The typical executive search takes 3-4 months to complete. The last thing that you want is for your top choice to renege on an offer. Do not get complacent after someone signs an offer letter. Keep building engagement with the candidate until he shows up for his first day at work. In this article, you will learn six ways to prevent an executive from reneging on an offer.
1. Establish a start date within 3-4 weeks.
The more time there is between the offer and the start date, the more likely that a candidate will cool off on your opportunity. In addition, leaving too much time before the start date also gives someone time to explore other roles that might be even more attractive.
In general, 3-4 weeks is a sufficient timeframe for an executive to transition out of another full-time role. If someone is currently out of work or working as an independent consultant, he might be able to start even sooner.
2. Coach the executive through the resignation process.
A counter-offer from a current employer is one of the main reasons why someone would renege on an offer. As a result, it’s always wise to ask a candidate how he plans to resign and what type of response he expects from his current company. Even if someone does not think his company will make a counter-offer, ask how he would handle that scenario.
If the candidate hesitates when explaining how/why he would turn down a counter-offer, educate him on the risks of accepting a counter-offer. You can also remind him why he was excited about your opportunity in the first place.
3. Invite the executive to an upcoming social event.
The sooner that the candidate meets their future colleagues, the better. Informal events help someone get more comfortable at a new company, and they also make it harder for someone to renege on an offer.
One way to accomplish this is by inviting the candidate to an upcoming social event (i.e. a team happy hour). If the event will occur before the candidate’s start date, emphasize that attendance is 100% optional.
You can also give the candidate a heads-up if an upcoming social event will be soon after their start date. This is a thoughtful gesture that helps the candidate plan ahead.
4. Invite the executive to an upcoming conference call.
If it makes sense, your company could also invite the candidate to attend an upcoming conference call. Similar to a social event that occurs before someone’s start date, emphasize that attendance is 100% optional.
In addition, if the candidate plans to attend, he should not be expected to lead the call or to prepare anything in advance of the call. Instead, he should just be on the call to listen and learn or to share a quick opinion.
5. Share some interesting reading material.
Your company could also send the candidate some interesting articles or a book that is relevant to the company and role. The positioning here is important though. It should not feel like an onerous, mandatory assignment, especially since the person hasn’t officially started working yet. The reading material should feel like a benefit, rather than a burden, and it should make the candidate even more excited about getting started.
6. Send a personalized welcome packet/gift.
Another way to boost engagement before the start date is by sending a personalized welcome packet/gift. This could include a note from the hiring manager that reiterates why the company is excited about hiring the candidate. In addition, you could include a new hire checklist and information on what to expect during the first day, first week, and beyond.
You could also include answers to FAQ about the company, such as the company dress code, standard office hours, and transportation and parking information. Lastly, you could include the person’s business cards and maybe even some company swag, such as a company t-shirt, mug, water bottle, etc. You want the candidate to feel valued and like he is already part of the team.
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About the author: As the Founder of Stronger Talent, Pete Leibman recruits exceptional leaders for companies that make the world stronger. Throughout his career, Pete has helped clients recruit exceptional leaders at the Board, C-Suite, Senior Vice President, Vice President, General Manager, Managing Director, and Director levels. Pete’s work has been featured on Fox News, CBS Radio, and Fortune.com, and he is the author of two books and over 150 articles on career management, healthy living, high performance, and executive recruiting.