Exploding Job Offers!

I had a question the other day from an executive outside of HR and Talent. A C-suite type who was frustrated by the lack of hires his “HR” team was making. My first question was, does HR hire for you, or do you have a recruiting or talent acquisition team? He didn’t know. Problem number one.

This guy wanted my opinion, well, he really wanted my agreement if I’m honest, to something he was forcing his HR team to do with job offers. You see, they had many job offers turned down to accept another job offer. Basically, almost all candidates we have are interviewing at multiple places, and these are technically skilled candidates, in IT, engineering, etc.

His plan was to start offering expiring job offers so that the candidate would be forced to accept their offer at risk of losing it!

Brilliant, right!? He asked me…

Here’s my exact reply:

“So, in an employment market where the unemployment rate is around 1% for technical candidates, you feel the best strategy is to force someone to make a decision to come to work for you? Also, who says that they won’t just accept your offer, continue in the process while waiting on other offers to come, and eventually just leave you high and dry? Also, do you really want to start off an employment relationship with someone who felt forced to take your offer?”

His response:

“Well, the hell should we do?”

The Problem with Exploding Job Offers

  1. Expiring job offers only work on candidates who are lower end of the value chain, or have no other vaiable offers to choose from. The best talent, won’t even consider you if you pull that strategy.
  2. If you aren’t a “unicorn” brand (Google, Apple, etc.) you have no shot at getting good talent to accept your exploding job offer.
  3. While it might in theory “end” your hiring process faster, you have a higher chance of a late no-show/decline that puts your team even farther behind in hiring. Especially, if they went back to your other viable candidates and told them they were silver medalist.

What’s a better way? Because it’s not unheard of in today’s world where we put some timing around job offers. The reality is, we can’t wait forever. So, the real question is, how long should we give someone to consider our offer before we have to pull it back?

I like to use this as a great way to find out what I’m up against. Let the candidate tell you a time, and then negotiate it down if you don’t feel like it’s appropriate. First, when I make an offer, I expect a full acceptance the moment I make it! What?! But, you just said…! Yeah, I don’t like exploding job offers, but I also work as a recruiter who has already pre-closed the candidate and knocked out all the objections, so when I make the offer, the candidate and I have already agreed, if I get X, Y, and Z, you’re answer is “Yes”, correct?

That doesn’t mean it works every time!

In the case where the candidate, legitimately needs some time, I give them some time, but also I need reasons to go back to the hiring manager with. Why do you need the time? Are there other offers you are waiting on? What would make you take those other offers over ours? Again, keep closing, with demanding an answer. Changing jobs is one of the top three most stressful things a person does. These decisions don’t come lightly, and we need to respect that.

Offering Exploding Job offers is old advice that has turned into bad advice, similar to not accepting a counter-offer from your employer. Job negotiation has changed a lot over the last few decades, some of the traditional things we did in the past just don’t work anymore.

4 thoughts on “Exploding Job Offers!

  1. Totally agree. For decades I have used the same approach as you spelled out – closing the deal inch by inch to the point that they’ve agreed with you so many times along they way, the candidate thinks to themselves that they would be nuts to say no. It works beautifully so often. It keeps recruiters confident, happy and successful, not to mention the hiring managers are getting the people they wanted.

  2. Tim,
    Thank you. The more we can get that word out that, ‘traditional things we did in the past just don’t work anymore’ the better off the whole recruiting business will be.

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