Advertisers advice

Getting it right: how to offer someone a job

You’ve found your candidate, now it’s time to get them onboard.

Congratulations, you’ve found the perfect candidate for the job! But the battle’s not quite over yet – the next step is crucial, turning that applicant into your newest employee.

To ensure you get over this last hurdle, we’ve created this quick guide to offering someone a job, the right way. We’ll look at the standard steps, as well as handy tricks and tips to stop the candidate from slipping through your fingers.

When you’ve found the right candidate, don’t hesitate to get in touch

Making the perfect job offer

1. Speed is key

While you shouldn’t rush your decision process, once you’re sure you’ve found the dream candidate, don’t delay in contacting them.

In New Zealand’s competitive job market, unnecessary delay could mean you lose out to another organisation, possibly even a rival. In this game, there’s no such thing as too much too soon – even if they only left the interview half an hour ago, get in touch. Trust us, they’ll be pleased to hear from you.

2. Call first

Of course, you’ll have to formalise the offer in writing later, but always give them a call initially.

Why? Two reasons:

  • Immediacy: without labouring the point, you want to be getting your offer in ASAP. People are more likely to pick up the phone than they are to be watching their inbox at all times.
  • Personalisation: remember, you’re still trying to impress your preferred candidate. A phone call is much more personal than an email, showing you’re genuinely excited about getting them onboard.

3. Make them feel wanted

While gushing isn’t professional, don’t be afraid to tell the candidate they were the best, and what made you choose them over the competition. Be energetic, enthusiastic and congratulatory.

For example, a great way to start the call would be:

“Hi Emma, it’s Laura from YummyChocolate. I’ve got some good news! The team has chosen you as their preferred candidate for the Chocolate Taster position, and we’d love to offer you the job! We had heaps of applicants for the role, but your skills, experience and personality really shone through as exactly the right fit for our organisation”.

4. Explain the offer

The most important part of making a job offer to a candidate is ensuring they fully understand the terms. These details should be concrete at the time you make the offer, candidates won’t be impressed if things change further down the line (unless you’re making the deal better for them!).

Let them know you’ll include all these details in your follow up email.

Be clear with the terms of your job offer on the phone

5. Gauge their interest

You’ve probably done the lion’s share of the talking up to this point, and it’s important you come away from the conversation with a good indication of whether you think they’ll accept.

Of course, there’s a chance they’ll just accept the offer then and there, but this gives you a chance to answer any questions or concerns they have. The key is being polite, not pushy.

6. Prepare for negotiations

Don’t be surprised if the candidate asks for some time to consider your offer. If this happens, agree a deadline for them to get back in touch with you. There’s no standard time here, but 48 hours is usually a good timeframe.

Your candidate may come back with a counteroffer in this second call, or they may try to negotiate the terms straight away. As part of your preparations, decide whether there’s wiggle room on your salary offer and, if so, how much.

There’s a fine balance to strike here between getting the candidate you want, and not parting with more than you’re happy with, so read some guidance to enter these conversations confidently.

7. Tailor your offer

Maybe you can’t budge on pay, but that isn’t your only bargaining chip. A great way to try and bring in a hard negotiating candidate is by personalising the offer – this shows you listened to them in the interview, and adds to the good impression of your organisation.

Things you might be able to add to their contract include:

  • Flexible hours and the possibility of working from home.
  • Professional development opportunities.
  • Helping with relocation costs.
  • Extra holidays.
  • Car parking.
  • Gym membership.
  • Health insurance.
  • Performance bonuses.

Surprise and incentivise your prospective employee with extra perks

8. Follow up in writing

The best way to follow up with a written offer, is by giving the candidate an individual employment agreement to consider. In NZ, every employee must have a written employment agreement, prior to starting work. There are several things this has to include:

  • The names of both parties – the employer and the employee.
  • A job description.
  • A location for the work.
  • An indication of the hours, or the agreed hours, the employee will work.
  • Wage rate or salary, and how it will be paid.
  • A promise the employee will receive a minimum of time-and-a-half pay if they work on public holidays.
  • Other matters agreed between you and the employee – e.g. rules around trial periods.
  • Details of employment grievances procedures.
  • Details of the employment if the employment is fixed-term.
  • In relevant cases, an employment protection provision if the employer’s business is sold or transferred, or if the employee is contracted out.

You may also wish to include annual leave allowances in the individual employment agreement. This is particularly important if the employee negotiated to receive more holiday than the minimum four week requirement.

Ultimately, your goal is to make the candidate feel as comfortable as possible about saying “yes”, so if you have other documents that you think would be useful for them to see, feel free to attach these too. Common examples include: