What does everyone think about this?
You're representing an A candidate. Let's say this person is a hard to find Ruby on Rails or PHP/LAMP Software Developer who has the kind of personality that everyone likes and wants to work with. This is the candidate every company wants and needs. In a tight job market, a seasoned, sharp hiring manager understands that time is of the essence and that time is your enemy. Some companies, knowing this, will make offers and give a very short window to respond. Is this a good move or not? Are they being brilliant or..is this a strong arm tactic that will end up with pitfalls and bad candidate behavior? On the surface, it seems like a great move. It forces the candidate to make a quick decision, particularly when they have no other offers yet. They have a bird in the hand. They may end up cancelling their other interviews and feel compelled to accept this offer. Mission accomplished. It's clearly better than giving too big of a window, which would allow the candidate to shop the offer. However, my question is : Is it too harsh of a move? Could it backfire on the company? Could it foster bad behavior? If this tactic becomes more prevalent in a tight job market, could a candidate just accept the offer and still interview any way? What does everyone think? Is this a smart move made by the company or is it a slippery slope?
The question from the company for this kind of candidate should be, "What kind of offer would we need to make you so that you could say yes today and never feel like you should have continued to interview?" "If we make you an offer like that would you accept immediately and start tomorrow?"
This is another one of those, "It depends" questions. If a company makes the best offer they can make, they have a number two candidate that they don't want to lose by giving number one too much time then it's a smart move.
If they don't have a number two candidate then the smart money says to ask the candidate if he receives an offer how much time will he need to let them know if he is accepting. If he says two weeks then either hold off on an offer or at that point get his magic number to say yes today.
Smart candidates will accept the offer and if they have other options they will simply continue to interview until it's time to start. If they find a better deal they normally take it. Or come back and say i got a better offer but would rather work for you. Can you match that if not i have to rescind.
The days of trying to brow beat a candidate that "he/she gave their word and they don't want to break their word are over." If by bad behavior you mean the candidate continues to look it remains debatable if that is bad behavior or a smart move on the part of the candidate. It makes recruiters crazy but it's nothing new. The deal is to find the candidate's magic number and see if your client can hit it. Make a deal with your candidate that if you can get someone to hit their magic number or very close to it they will be in a position to say yes immediately and mean it. They will normally give you a higher than the sky number but if your client hits close to it things happen very quickly.
Thanks for your input and insights. I really appreciate it!
Employers typically put a clock on a job offer with college hires because they’re stacked 3-5 deep with next-up finalists that also impressed them and will be called up should they receive a declined initial offer. Plus, the sooner they can lockdown acceptances for this level of hire of job offer the quicker they can accommodate start dates and relocation coordination.
For more senior candidates employers typically give some leeway if the request for time to consider the offer is within reason (a week max). Plus, a candidate is technically a free agent until they report to work. I’ve experienced declines from previously accepted offers with the reason being they received a better offer from a competitor. Employers are not happy with that outcome, but they learn to make adjustments when it occurs.
Finally, pressing for a start date does not hurt an employer’s image, particularly in these tough economic times. As I mentioned earlier, most employers will give a reasonable amount of time for a decision, but delaying that decision can spark concerns that there may be a problem with the offer, or that the candidate may be leaning toward declining—possibly because they may have another offer coming. If you put that idea in an employer’s mind I’ve actually seen offers being withdrawn because there was hesitation by a candidate.