WHY YOU SHOULD CONTINUE INTERVIEWING CANDIDATES AFTER MAKING AN OFFER
Let’s consider a typical recruitment process for tech roles.
You start by considering a screened shortlist of 3-5 candidates (if it’s more than this then you’re doing it wrong – and wasting too much precious life energy)
After a 2-3 stage interview process, you decide on someone you want to offer.
The offer is made, and the candidate does one of three things:
- Accepts it pretty much straight away (this candidate is guaranteed a place in heaven without reckoning btw)
- Rejects it (Hell, deffo)
- Decides they need to take some time to consider the offer (Limbo)
In the case of 3, it may be that they (quite reasonably) want to conclude their other interviews, they may (quite unreasonably) want to try to get a counteroffer, or they may have some concerns about the role/offer that they want to chew over.
However, in almost every case the employer stops interviewing and considering other prospects and instead waits for the candidate to come back to them…
….and then gets royally p#ssed off when the candidate rejects it and they need to start the whole process all over again.
I have good news though; it really doesn’t need to be this way.
Just as the candidate has a right to consider their options, have you ever considered the fact that you do too? I know, crazy. Who would have thought?!
A verbal/written offer does NOT need to be binding. As long as you are transparent and make it clear that whilst they are considering their options you will need to continue interviewing in case they reject the offer, then everyone knows where they stand and can’t complain.
Equally, you should make it clear to new interviewees that there is an offer outstanding, but you want to speak to them regardless as nothing is yet confirmed.
The advantages of doing this are obvious:
- If the offer is rejected, you have other prospects with momentum in the process
- It may encourage the offered candidate to take you more seriously and less likely to play you off against other offers
- You may actually find someone better!
- You may decide you can actually hire two people
- You are much less likely to cry ugly tears and eat a whole tub of Pringles if an offer is rejected
But what if, as in point 3, someone you interview turns out to be better than the previously offered candidate?
Well, you have two choices. You either withdraw the other offer and offer the new candidate instead or, if you don’t feel comfortable doing this, you give the other candidate a deadline after which you will extend an offer to the new candidate.
It’s not conventional thinking, I know, but as I said verbal/written offers (that are subject to references and a signed contract) are NOT binding.
As long as you/your recruiter makes it clear to the other candidate that you are going to continue interviewing and there is a chance you may offer someone else whilst they wait to make their decision, then there is absolutely nothing wrong with this approach.
Even if the second candidate you offer rejects it, you can always keep the door open to the first candidate, as long as you are transparent – it’s why working with emotionally intelligent and sensitive recruitment partners is so important! (*cough* Rebel)
To be clear, if a candidate only wants to take a couple of days to make a decision then I would suggest you don’t interview other candidates to save wasted energy, but if they want to take a week or more then rather than waiting and chewing your fingernails to the bone just carry on interviewing an encourage your recruiter to send other prospects through.
You’ll find that you not only de-risk your hiring plans, but you’ll feel much more in control of the recruitment process…and end up eating way fewer self-pity Pringles✊
If you’re experiencing a stop-start recruitment process for your tech roles and are getting more offers rejected than your heart can handle, drop me a line at firstname.lastname@example.org to see how we build more resilience into your hiring process!
– Written by Azar Hussain