How to Sell a Candidate Your Offer

Creating a more attractive and competitive job offer strategy

You spend hours attracting and talking to candidates.

Between recruiters, sourcers, coordinators, high level managers and executives, your company invests a ton of resources into its hiring process.

But imagine spending weeks taking a top applicant through your interview process, only to have that candidate decline at the offer stage. One of your competitors snagged them from right under your nose.

That’s painful. That’s expensive. And sadly, it’s more common than you might think.

Pave works with human resources and people operations professionals day in and day out, and we hear too many talent teams explaining that they’re losing twenty, thirty, or even fifty percent of their candidates at the offer stage.

Recent research supports this claim: 

  • Glassdoor conducted an analysis of why candidates reject job offers. American job seekers are increasingly choosy, with 17% of job offers (over 1 in 6) are rejected. This reflects a steady increase in offer rejection rates over the last few years.
  • PWC also did a similar study showing that 49% of job seekers working in in demand fields like technology say they’ve turned down an offer because of a bad experience during the hiring process.

Is your company’s offer acceptance rate trending downward? How could you increase that number with a more attractive and competitive job offer strategy?

If your talent team is sourcing qualified candidates, but unable to convince them to accept the offer, we’ve got you covered. Consider the following strategies and tactics to, as the Godfather famously said, make them an offer they can’t refuse.

Rethink Your Salary Bands

Compensation is a primary lever for improving your offer acceptance rate. Communicating this number fairly, accurately and transparently has a significant impact on a candidate's decision to accept or reject an offer. Today’s jobseekers continue to rate compensation as one of the most important considerations to make when contemplating a job change

To close top talent, you have to properly price offers based on your new valuation and real time benchmarking data. The effectiveness of such data helps your company know what the market is paying for a given role. This saves your team the trouble of either making an offer that will never be accepted, or overpaying for a role.

Imagine a company that put in the time from a recruiting standpoint. They wooed their candidate expertly and did everything right for nine tenths of the process. Until they got to the offer stage. Their salary bands turned out to be twenty percent lower than the market, and they got rejected. 

What a waste of time and money! How frustrating it must be for that talent team. And yet, much of that cost could have been avoided, had they properly benchmarked their salary bands with real time data. 

The good news is, more employers are now required to share the compensation band with candidates if they ask for it. Progressive states like New York, Colorado and California are already leading the charge with similar legislation. 

If you want to make offers candidates can’t refuse, strive towards the top tier of transparent employers with these practices:

  • Don’t just tell them their potential salary, show the candidates their position in the salary band. If your company has a salary range, be sure to tell the employee that they are at the mid-point or maximum end of the band. 
  • If you don’t have fully built-out ranges for each role, you could also share the market reference data. e.g. letting the employee know their salary (or equity) is in the 75th percentile for their role. 

Pave has answered seemingly every question about salary bands multiple times over, and the ideal place to start is with compensation benchmarking. We always recommend companies skip the stale, exhausting comp surveys, and instead focus on getting a window into real-time salary, bonus/variable and equity compensation for hundreds of jobs. 

If you want to learn more about Pave’s largest real-time compensation benchmark data set for venture backed technology companies, sign up for free here.

Help Candidates Visualize Your Offer Upside

One reason recruiters lose out on talent to competition is that candidates don't understand the total value of their offer. Applicants are no longer content with opaque offer letters and hand wavy answers to questions about their stock options. They want an inspirational way to engage with compensation, rather than getting a letter in the mail that says, here’s your offer. Boring.

If your talent team offers options proactively and creatively, you can hook in the very best people and access talent that you would not otherwise have been able to reach. Our recommendation is to provide candidates with something more emotional from an offer letter standpoint. You can win more candidates by helping them visualize the upside of their offer, most notably with a visual offer letter. This tool can help you:

  • Eliminate confusion around equity by visually communicating total rewards to employees.
  • Deliver a transparent and compelling narrative around your compensation philosophy as an organization
  • Elevate a candidate’s understanding of equity, a topic they might otherwise shy away from in an interview situation
  • Engage during your final interview to help candidates visualize the upside of working at your company

To get the most leverage out of your visual offer letter, we recommend compartmentalizing your pitch based on cash selling, benefits selling, and culture selling.  Here’s one conversation flow that recruiters and hiring managers can use to sell candidates on their offers:

Build Offer Anticipation:

“Morning Serena, great news! My manager just emailed me and said we’d love to make you an offer. Let's jump on Zoom because I want to show you something exciting to help you visualize it.”

Put Your Company In Their Future:

“Here are all the different pieces of your total compensation, including options, salary, bonuses and benefits. Next, here’s what your equity is worth right now, and how much it could be worth in the future based on how we believe our company is growing.”

Reinforce Company Values:

“Check out this About Us page. These videos and content share some of the cultural aspects of our company. That will help you understand what it will feel like to work here.”

Help Candidates Close Themselves:

“We’ve given you access to our Visual Offer Letter so you can play around with total comp pieces like equity, benefits and company details. Take some time to review this on your own, then we can sync up next week. This Visual Offer Letter will self-destruct in seven business days.”

Remember, hiring is expensive and labor intensive. 

You’ve already done too much work during the recruiting process to make a mistake and lose a top applicant at the job offer stage.

To raise your acceptance rate, try using the above recommendations. Refine your salary bands and use visual offer letters to create more attractive and competitive opportunities.

And you’ll make your next candidate an offer they can’t refuse.