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The art of the job offer: Grow your business with intentional hiring

How to extend a job offer

Realizing that it’s time to bring on a new hire can be exciting but scary.  

On one hand, your business is growing, and that’s a great thing. On the other, the entire hiring process can seem intimidating. How will you find the right candidate — and even if you do find them, how can you be sure they’ll want to work with you?

These worries aren’t unfounded. The latest recruiting benchmarks reveal that the average offer acceptance rate is holding steady at 73%, which means that more than a quarter of job offers are turned down. Job seekers have more agency, with the rise of remote work and transparency around salaries and job titles. This means you’ll have to be intentional about the way you hire. 

The good news? While acceptance of an offer is never guaranteed, you can boost your chances by taking your time during the interview process and crafting a solid job offer for the right candidate. Read on to learn why you should always do a pre-offer call, what to include in your offer letter, how to send the letter, and more!

Use the interview process to get on the same page

The interview process is the time to check for alignment between the candidate and your open role. 

Obviously, compensation is a big part of that. At OpenPhone, we talk to candidates about compensation early in the process and ensure we are aligned. A good way to have this conversation would be to share a target salary for the role and ask the candidate if it matches their expectations. While including salary bands isn’t required in every state, we are a remote-first company, so including that information is a simple way to be sure we’re in compliance with all applicable laws (and attract the right candidates). 

Another key thing to consider is value alignment. Does this candidate have the qualities you want your business to embody? For Tem Nugmanov, Founder and CEO of Optemization, values are paramount. He’s ironed out the values that matter to Optemization, and when he interviews people, he’s looking for those qualities. 

Your goal throughout the interviews should be to get to a point where you’re ready to make a decision and you have all the information you need to do that.

I typically make hiring decisions during the final interview. By then, I have a good understanding of who the candidate is, what they’re looking for, and whether that lines up with what our company needs.

Tem Nugmanov, Founder and CEO of Optemization

If all of those things match, it’s time to move on to the next step! 

The power of the pre-offer call 

As the VP of Recruiting at OpenPhone, I’ve worked with a number of tech startups to source and build strong teams. Before I make a firm offer, I hold a pre-offer call to express interest in the candidate and confirm whether that interest is reciprocated. 

Having the conversation via phone can let you know right away if the candidate is excited about working with you before you put the time into an offer letter. Ask questions during the call to assess whether the candidate is considering other offers, too. If they are, ask for details around timing so you can plan your offer accordingly.

Beyond that, use the pre-offer call to revisit alignment on the salary range and compensation package. If it’s not an exact fit, be creative! For example, if the salary is off, perhaps a one-time signing bonus can be approved to meet the applicant halfway.

You should also take the opportunity to walk the candidate through your total compensation package. This includes the base salary, benefits and perks, and if relevant, variable compensation and equity.

Ideally, at this stage you’ve created enough alignment to where the candidate is ready to accept, but negotiations do happen. Your candidate could also be looking for more information about benefits or may like to speak to the manager they’d be reporting to one more time, and you set that meeting up.

Once negotiations conclude and I get a verbal acceptance from a candidate, it’s time to formalize things by sending over a formal offer via email.

What to include in your offer of employment

Remember: By the time you send the offer letter, there should be no surprises. All the questions the candidate had were answered, and you’ve spelled out what they can expect when onboarding with your company.

That means it’s time to focus on the good stuff: showing this top candidate just how excited you are for them to join your team! 

Start your offer letter with a big congrats. Make sure the person feels welcomed to the team. If it feels natural, add personalized touches reminding them of things you talked about and why they’re a good fit for the role.

Here are some other helpful things to include in the offer letter: 

  • The job title and who the job will report to
  • Job responsibilities and expectations 
  • Compensation and benefits package (for contractors, the package will be a lot less complex than for full-time employees) 
  • Start date and location information, if needed
  • Terms of employment (is the position full- or part-time, or is this a contract role? Is employment contingent on a successful background check? etc.) 
  • Evaluation period details (if the new hire will be subject to a probationary period)
  • Clear next steps for the candidate to accept the offer and complete any necessary paperwork

Once you have the offer letter drafted, consult with relevant team members. Have them review the offer to make sure it’s in line with applicable HR laws and regulations. 

PS: If you’re stressed about having to know a ton of HR laws, don’t worry. Plenty of founders, including Tem, partner with a Chief of Staff or Head of HR to ensure compliance. If you’re working with a distributed team, we recommend checking out Deel

Time to send the letter — but how?

Gone are the days when people waited around for weeks for an employment offer via telephone. These days, you want to act fast! Thankfully, technology allows us to do just that. 

Tem keeps it super casual with a DM or an email spelling out the offer and asking for a candidate’s commitment. Here at OpenPhone, we email offer letters via Docusign embedded into Greenhouse, an applicant tracking system. Once a candidate signs the offer, it’s official — they’re hired! 

Docusign greenhouse integration
OpenPhone uses the Docusign – Greenhouse integration to send offer letters

Other options include meeting in person to present the offer letter or using your talent acquisition portal (for companies that are more established in their hiring processes).

If sending the offer letter over the internet feels a bit too casual, remember that you’ve already conducted the pre-offer call and hashed through the details of employment with the candidate. Think of sending the offer letter as the second part of a two-pronged approach that relies on both phone and email communication.

Once your offer is accepted, don’t forget to follow up

You’ve officially done it: You interviewed a qualified candidate, clarified their expectations and your own, made an offer, and they’ve made the final decision to accept it. Yay! What’s next? 

In your offer letter, you provided clear next steps and timeframes for the candidate. Now, you’ll need to follow up to be sure those are taken care of. Whether it’s paperwork that needs to be filed, scheduling a drug screen, or something else, stay on top of the process to be sure nothing falls through the cracks. Additionally, have a dedicated team member on call in case the candidate has any questions. 

In the meantime, get things going behind the scenes to be sure the new hire has access to any accounts and documents they’ll need on day one of the job. This can help new employees focus on more meaningful tasks once they’ve started and catch them up to speed faster. 

Remember to keep an open line of communication with the candidate until they join the team — and even after. This will go a long way toward maintaining their enthusiasm and helping them to feel comfortable at the company. 

Intentional hiring is the best long-term strategy

When you take the time to find a value-aligned candidate for each role, you set your business up to grow sustainably. You don’t want to sell anyone on a job that won’t suit them in the long run; you want folks who are genuinely stoked to work for your company. 

Intentional hiring starts long before the job offer is extended, with candid interview conversations and pre-offer calls. By the time you’ve identified that someone’s the right fit, they should also feel like they’re the right fit.

From there, craft a thorough offer letter, send it over, follow up, and get ready to onboard your newest team member!

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