How to Make a Job Offer that Candidates Can’t Turn Down

As employers well know, the process of finding, vetting and interviewing candidates in the insurance industry is hard enough as it is. To reach the end of the process by extending a job offer only to be rejected or worse, ignored, is a terrible feeling and brings you back to the drawing board. So let’s talk about “closing the deal” and how you can best ensure the job offer process ends with a new staff member on your team. And no, we’re not just going to tell you to offer a bigger salary—although competitive pay certainly helps.

The current average job offer acceptance rate is about 69 out of every 100 offers extended. When was the last time you calculated your organization’s offer acceptance rate? In a candidate market, like we have in 2023, there are some factors beyond your control that may lead to a less than 100% acceptance rate. But if your offers are rejected more than 30% of the time, or you find you’re regularly needing to make multiple offers before a role is filled, there may be things you could do make those propositions more enticing… and those optimizations start well before you choose a top candidate to whom you’d like to extend an offer.

Make Your Hiring Timeline Crystal Clear

While the point of candidate search and interviewing is to meet your company’s needs, the current talent market requires hiring managers to be particularly in tune with candidate motives. Any amount of obscurity in your hiring process can deter potential applicants not only from initial outreach but also from moving further down the process.

Put yourself in their shoes for a moment. Imagine you’re a job seeker who just had what you feel was a stellar interview but your interviewers gave you no indication of when you could expect a decision and you haven’t heard from them in four business days… You might take an interview with another company or even consider responding to existing offers waiting in your inbox.

Not only is speed essential to capturing your favorite candidates before your competitors scoop them up, but clarity is too. Set firm checkpoints along the process to help candidates set their expectations. Your job listing should have a priority deadline to apply and when you begin reaching out to schedule interviews, you should clearly state the weeks in which you’ll be conducting them. During the interview process, talk about potential start dates–it takes time and effort to rearrange life for a new job after all! When the interview is complete, send a follow up telling them how things will proceed from there. It might sound something like this.

“We’re wrapping up remaining interviews by the end of the week and will notify you if you’re moving forward with our hiring process no later than next Wednesday. As we discussed, the start date for this position is set for the 1st of next month.”

By providing clear cut steps, with specific dates attached, candidates don’t have the stress of waiting for a response and can also plan for the time they will have to make their own evaluations about your company. Likewise, when extending a job offer, let the prospect know the date you would like to hear their decision by. Again, this allows them a clear period of time to weigh their options. If requested, you can extend this decision period but continue to make deadlines clear so that you can reach out to other recent candidates if needed.

Call And Send a Written Job Offer

Depending on the size of your company, getting approval on an offer letter from multiple higher ups can take time–valuable hours and days where your competitors could be extending a job offer to the very same candidates you want to add to your team. By making an initial offer over the phone you can capitalize on timing and potentially save time on your internal process if the candidate bows out. Phone calls also help convey your enthusiasm and are more personal than purely written offers.

But don’t stop there! As we’ll discuss below, a written job offer is equally if not more important to a successful job offer process. Follow up with the candidate via email to provide this formal offer as soon as possible. Creating and saving company offer templates can help speed up this process as well.

Include All the Details in Your Written Job Offer

This may seem obvious but details are an essential (and often missed) element of a job offer. You may have discussed salary range, benefits, job duties and more during the interview but we all know how difficult it can be to remember those details after you’ve finished a stressful call. If a candidate is left with any uncertainties about the role, and why it’s right for them, they may be more likely to drop your company as an option rather than go through the effort of repeating those questions.

When you send a written job offer, be sure to include all the important details, even if it feels like you’re being redundant. Bonus points if you are able to concisely recap any specific questions the candidate asked in their interview. It can help to have an extra interviewer present to take detailed notes for this purpose.

Consider a Video Offer

So you made the phone call and sent the written job offer but who’s to say other companies haven’t taken nearly identical steps to win your favorite candidate to their side. In today’s hiring landscape, differentiating your business from others, through your company culture or benefits, is hugely important to attracting candidates. But with a little extra effort you can also stand out when extending a job offer.

Consider enlisting the direct supervisor for the open role or even CEO to make a short offer video. Express your enthusiasm for the opportunity to bring the candidate onto your team and make sure to mention specific things you were impressed with from their resume or interviews. Going the extra mile can really make a candidate feel special and help them connect with you on a personal level. Free video services like Vimeo are an easy way to start implementing this unique offer strategy with no equipment or professional training needed.

Make Your Offer Future Focused

It feels like we’ve said it a million times before, but hiring insurance talent is incredibly competitive right now and your organization may not have the budget or resources to make an offer far and above other employers’. Most job offers are focused on the here and now–starting salary, current PTO, etc. But what’s stopping you from making it clear that you care about the candidate’s career path far into the future?

If applicable, discuss how your business handles reviews and salary increases, adding relevant statistics about how other staff have received promotions in the past. Mention opportunities for professional development and the support you provide to move your team to the next level. Do employees accumulate PTO over time? Will they qualify for additional benefits if they stay on your team for longer? These can all be convincing factors that make your job offer stand out from the crowd.

P.S. Use the 10% Rule

Okay, we know we said our advice wouldn’t just be limited to offering candidates more money–and it wasn’t! But you should be well aware that most candidates expect a 10% pay increase when they change jobs. It’s a rare occasion for a job seeker to accept the same or lower salary than their current one. And with counter offers from existing employers looming, you would do yourself a disservice by offering less than a 10% increase.

If you’ve made it far enough to be extending a job offer, you’re already one step ahead from others in the talent market. Don’t lose ground with a slow, ambiguous, and bland job offer process. And as always, if you need help finding, selecting, and convincing candidates to join your team, we’re expert matchmakers in the insurance recruiting industry and would be happy to lend our 50+ years of experience to assist your hiring process. Just reach out to get started!

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