What to consider before making an offer to a candidate

Reading the papers, you’ll have noticed more articles focusing on the latest recruitment drives. Last year may have been challenging for some industries and new projects have led to increased optimism for business growth during the first quarter of 2019. With companies looking to stabilise and expand their operations, having the right people is vital. Whether you are backfilling a role or are creating a new position, consider these points before making any offers.

Define the vacancy

Recruiting for a role presents an opportunity which too many businesses ignore. It’s the perfect time to review the organisation’s and department’s needs as well as current processes and workflows. Hiring managers and HR should take the time and evaluate what and who is required to achieve the departmental goals and consequently the overall business goals.

Once the needs have been identified, a job description can be written or updated. In the past, job descriptions have focused on the tasks, required skills and experience. These days, they also include competencies, setting expectations for performance and behaviour. The job description should also outline the purpose of the role. While every generation is looking for meaningful work, millennials in particular are keen to make a difference and need to see how they can make a change early on in the job description.

The job description can form the basis for interview questions and other approaches to selecting the most suitable candidate. It also supports the induction and the identification of any knowledge gaps, which can be including in the induction programme or an individualised learning and development plan. Job descriptions can also be reviewed when setting goals and evaluating performance. Given the versatile use of job descriptions, care should be taken when writing or updating them.

In this region, certain roles in specified industries may only be open to candidates from a specific nationality (e.g. Emiratisation and other nationalisation programmes). Some roles may require a specific qualification (e.g. university degree) to obtain the necessary visa and work permit. If such requirements exist, they need to be mentioned in the job description and when advertising the vacancy to avoid wasting time and disappointment – for both the organisation and the candidate. It should be clear that job descriptions should not contain any discriminatory language.

Once the role has been defined, an avatar for the ideal candidate can be created. Some companies want a twin of the employee who’s moving on. Others choose the complete opposite. We suggest organisations reflect on the person’s characteristics to successfully perform the role (think needs again). Only after they’ve been defined should the desirables be added. While certain qualifications may be beneficial, are they really necessary and potential limit the pool of suitable candidates? For example, does a Personal Assistant require a master’s degree to carry out their job?

Find the most suitable candidate

Whether the organisation has an in-house recruiter or engages an external recruitment agency, the selection process can be excessively long. Candidates are generally not interviewing with just one company. Being asked to meet every stakeholder can be a constraint on their time, especially if they are working and need to request time off to attend each interview. Consider holding interview panels where a number of stakeholders meet the candidate simultaneously.

Many companies rely on interviews alone. This does not give a holistic overview of the candidate’s experience, knowledge and skills. If foreign languages are required for the role, a simple language test can give clarity about their fluency. The same can be done for technical or computer skills. Role plays and assessment centres form other ways to validate the candidate’s suitability.

While senior stakeholders have an opportunity to meet the candidate, organisations are generally excluding the team from the selection process. Empower them and involve the team in the process. They can pre-select candidates, conduct the first round of interview or, alternatively, come in at a later stage by meeting the final candidates for coffee or lunch. Cultural fit is too important to be ignored.

References should be obtained once the suitable candidate has been identified. Some companies may not allow their staff to provide any references and only personal references may be possible. In some jurisdictions, references may not say anything negative about a candidate. This needs to be kept in mind when seeking references from abroad.

Extend the offer

Once the candidate has been selected, the most appropriate employment contract needs to be chosen. A limited contract for a fixed-term period may be used for projects with a specific duration (e.g. construction or software implementation). If the vacancy is a permanent role, an unlimited or open-ended contract would be more suitable. As each contract type has advantages and disadvantages (e.g. payment of end-of-service benefits differs), this should be carefully considered and possibly with the input from the organisation’s legal team.

Just like the lengthy interview process, obtaining the required approvals may also extend the timeline. If the approval process within an organisation is long, this can already be outlined during the final interviews to manage expectations. To not lose a candidate, regular communication with them directly or to the external recruitment agency is important. Candidates may wait if they know that the company is getting ready to provide them with an offer. Not knowing that an offer can be expected, the candidate may accept another offer instead.

When interviewing and then presenting the offer, organisations need to outline the total package. This would include the salary and allowances but also benefits (e.g. medical insurance, increased end-of-service benefits) and non-financials like working from home, training, career progression and recognition. Even though salaries have dropped for certain roles and industries, a candidate may want to negotiate a higher package.

Companies need to be clear to what degree they are willing to negotiate. Some may have the flexibility to offer a higher package. Others value their non-compensation related offering more and are therefore not willing to negotiate with the candidates. This may even mean letting a candidate go as their expectations can no longer be managed within the framework of the hiring company. To avoid this scenario, the hiring team needs to carefully evaluate suitable candidates and expectations – both from the company and the candidate – before they’re too far into the process. Unfortunately, the danger of wasted time, feeling of frustration and negative impressions of the other party are mentioned too often.

Benefit from a clear and effective recruitment process. Recruit candidates from talent pools that your competitors don’t recognise. Contact us and find out how we can help you make strategic workforce decisions to positively impact your business growth.

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