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The Art of the Same Day Job Offer

Debbie Madden
Jun 12, 2012

To land the best developers in town, make a job offer the same day you bring the candidate on site.

I have spoken to hundreds of hiring managers over the last 16 years. I often get asked: Where are all the good developers? How come I can’t manage to hire any of them? When I dig into their recruiting process in the hopes of helping the hiring manager answer this question, I too often find that they are doing more things than they realize right, but are getting in their own way in the end zone.

It often plays out like this: The company writes an engaging and fun job description and gets some interest. Company interviews a handful of developers. Then….. thinks about who they like best. By the time the hiring managers decide who they want to make an offer to, they are often shocked to learn the developer has multiple offers or worse, has already accepted another job.

Please believe me when I tell you that developers are interviewing with more than just your company and often, the simple act of being the first to offer them a job puts you at an advantage.

Oh, and as a side note, if you are a small (less than 100 people) business, it also goes a long way to have the CEO or senior execs personally speak with the candidates that are getting a job offer. Candidates want to work for a small company often because they believe in the vision of those that are running it. It’s very powerful to allow the candidates the chance one-on-one to chat with those creating this vision, to hear first hand about the company and to ask questions.

In response to this, I often hear “Well, I believe you, but we just can’t make a job offer the same day we bring a candidate on site.” Oh really? Please tell me why, I’d love to hear it.

I will bet you $5 that you can. Here’s an exercise that will help you figure out how. Ask yourself “Why” five times. (Wikipedia describes 5 Whys as “a question-asking technique used to explore the cause-and-effect relationships underlying a particular problem. The primary goal of the technique is to determine the root cause of a defect or problem.”). The idea is to identify the root cause and then work on addressing this root cause. That in turn will allow you achieve progress on the item you initially identified as an issue.

Here’s an example of how this may play out:

  • Why can’t I make a job offer to candidates the same day I bring them onsite?

Answer: Because our CEO isn’t always onsite the same day we bring the candidates onsite, and we have to get his approval before we make any offers.

  • Why do we have to get the CEO approval before making an offer?

Answer: Because we want to ensure we hire candidates that meet our criteria both financially and technically, and also fit with our culture and the CEO is the one who approves these decisions.

  • Why can’t we pre-define our criteria so that senior execs know when they see a candidate that meets these criteria?

Answer: We could, but our CEO also wants to personally meet each candidate that we make an offer to.

  • Why can’t we make the offer while the candidate is onsite, and tell them everyone that gets an offer gets to meet the CEO in person, and then schedule the CEO meeting within the next week.

Answer: I guess we can. But, what if the CEO doesn’t agree with our assessment?

  • Why can’t the offer be contingent upon the CEO meeting going well?

Answer: I guess it can.

This is a very simple example. I am certain your particular hiring process and company situation is unique. If anyone would like help with the Five Whys exercise, email me and I can facilitate the discussion.

Once you identify the root cause of not being able to make a job offer the same day a candidate is onsite, it is useful to get the team buy-in to address the root cause, with the goal of achieving same day job offers.

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