What is the process of making a job offer?
You've found the right candidate for your vacancy and now you're ready to offer them the opportunity to take the job. Whilst it's great to be the purveyor of good news, it's important that you follow the correct procedure in order to close the deal
Letting the candidate know
It's best to make the initial offer by phone where you can discuss the terms of employment and establish whether it's an acceptable offer. Remember that they may have other offers on the table so be enthusiastic about how much you want them to join your company, but don't be surprised if they don't snap your hand off straight away.
If not already agreed, any negotiations regarding salary or terms of employment should take stage at this point. Negotiating a salary is a tricky business so make sure you know exactly what you can and can't agree to and be prepared to have to go through a couple of rounds of negotiation before you reach an agreement.
Let them know you will be sending out an offer letter by post. This letter should set out the main terms and conditions of the job and include:
- their name
- the job title
- the date employment starts (and ends if it's a temporary role)
- the length of the probation period (if applicable)
- any conditions the offer is subject to
- any action required by the candidate (such as forwarding details of their work permit)
Ask the candidate to send you a signed copy of the offer letter to establish the terms on which the offer was made in case of any future disputes.
Remember that this is not a contract of employment and therefore there is still the opportunity for either party to back out of the agreement. Candidates must receive a written statement of the main terms and conditions of employment, usually within two months of the starting date.
It's always necessary to put candidates through a number of checks in order to verify they are suitable to join your company.
- References – You should look to contact at least two previous employers of the individual to determine that they did actually hold the job with the company for the time period claimed. Create a form that the referee can quickly fill in and return, only requesting information that is directly relevant to the role on offer.
- Medical examination – This can be used to check for general health or to trace any illegal substances that are within the candidate's system. If used, medical exams must be conducted on all candidates, not just certain individuals.
- Criminal record – A disclosure can be obtained from the Criminal Records Bureau and should always be considered when the job will involve dealing with vulnerable individuals, children or valuable items.
- Work permits – Making sure all your employees are eligible to work in the UK is your responsibility and there are heavy fines for companies who employ illegal workers, whether intentionally or not.
There are a few things you should keep in mind when carrying out pre-employment checks:
- only carry out checks which are necessary and for a specific purpose
- if you suspect a candidate may fail any of the checks, begin the process earlier so you still have the option of other candidates.
- where possible, only check the successful applicant
- let the applicant know what checks will be made, how they will be carried out and how long the process will take
- only use reliable sources which will reveal relevant information
If any of your checks reveal adverse information about an applicant, first double check the information and the source, then give them the chance to explain. You don't want to have to go through the whole recruitment process again due to a misunderstanding.
Letting the other candidates know
As great as it is to let someone know they have got a new job, you've also got to break the bad news to the unsuccessful candidates.
Although it may be time consuming you should make every effort to do this via phone. The candidate took the time to come in and meet you for an interview so the least you can do is pick up the phone and talk to them directly
If you genuinely believe there may be an opportunity in the future for some of the candidates to apply for an alternative role with your company, ask if they will allow you to retain their details. It could save you a lot of time and effort in the future, or if your newly hired employee doesn't perform as well as expected.
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