How to make a job offer they can’t refuse

You’ve put in the hard work, found your ideal candidate, and are ready to offer them the job. Congratulations! If you're a hiring manager, don't expect to get an immediate “yes”. According to Lever, just 81% of finalists accept the job offer. For highly sought-after candidates, that rate is lower as they’re likely to be interviewing with other companies simultaneously. Minimize the risk of rejection by making them an offer they can’t refuse. 

Address their worries

Changing jobs comes with a lot of uncertainty. It’s normal for a top candidate to have concerns. Will the job be as it’s described? Will the company culture be nurturing or toxic? Will the role progress my career? Seek to understand their worries and address them. Tell them that doubts are normal and encourage them to chat with you. You could start by asking how serious they are about the role and whether they see any barriers to accepting a potential offer. 

Negotiate the job offer process

The process of making a job offer is just as important as the offer itself. The more clarity you have on the process, the less likely you are to lose them by making a mistake on the substance. Before putting an offer in writing, do a verbal test run. Start by making it known you’re committed to making this position the best it can be, and reaffirm their value to you. Create clarity by restating the selling points, articulating the responsibilities in the job description and laying out the compensation. Go through fixed salary, variable compensation, stock options, health benefit, holiday allowance, training and other perks. Then ask them, “presuming everything checks out with your references, how likely are you to accept this offer?”. If they have objections, address them - and be transparent. You want to iron out any uncertainties before progressing to the next stage. 

Manage expectations

Once you check their references, you’ll make it known to their current employer they’re considering other options. If they’re a great asset, their employer will fight for them. Don’t be surprised if they make a counteroffer. It doesn’t happen often, but it’s worth preparing for. Ask your candidate if they expect their employer to make a counteroffer. If they don’t, manage their expectations by making them aware it could happen. How do they plan to handle the situation? Reiterate why they are choosing to leave their current role and make it known that when someone accepts a counteroffer, they will likely leave within the year.

Put it in writing

Once they accept a verbal offer, make a written job offer letter. Make sure there are no surprises. Don’t change the start date last minute because you’re eager to get them on board earlier. Everything in the letter should have been previously discussed in person. Congratulate them personally and make it clear you consider them an asset, but give the offer a deadline to avoid a tediously drawn-out process. 

Keep the relationship warm

Even if they’ve signed an offer, it’s still possible the chosen candidate may change their mind. Keep the relationship warm by sending them a personal gift, asking the CEO to congratulate them on joining the company, or inviting them to team outings and after-work events before their start date. 

Does your Human Resources team need support to recruit the right candidate? With Heron Talent as your recruitment partner, our consultants will help you find sought-after talent to grow your company. Get in touch today.



  1. Job Offer Acceptance: 4 Ways to Win More Candidates by Jen Dewar, Lever, 17 February 2023 

  2. Recruit Rockstars, The 10-Step Playbook to Find the Winners and Ignite Your Business, by Jeff Hyman

  3. Photo by Fauzan Saari on Unsplash