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Ask the HR Capitalist - Are Same-Day Offers A Good Idea?

Dear HR Capitalist -

Saw your recent post on the need for speed in the hiring process.  How about giving a same-day offer to a candidate who is in for a round of interviews?  Is that a good idea consistent with the need for speed?

Thoughts? - Sheila, St. Louis, MO


Sheila -

Thanks for the note.  As I noted in the post cited above, a lack of speed is usually the issue that can causeDickjane16_2  you difficulty in landing a candidate.  The need for speed is important enough that is you don't close quickly after a round of interviews, it can cost you a close.   At best, delays can cost you $$ in terms of the offer it will take to land a candidate spooked by a round of interviews that went well, only to be followed by two weeks of silence on your end.  I always think about the job search process of Jim Carey in Fun with Dick and Jane to push myself to keep candidates updated on their status.

Your question is a good one, but unfortunately the answer is not clear cut.  As a general rule, the lower level the position in question, the more a same-day offer may be appropriate.  For example, with a call center or production level job, you will roll through hundreds of candidates and if you find one you like, a same day offer will probably help you close with no ill effects.  The job is a commodity, so if the candidate likes your company you'll close the deal with a same day offer and all will be happy.

It's more complex with a professional level job.  You have to distinguish what same day means for starters.  Are you talking calling them at the end of the day after a morning round of interviews or handing them an offer packet as they walk out the door?  The latter would spook a lot of professional level candidates and make you seem a little desperate.  Even calling them at the end of the day may suggest you a) are desperate, or b) don't have any other options.  For the spooked candidate used to weeks of delays after interviewing, its so rare to get to the offer stage in the same day it will feel weird.  The savvy candidate may take it as desperation, so even if they aren't spooked they may counter-offer and try to drive up their sticker price as a result.

With all that said, a better solution is to set expectations of the candidate in terms of when they will hear from you with feedback (appearing non-committal all the way), then hit the general time frame 1-2 days later that you committed to touch base with them and surprise them with an offer.

It's an art, not a science.  Good luck!


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