Do you have an expiration date on your offer letters? #ghOPEN

I was out at Greenhouse OPEN this week and got into a conversation with a group of TA leaders about whether or not you should have expiration dates on offers. Which brings up a couple of things we need to discuss:

  1. Do you have candidates first verbally approve an offer before you send them the ‘official’ offer in writing?
  2. If you have expiration dates on an offer, how long do you give someone?

It was about 50/50 with the TA leaders on obtaining verbal approval first on offers. Basically, there seem to be two types of philosophies around this. Either you train your recruiters to pre-close and get them to verbally accept hoping that there will be limited negotiation once the final offer goes out. Or you just send, either believing you are offering what they want or hoping you are, and there won’t be much negotiation that takes place.

I’m fully in support of the pre-close and getting a verbal acceptance before sending out a final offer. I think it’s a massive misuse of resources to send out an offer, formally, then begin negotiations and continue to send out more offers. But, I also get that in many industries, still today, sending out a formal offer is needed because candidates have multiples coming in all at the same time.

In terms of expiration dates on offer letters, I think giving a candidate five working days is more than enough, especially if you’ve pre-closed. The leaders I was speaking to were between 48 hours and two-weeks.

I did bring up the concept of what if you explicitly made the offer letter have a much longer expiration like six months or one year? Could you potentially pick up some great talent that chooses to take another offer, for whatever reason, but got into that job or company and felt like they made a mistake and wanted a second chance with you?

We tend to never go back to candidates who turn us down, but in reality, they are all talent worth continuing to pursue. A certain number of candidates who turn you down will regret it soon after, and if you make them feel like they are welcome to come back and accept a later time, it might have a very happy ending.

Of course, extended expirations would only work in organizations and positions where you are continually going out and recruiting for those spots on an ongoing basis. Also, you could always rescind an offer at any point if you feel you no longer needed that talent in the organization.

It’s an interesting conversation to have with your hiring managers. Even if you’re not the “prettiest girl on the block” in terms of the offer, you still want to put some pressure on the candidate to make up their mind. Having an expiration time on the offer letter does put some pressure on them to make up their mind and move forward.

What do you think? Do you put expiration dates on offer letters? If so, how long?

2 thoughts on “Do you have an expiration date on your offer letters? #ghOPEN

  1. Agree 100% with verbal negotiations followed by final written offer after terms have been agreed. We do include a short expiration date for all offers, usually only a few days. I can’t picture a scenario where a longer expiration date would be beneficial. However, I do keep great candidates in mind for future roles even when their initial answer is no. Circumstances change and a no can become a yes when the timing is right.

  2. I always put an expiration date on offer letters – usually 3-5 business days. I also try to work out all of the details verbally before creating an offer letter for all of the reasons you have listed. Also, if we’ve verbally agreed on a start date that’s a couple of weeks out, we need the offer letter returned quickly so that we can start on-boarding the candidate in order to have enough time to complete all of the behind-the-scenes work that takes.

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