Most of us feel that making an employment offer to a job candidate should be one of the simpler and easier steps in the hiring process. After all, you've already introduced and coordinated interviews for the candidate with all the decision makers and, if you've gotten to the point of extending an offer, then you must be pretty sure this candidate is a good fit for the job.

Notice I said this should be one of the simpler and easier steps. There are several reasons why making an offer can end up being an exercise in frustration, or could even derail the entire hiring process.

To ensure you don't fall victim to surprises at this stage in the hiring process, consider the following few essential steps when making an offer of employment:

- Make sure there are no surprises - be open about money issues throughout the interview process and be clear about the company's policies on negotiation and flexibility on salary, commission, start dates, etc.
- Keep it personal - extending an offer of employment should be done in person. Even if it's viewed as a formality, or an acceptance is a foregone conclusion, calling a special one-on-one meeting to present the offer is the surest way to get an acceptance. Make sure the offer is made one-on-one so you can gauge reactions, address concerns and "sell" it. Don't be afraid to show emotion - this is an important event in the candidate's career.
- Be prepared - know the company's benefits so you can answer questions and appear knowledgeable and in-control. Be able to tell the candidate what is negotiable and what is not negotiable.
- Put it in writing - extending an offer of employment is a formal process and it's best to have the offer in writing, even if the points have all been discussed verbally. It's also essential to make sure the written offer is consistent with what has been mentioned verbally.
- Keep communication channels open - make sure the candidate knows they can discuss the offer at any time. Also make sure the candidate has a "point person" and knows who to go to with questions. This ensures consistency and eliminates confusion for the candidate.
- Be understanding - the hiring process is a personal experience and each person enters it with their own perceptions. Some people think they should always negotiate an offer. Don't overreact to candidate's actions.

Whether you're an in-house corporate HR staff member or a professional recruiter, you want the offer stage of the hiring process to cap off the long effort and hard work that goes into attracting talent, matching qualifications to open positions, scheduling interviews and managing the interview process. Following the tips mentioned above will help you make the process of extending an offer of employment a smooth one.

By Aaron Green

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