Have You Heard of Pre-closing a Candidate?

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Ask an HR Expert

Q: We had a candidate we were really excited about turn our offer down. How do we avoid going down that path again?

A: You are not the only one experiencing this! Although the market is starting to shift, there are still approximately 1.7 jobs available for every unemployed worker.  

We do have some advice though: we recommend having two pre-offer conversations with candidates to move the odds of an acceptance in your favor.  

Have you heard of pre-closing a candidate?  

This idea comes from sales, where you establish buy-in with a prospect by asking preemptive questions. In the context of hiring, you pre-close a candidate by asking them questions to gauge their receptiveness to an offer during the hiring process.  

For example, after a final interview, we’ll ask candidates about the offer they could be receiving: “If you were made an offer of $XX,XXX salary, with 20 days of PTO, full health benefits, and three days in-office, would you accept?” If we sense any hesitation, we delve deeper to see where it is coming from. Are they interviewing at other companies? Is anything to do with the salary and benefits giving them pause? Is it something external, like a change in caretaking or a move going on?  

We also spend time talking to candidates about counteroffers: “You’re a great candidate — you’re likely going to receive a counteroffer. We’re seeing more and more of them in today’s market, where companies are scrambling to retain their talent. However, we always let candidates know that within 6 months, 80% of people who took a counteroffer are looking again. And if there was a reason you were looking or willing to move, does the counteroffer solve that pain point?”  

By pre-closing a candidate, getting their buy-in with the final offer and alerting them to the possibility of a counteroffer, you’ll have a much better chance at persuading your top candidates to join your team.  

Do you need more HR support? Boly:Welch HR Consulting can help your team go farther with budget-friendly human resources consulting, tailored for your success.


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