Current global events have resulted in most employers of accountants and bookkeepers suddenly finding those ‘hard to fill’ roles have more qualified and suitable people applying to work with them than they can remember in recent times.
Assuming you’ve done all the right things* in shortlisting, interviewing and testing the best applicants, you still need to get your preferred candidate over the line by making a convincing job offer and not losing them to competing job offers.
Jorg Stegemann, a recruiter and Director of Executive Search at Experis Executive (a division of ManPower Group), clearly lists 8 steps to a successful job offer that you should build into your toolkit:
- Move fast.
If you’ve made a decision, why wait? Time is always your enemy in your recruiting, even in a down economy exceptional talent is rare.
Whenever possible contact the selected candidate later the same day of their final interview. If not, make contact within a day or two at most. Not only can you ease the candidate’s stress during the post-interview waiting period but you also show how thrilled you are to make them a part of your team.
- Always call.
Some companies send emails or letters. Don’t. Make a phone call; not only can you convey your excitement, but you can gauge the level of enthusiasm of the selected candidate, too.
- Be enthusiastic.
Be professional but be enthusiastic. Tell the candidate he/she was your first choice. Explain how impressed others are with his/her background and skills.
It’s natural to play your cards close to your chest during the interview and selection process, but once you’ve made a decision, drop your reserve. Don’t worry—conveying your excitement won’t affect the salary negotiation process.
Remember, the employer-employee relationship doesn’t start the first day on the job. It officially starts with the job offer. Make that moment memorable for the candidate.
- Apply the 10% rule.
Generally speaking, candidates expect a pay increase of at least 10% when they change jobs. Few candidates will change jobs for the same or lower salary (barring unusual circumstances, of course.) And if they do, they’ll feel some level of resentment every time they get paid.
Never offer a salary below their current salary unless there are concrete, objective reasons to do so—and even then, think hard about it.
- Show the money.
Explain pay and benefits as thoroughly and accurately as possible. Describe the base salary, how any bonus plans work, provide a fairly thorough overview of any other benefits, and describe any other perks. Then follow through with a written breakdown of all salary and benefits terms. Never give an employee any reason to feel they were the victim of a salary bait and switch—and never make bonus or perk promises you cannot keep.
- Get a commitment—even a tentative one.
Many candidates will ask for time to consider the offer. That’s natural—but that doesn’t mean you can’t ask questions. Say, “I completely understand… but can I ask what you think about our offer?”
Any hesitation the candidate feels indicates they may turn you down, so ask questions, without being pushy, and see if you can overcome any objections or provide additional information that will make acceptance more likely.
- Follow up in writing.
Then put everything in an email or letter. Include all elements of the offer: job title, base salary, benefits, annual holidays, leave entitlements, etc. And make sure to set a deadline on acceptance; three days is typical.
- Ask the “killer question.”
If you can’t get a good read on the candidate’s level of interest, if the decision-making period is dragging on, or if you just want to make absolutely sure the candidate will show up on their first day, ask this question: “I interviewed two other good candidates for this job. Can I tell them the job has been filled?”
Few people will lie about their intentions, especially when lying might affect another person that really wanted the job.
*if you have any doubt on whether you are doing all the right things in your recruitment & selection, drop me an email & I’ll send you our complimentary guide to Hiring the Perfect Accountant
Steve Evans has a whole career dedicated to enabling employers to attract, recruit, develop and retain talented individuals and teams, with particular expertise in candidate testing and assessment before jointly setting up Accountests in 2013. Accountests deliver the world’s only online suite of annually updated and country-specific technical knowledge tests for accountants and bookkeepers. www.accountests.com
P.S. Whenever you’re ready… here are 4 ways we can help you grow your Accounting or Bookkeeping business:
1. Grab a free copy of our book – Accountants 20-Hour Workweek
It’s the blueprint to structure, staff and scale your firm whilst dramatically reducing your work hours. — Click Here
2. Join the Wize WaterCooler and connect with other Accountants who are scaling too
It’s our new Facebook community where business-minded Accountants and Bookkeepers learn to build a firm that runs without them. — Click Here
3. Join our new WizePulse Implementation Program
We’re putting together a new mentoring case study group this month. If you’d like to get the plan, tools and advice from the Wize Mentors to scale your firm… just send us a message with the word “Pulse” – Click Here
4. Work with the Wize Guys privately
If you’d like to work directly with the Wize Mentor team to take you from stuck to scale…just send us a message with the word “Growth”… tell us a little about your firm and what you’d like help with, and we’ll get you all the details! – Click Here