Last week, we discussed how to optimize your candidate engagement rate to get more high-quality talent into your funnel—but that’s only half the battle. Now, you need to maintain that engagement throughout the interview process and sell candidates on your opportunity. Job openings are at a 17-year high, and candidates have many choices when it comes to where they want to work. Lever data shows that small and medium-sized businesses have a 69 percent offer acceptance rate, meaning they make an average of one and a half offers to make a single hire. If your offer acceptance rate is significantly lower than this benchmark data, or if it’s been declining, read on for four ways to increase it.
1. Provide a standout candidate experience
Nine out of 10 professionals say the interview experience can change their minds about a company—for better or for worse. A common complaint is poor communication between your hiring team and the candidate. Make it a point to follow up with candidates within 24-48 hours, at each stage of your recruitment process. Discover other opportunities for improvement by sending a candidate experience survey at the end of your recruitment process, and monitoring interview reviews on sites like Glassdoor. Look for patterns and devise a plan to make improvements.
2. Learn your candidates’ motivations
Your candidates are evaluating you as much as you are evaluating them. You can increase your conversion rate by learning your candidates’ motivations early on, and sharing how your organization and the role fit the bill. Ask them what they like and dislike about their current role, what they’d like to see in their next opportunity, and why they decided to engage with your organization. Be honest about what your organization can offer, and highlight where your opportunity aligns with the candidate’s motivations for finding a new role. If, for instance, your candidate is frustrated with the lack of advancement in their current role, pair the candidate with an interviewer who has been promoted and highlight your talent development program.
3. Align on salary expectations early
Don’t get to the end of your recruitment process with a great candidate, only to learn that they were anticipating a higher offer. This can be particularly problematic if they have a more competitive offer elsewhere. Sixty-eight percent of people say that salary and compensation is among their top considerations before accepting a job. What’s more, the most common reason candidates reject an offer is compensation. Align on salary expectations early so you can determine if you’re in the same ballpark. Candidates may take a lower salary for the right opportunity, but still expect to meet a minimum threshold. You may be able to negotiate a lower salary in exchange for benefits, including additional time off, learning and development, and the ability to work from home. When in doubt, just ask the candidate what it would take to get them in the door. Doing so will help them feel valued, increasing your chances of closing them.
4. Present a strong offer
When you’ve decided to extend an offer to your first-choice candidate, call them first to share the exciting news and discuss the specifics. Whenever possible, rope in your hiring manager to continue to build the relationship between them and their potential new hire. Let them know how happy the entire team is to extend the offer, and reiterate how your opportunity aligns with their career motivations. Review the salary and benefits being offered, which should not come as a surprise to the candidate. Ask the candidate if they have any reservations about accepting the offer, and be prepared to negotiate as needed. Follow up your phone call with a formal offer letter, detailing all of the same items, and request a response within two business days. If you do not hear back in that timeframe, follow up with the candidate to learn why. They may need a little extra wooing to take the leap of faith that your opportunity will be the right move for them.
Even if you’re doing everything right, you’re not likely to see a 100 percent offer acceptance rate. You can, however, learn from each rejection. When a candidate turns your offer down, find out why so you can screen better, or present stronger offers, in the future. For instance, you may find that candidates are declining your offers due to compensation. In that case, you can either re-think your compensation strategy, or try to be more upfront about your less competitive compensation. You may also bump up and promote employee benefits and perks, as well as your company culture, to attract candidates with motivations more in-line with what your organization has to offer.
To see more data on how your hiring metrics stack up to competitors, download our free eBook: The Little Grey Book of Recruiting Benchmarks