JOHN HACKETT DIRECTOR, EVENT RECRUITMENT
John Hackett takes readers through the often challenging process of offering somebody a job.
In previous articles I have covered specific issues such as job interviews, new employee induction and performance appraisals. In this article I would like to outline an equally important step in recruiting and retaining staff for your business – the job offer process.
Employers generally understand the importance of approaching the recruitment process resourcefully to ensure they are maximising their chances of attracting and securing the best available candidates for staff vacancies in their business.
Before making any recruitment decision, employers need to carefully assess those candidates they have interviewed against their selection criteria. Employers should also carry out reference checks on those they consider most appropriate for the role. Create a short-list of candidates in order of their suitability, taking into consideration notes taken during the interview, reference check results and colleagues’ input where appropriate. The benefit of creating a shortlist is in the event that the most suitable candidate declines a job offer, employers can refer to this list for other possible contenders.
Making an employment decision should ideally take no more than a few days. Don’t spend a large amount of time mulling over potential candidates because there is always a risk that candidates will be considering multiple positions and may indeed ultimately receive multiple offers of employment. Employers need to be decisive and maintain momentum at this time. Delaying the recruitment decision can not only send a negative impression, but more importantly, candidates may either lose interest or accept an offer of employment with a competing employer.
It is also important to maintain contact with candidates during the decision making process. Employers should provide a realistic timeframe of when candidates can expect to receive feedback on their application. Also, it is important to contact candidates who have been unsuccessful and remain professional and helpful at all times – who knows, they might end up being a client or colleague in the future! However, it is a good idea to delay advising other short listed candidates of a recruitment decision until the new recruit is secured in writing. Keep in touch with other short listed candidates during this time and if your first choice ultimately declines a job offer you can then approach other options on your short list.
Once you have selected your preferred candidate for the role, you should let the successful recruit know that the job offer is subject to any applicable conditions placed on your hiring decision; for example, further reference checking, health screening, proof of education /identity or visa documents, etc. By doing this, you can ensure that you secure a candidate without timely delays and still have the option to retract the offer if unexpected issues do arise.
An employment offer can be made verbally, by letter or via email. If you are going to make a verbal offer (the preferred option so that momentum is maintained), it must also be confirmed in writing to establish that an employment relationship exists. Assuming that all goes to plan and the candidate accepts, an employment contract should be drawn up and signed by both parties to confirm acceptance of the contract terms.
The employment contract should clarify the employment terms and conditions. Make sure your new recruit understands their job classification/title, job responsibilities, working hours, wages/salary and any other benefits, award classification and conditions if applicable, superannuation entitlements, the commencement date (and finish date if it is a fixed term contract), any probationary period, notice periods for termination of employment, as well as any specific workplace rules and procedures. This contract should be signed by the employer and the successful candidate should formally accept the offer by signing a copy of the letter and returning it to you before employment commences.
By following these steps when making an offer of employment, employers should go a long way towards securing the best available and best fit candidate for their team and business.