guidance.
2. Move quickly with your job offer. Remember, other companies may be courting your candidate as well, and you don’t want to lose out. As soon as you check the candidate’s references, it’s time to act.
3. Make your verbal offer by phone (contingent upon the passing of a background check and drug screen). Sell the job opportunity to the candidate, mentioning the starting salary any perks such as flex-time, benefits, or travel that the candidate might find attractive. If you haven’t already discussed the benefits package, be prepared to answer any questions the candidate may have about what is included, the waiting periods, etc.
4. Your next steps depend, of course, on the outcome of your offer.
—If their answer is no…If the candidate declines your offer on the basis of salary or another factor that’s negotiable, negotiate if possible.
—If maybe…If the candidate hesitates or needs more time, give them a day or so to consider your offer. During this time, come up with a follow-up offer just in case.
—If yes…If the candidate accepts your offer right away, find out how soon they can start.
5. Have the candidate sign the authorization paperwork for you to conduct a background check and drug screen. For more information on background checks, read our article Hiring: The Rules of Conducting Background Checks.
6. While you’re waiting for the screening results (which could take take anywhere from a few days to a few weeks, depending on the type of checks), follow up with an offer letter (download our free sample letter below). The offer letter outlines the terms of employment, including the job title, the salary you agreed upon, whether the position is full- or part-time, estimated start date, etc. The offer letter also gives both parties important documentation in case there’s a dispute.
7. Receive results of the background check and drug screen. If there are adverse items in the background check, follow the steps outlined in the Fair Credit Reporting Act so that the candidate can address any problems. (For more information, read our article on Following the Fair Credit Reporting Act.)
8. If the background check results are clear, the candidate can start work. Reconfirm the start date, and provide the candidate with specific instructions, including parking information, reporting manager’s name, important phone numbers, etc., before the start date.