Making Offers in COVID Environment: A Cautionary Tale

COVID-19 has led to an interesting phenomenon in which qualified candidate are more receptive to discussing new opportunities but are more hesitant to leave their current employer. Here are a few concepts to keep in mind when recruiting:

execunetselect-video-business-meeting-womanDon’t Expect a Discount: Yes, there are millions of Americans out of work. However, a good portion of those are in service and tourism-related businesses. If you need a project manager or sales engineer, odds are your competitors are also looking and candidates who are aware of their value will negotiate for top dollar.
Close Early and Often: Work through trial closes as part of the interview process. Get buy-in from the candidate and flesh out any concerns so you can address them head on. Otherwise, those festering concerns will crop up when they receive an offer and may delay or even kill the deal.
Create a Competitive Package: Benefits, particularly medical coverage, have never been more critical to candidates than in the middle of a global pandemic. Even young, healthy candidates want to know they and their family are covered, and it factors heavily into their decision.
Use a Buffer to Close: Seasoned recruiters — and particularly recruiting firms — are well-versed in asking the “what if” questions and create a natural buffer between the person making the offer and the candidate. Both hiring managers and candidates can be touchy about money and a recruiter can insulate both sides from the raw emotions that arise naturally.
Give a Deadline: We are seeing multiple offers for high demand candidates. Candidates will always weigh opportunities against each other, but using a reasonable deadline, for example 72 hours, can help minimize playing offers against each other and get you to a decision.

We had a recent search where there was some tension between the candidate and a senior member of management who would not be working with them daily. The candidate had worked for the leader in the industry and we introduced them to a smaller up-and-coming firm where they could have a greater impact. The offer came directly from the hiring manager and was a slight bump in base, but less bonus year one and the benefits were $1,000/month more expensive. The candidate declined and continue to work for the industry leader.

For a person that would bring in tens of millions of dollars in business, a bonus guarantee or $1,000 per month in benefits is nothing and our hiring manager essentially told us as much. However, all the combined factors resulted in them losing the candidate they — and our firm — had spent time and money qualifying and selecting to join the team.

Written by Cliff Nelson, Executive Senior Partner

Lucas Group

Lucas Group

As North America’s premier executive recruiting firm, Lucas Group works hand-in-hand with thousands of companies and talented professionals across a variety of industries and functional specialties. Since 1970, Lucas Group recruiters serve our clients and candidates with an unrelenting commitment to achieve clear executive search and hiring goals.

Lucas Group has been ranked 5th on the Forbes “Best Professional Search Firm” list for 2020, an independent ranking of 250 professional recruiting firms. The Forbes “Best Professional Recruiting Firms” ranked companies that place employees in roles with less than $100,000 in annual income. Lucas Group also ranked 8th on the Forbes’ “Best Executive Recruiting Firm 2020” list, defined as companies that place executives in positions with at least $100,000 in annual pay.

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