How to Gain Commitment Before You Make a Formal Job Offer

Hire the Best - Use for Web applications, emails, etcThere are three questions you can ask that will prevent your candidates from wanting to think over the job offer you presented to them.

  1. Are you in position to accept the job offer you are going to receive?
  2. Who else do you need to run this offer by?
  3. When you have done that in the past, how have they responded?

Here is how this sounds in real life:

“You are getting an offer next Monday,” I told the salesperson.

She is someone I have been working with for the past several months. The right company with the right opportunity for her talents and career objectives had come into play.  She had gone through the vetting-out process and she was the one they wanted to join their team.

“Are you in position to accept it when that happens?” I asked.

“Well, I should give my husband the courtesy of seeing it before I commit to it?” she said.

“I would expect that,” I stated, “but surely you have already discussed this with him?” I asked.

“Yes, but not the details,” she stated.  “I understand, but at the same time where is he at on this?” I probed further.

She stated, “He’s onboard, but I should still give him the courtesy of seeing exactly what the offer will be.”

“Yes, but in the past when you have run your job offers by him has he not supported you in your decision?” I probed even deeper.

“Yes,” she stated.

“Good.  Here is what you can expect…,” and I went on to outline, at a high level, how I thought the compensation plan was going to be structured.

When I was finished, I asked my question again. “Are you in position to accept it when they make an offer that will look something like what I just outlined?”

“Well, I would need to see the details on exactly when commissions are paid out; I have a daughter with some special health needs so I need to be sure their health plan can accommodate that; and there is that vacation in Hawaii that I have already booked for July so I need to be sure I can make that trip,” she replied.

I then stated; “If two people want to work together, the details won’t keep them apart.  If two people don’t want to work together, then the details will keep them apart. Do you want to be working with them?”

“Yes,” she replied.  “Good, I believe this is going to be a good fit for both of you.  So come Monday, assuming you can work out the details, are you accepting their offer?” I asked for the third time.

“Yes,” she said.   She further stated, “If we are not able to talk through the fine points and come to some common ground at that meeting then that would be a sign we should not be working together.”

Why Dialogue with Your Candidate Is Important If You Don’t Want Your Offer Shopped

One of the hardest questions for you to answer is, “What do I want to do?”  We fear answering that because, we fear committing to something that can be a mistake.  It is also human nature to be curious to see what you have to offer.  This is why you hear people respond to recruiting calls with, “Well, I am always open to hear what you have to offer.” or “I would be crazy not to see what else is out there.”    But it is not normal, for people who are not truly committed to making a change, to be willing to go through a process to see what you have to offer.

commitment.jpg-250x167That is why at Performance Group, our process is to separate our recruiting calls into three parts:

  1. The first call is to check the candidate’s interest in making a career move.
  2. Second call is to set an appointment where by we’ll spend at least forty minutes talking just about them, their career success, and their goals.
  3. If we progress beyond that, we get them to commit to taking two on-line assessments that will take them a minimum of an hour to complete.

This three-step process is how we gage a person’s commitment level.  People won’t commit a couple hours of their time unless they are committed to making a career move.

Gaining commitment is as easy as following the dialogue I described above a few days prior to the offer being made.  You will notice that I am not selling the job or the company at this point.  If I have done my job correctly, there is no selling… just matching talent to opportunity. People who are sold on positions can be unsold, typically by themselves or a spouse.

You will also notice that I did not get off my question to her of whether or not she was in position to accept an offer until I got an answer.  100% of the time this has worked for me with candidates that have made a decision to switch jobs because they answer the question with a yes.  It has also worked 100% time for those that have turned offers down.  That is because they never answer with a definitive “yes,” and they keep adding conditions to their answer.

Gain commitment before you make an offer and you won’t be surprised.