By Gemma Morris
2nd April 2013

As an interviewer it’s easy to get excited when you’re wowed by a candidate during interview; especially if it’s been a long process to find them. All of a sudden there’s a sense of urgency to let them know you want them and find out if they feel the same way about the job. Great talent is in demand and you don’t want to miss out. Why waste time when you can offer them the job on the spot?!

Although I can see how tempting this could be, on the spot offers are dangerous, as that’s exactly what they do. It puts the candidate on the spot. Suddenly the candidate is under pressure to give you an answer. They may well say yes even though there are still questions to be answered or say no because they think the role may not meet one of their needs. Recently we had a situation where a candidate turned down a great opportunity because his current job offered him flexibility to work round childcare. Working closely with the client and the candidate we were able to overcome this and come to a flexible working arrangement that kept them both happy. A knee jerk reaction to turn down a job was in fact something that we were able to resolve. Had this been an ‘on the spot offer’ the outcome would have been different.

Although I'm with you on not wasting time - top talent is in demand and we should be moving through the process and quickly as possible – it’s important to make sure that you don’t compromise the outcome and miss vital parts of the negotiation process. As recruiters in the Information Management industry we've seen many situations where on the spot offers have created issues for our clients.

Susie Lee-Kilgariff, Director at Northern Light Marketing says “I find I have a strong emotional reaction in an interview to people I like and get along well with. I have been guilty of making on the spot offers at least twice because I just got carried along on a wave of excitement. The end of the recruitment process is in sight! 

The danger I've found over time is that I tend to recruit clones rather than the person who has the best skills or the person who will challenge me and help the department grow.  That’s the kind of insight I get only after sleeping on it for a while”.

Sometimes in the heat of the moment finer details can be missed. Recently I heard how someone had made an offer without checking if the candidate had a driving license. The job required substantial travel to clients but once the candidate had accepted it came to light they had been banned from driving. As you can imagine, using public transport meant a lot of extra time out of the office travelling to and from client site. It wasn't the ideal situation and could have been avoided if they had discussed all the details with the recruitment agency before making an offer.

Another common situation when candidates are given an on the spot offer is suddenly they think they are pulling all the strings and by the time we speak to them they want more money.

The truth is there is a lot more to making a job offer than people think. It’s a crucial point of the hiring process and negotiations between the employer and the candidate need to be carefully managed.

Our job is to ensure we have a thorough understanding of each candidate’s requirements; not only from a financial point of view but in terms of long term career goals, personal needs and motivations. We also make sure that we understand exactly what our client is looking for including the scope of the role, the longer term benefits, as well the nitty gritty of how things fit in with the candidates personal requirements. That way we can ensure things that are going to be deal breakers are dealt with as early in the process as possible.

After interview gaining feedback from both the candidate and client is vital so we have a clear picture of where each party is coming from.

The aim is it that by the time we make an offer on your behalf we are able to demonstrate to the candidate how your job meets all of their needs and career goals as well as the financial/benefits package.

And not only that! We will already know what the outcome is going to be. By this stage we expect most candidates to be a dead cert and if they are not we will already have made you aware of potential issues. 

Have you ever made an on the spot offer? Was the outcome a good or did it come back to bite you in the bum?


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