As a Founder/CEO you are accustomed to negotiating. You get excited 'talking numbers' and 'winning the deal'. However, our 20+ years recruiting talent for start-ups has taught us that there are some deals you just don't want to be negotiating, and offers of employment to join your company are one of them.
If we were to summarize the number of reasons why you as the CEO/Founder/Leader should not be negotiating your organization's offers of employment, it would be to ensure a frictionless hiring experience.
What is a Frictionless Hiring Experience?
As a leader of a SaaS product company, you most likely have bought into the idea that to retain a client and create 'raving fans' (who have a delightful UX or CX) requires a thoughtfully designed hiring process.
This includes a process that anticipates common pitfalls or roadblocks that could prevent your client from achieving their intended outcome aka creating a frictionless experience.
Most leaders we work with place such a high value on their client's onboarding experience that they have hired a functional leader (most often a VP Customer Success) to create a business process to ensure desired outcomes are achieved; both for the company and the client.
In the same way that CS is so important to your business, the success of converting a candidate to an employee is equally important and the early relationship between your employees and the company. The leader who owns your hiring success needs to be able to anticipate possible pitfalls and roadblocks, ensuring a smooth and seamless process that concludes with a successful hire.
Search Partners are Hiring Success Experts
Niche recruitment firms like Martyn Bassett Associates, focus on one thing and one thing only: searching for and finding top Product, Marketing, and Sales talent. We lead and facilitate the hiring process from the point of view of both the employer and the candidate. The outcome all recruitment partners are working towards is a successful hire, void of unnecessary hiccups.
Here are the top reasons why CEO/Founder/Leaders should not make offers of employment and let the hiring success expert do it:
During the multiple interviews, you bought-in to the candidate and you truly believed everything they were telling you. Their enthusiasm, the gusto with which they presented their Case Study, and the timeliness of their follow-ups. You thought they only had eyes for you and wanted to work for you. So much so that you stopped interviewing believing you had found your "unicorn hire" … then they said no.
Some candidates want to keep their options open and may only tell hiring managers what they want to hear. Their relationship with recruiters, on the other hand, tends to be more transparent. Candidates are more likely to share objections and concerns, that they would be hesitant to disclose to a new employer, with their recruiter.
A recruiter provides an empathetic and neutral perspective to walk a candidate through these concerns, which in most cases aren't deal-breakers. In some cases, however, they are and a recruiter will be able to recognize that it isn't a good match and end the process, reducing the likelihood of a hiring mismatch. A recruiter will also push on a candidates' asks to see how strongly attached they are to the role. A good recruiter never assumes and always asks.
Expiry Date Timing:
You presented an offer without any expiry date or worse, one where they have a long time to reply. By doing this you are allowing the candidate to hold on to your offer and wait for or hurry along with other competing offers, most of which you will not even know anything about.
While your number one candidate is weighing their options, you’re also losing the interest of your backup candidate which could result in both candidates taking other offers and you’ll have to start all over again with the role remaining open. In our industry we have a saying: time kills deals!
Recruitment experts are continually engaging with shortlisted and backup candidates - understanding where they are with other offers, how to keep them warm, and how to present offers with an appropriate expiry date length.
You did not pre-close your candidate before preparing the paper. Yikes. The time it took to get the paper from HR and then signed off by legal was wasted time when you discover the number on the paper needs to be changed. This back and forth of contract preparation with negotiation results in more time being wasted. All of this puts pressure and risk on competing offers being introduced and back-ups growing restless.
The role of a Recruiter is to work in partnership with their client and pre-close a candidate before an offer is presented. The desired outcome for both the Recruiter and their client is an accepted offer, and this is the only way to almost guarantee that.
Recruiters typically have the backstory on the personal circumstances of a candidate and the reasons they will be likely to accept or decline an opportunity. Same with compensation expectations. Candidates will often have much more frank discussions with recruiters because they believe a recruiter will negotiate on their behalf. Being the intermediary provides transparency on all sides, giving the recruiter more insight into whether each of them can truly come to the table and sign the papers. Recruiters work hard to pre-close and get verbal confirmation from candidates before even asking a client to prepare the paperwork.
Winning the Deal:
Whether it’s, “I won the best candidate in a competitive market” or “I landed my dream job with these amazing bonuses” - everyone wants to feel like a winner.
Candidates often feel uncomfortable negotiating directly with an employer out of concern that it could complicate the relationship (which happens). A candidate could become concerned about the perception an employer has about their ability to negotiate, or not. A candidate who refuses to budge on their asks risks being perceived as inflexible or difficult. The reverse applies as well when a candidate perceives an employer as being inflexible and unappreciative of the candidate's value of themselves.
Candidates want to believe they are landing a great job and the company gave them an offer that showed their value. Having a third-party pre-close a candidate allows a recruiter to be 'on their side' and lets candidates negotiate more effectively than they would have otherwise. It gives them the feeling they won something that the recruiter got for them and it didn’t cost them anything in terms of their future employer-employee relationship.
Nothing is more unpredictable than another human being. As much as we have evolved, at the end of the day, we are emotional beings. No one likes to be surprised in business, but this industry and candidates can be full of surprises.
Whether it’s their decision-making processes, their emotions or a candidate disclosing personal situations you didn't think you would have to deal with (i.e. the reason why extended healthcare is important to them) can be more than you bargained for and leave you feeling frustrated. Suddenly, hiring the person you were excited about is not the delightful hiring experience you expected it to be and it’s leaving a ‘bad taste in your mouth’. This is the opposite of what your recruitment partner wants for you both.
Recruiters spend their whole careers training to handle these emotions and manage them in productive ways. They leverage these insider insights to properly manage negotiations, contracts, and all the feelings associated with it. A candidate is more likely to share details of other opportunities they are engaged in and where you rank in their selection, which gives better insight into the likelihood of landing them or moving quickly to Plan B.
Recruiters also understand that changing jobs is an emotional event and while that's exciting, it's also easy to lose sight or forget about the small details that ensure a smooth offer acceptance. One of the many ways a recruiter adds value is in coaching clients (and candidates) through the pre-search, interviewing, selection, and hiring processes (including offer presentation and negotiation) to help manage everyone's emotions and expectations.
A search partner acts as the intermediary who ensures that once the deal is done, both you and your hire had a frictionless hiring experience. This helps to ensure the relationship does not begin with all back-and-forth emotional baggage that may linger in the backs of minds during the first weeks, months, or even years of the hire joining. It alleviates the potential animosity of who "won" or "lost" or "caved in" so both sides feel like they “won” and can move into a professional working relationship looking only at the future.
By engaging a professional recruitment firm, you access their years of experience anticipating pitfalls and roadblocks to ensure a well-executed hiring process that results in hiring success and employees who become "raving fans" - helping attract other employees and foster the type of culture you desire for your company.