• Lee

HR Hissy Fits. When offered candidates go quiet.


We’ve all been there.

You’ve come out the other end of a recruitment process, found the person you want to hire and made them your best and final offer. But what if rather than an outburst of joy, you are met with awkward silence? What if instead of a resounding “Yes, I accept”, you get a reserved “Can I think about it?”, to which you begrudgingly reply, “Yes….of course”. All the while trying hard to disguise those (brilliantly white) clenched teeth.

24 hours passes...and nothing. 48 hours ticks by and still not a peep.

How you play things is critical and speaks volumes about you in the eyes of the candidate.

Some will throw a hissy fit, something along the lines of “If they don’t accept by the end of the day then I’m retracting the offer!” This is a dickish move. Don’t be dickish. Do you really want to go through that recruitment process again? Can you still allow that open job to sit vacant?

Take a deep breath, pop your candidate-focused goggle-pops on and remember this.

Moving jobs is more often than not, one of the single most important decisions that someone will make in their life. It impacts them financially, their working life, their home life and so on. So is it really that surprising when someone needs a little time to reflect, take stock, talk things through?

This is especially true of those who are employed/‘passive’/not actively on the market.

Instead, learn to pre-empt and manage the situation.

  • Make the offer;

  • Explain the offer stands for 5 days;

  • Suggest that you’d welcome an answer sooner, even right now if they can;

  • But explain that you understand this decision impacts them and it is reasonable for them to want a little time to think things through.

  • If they don’t accept on the spot and it gets to the 48 hour mark call them;

  • Leave a voicemail or if you do talk, ask them “Is there anything further that you need to know, that will help you to come to a decision, whatever the outcome”;

  • If there are queries or reservations, do not have a hissy fit;

  • Instead be curious, ask why this is an issue, probe, get to the root of the concern and understand things from their perspective;

  • Put your best case forward honestly, safe in the knowledge that you have answered their questions in a candidate-centric and transparent way.

It’s not foolproof.

Some will still turn down the offer because somewhere along the line, something has gone wrong during the recruitment process.

But if you approach things like I’ve suggested then you’ll act appropriately, deliver a better candidate experience, and above all have reduced the risk of someone joining your business for the wrong reasons.

Which sucks.


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