The Lawyers Career Blog

Four Mistakes Employers Make When Extending A Job Offer

January 30, 2018

You’ve completed the final round of interviews of a stellar lawyer who will add depth and breadth to your legal department. Your internal business clients are thrilled, unanimously agree on the wisdom of the hire, and can’t wait to begin collaborating with your new superstar. All that remains is to extend an offer and agree upon a start date. What could go wrong? Lots.

Employers lose the opportunity to hire the very best talent and cause harm to their reputation in the marketplace by making mistakes at the offer stage that can easily be avoided. Here are four mistakes that your organization must avoid if you want to compete for the very best talent:

1.    Failure to Preview an Offer to a Candidate.  There should be no surprises at the offer stage. Through multiple rounds of interviews, ongoing consultations with your search firm partner, and due diligence by your human resources department, you should have a firm grasp on what a candidate is currently earning and what his/her expectations are concerning compensation at your company.  Now you must go one step further and preview or “float” what a potential offer would look like.  We do this for our clients on virtually every search we are engaged on. It allows us to provide assurances to our clients that an offer is viewed favorably and will be accepted. If there is pushback or if a candidate expresses concern about a potential offer, our client then has an opportunity to reconsider what will be offered or choose not to move forward and avoid being “left at the altar”.

2.    Extending a low ball offer.  While perhaps an effective tactic when purchasing real estate, a low ball offer has the potential to backfire and cause lasting harm. A low ball offer to a candidate essentially is saying “we don’t value your training and experience”.   Rather than inviting negotiation, the human being receiving the offer is put off, insulted, and likely to seek employment elsewhere. You can anticipate that word about low ball offers will reach the marketplace and negatively impact your ability to attract top talent.

3.    Communicating incomplete information. It sounds basic but the details do matter. If a position in your legal department is bonus eligible and equity eligible, it looks bad if the offer makes no mention of that fact. Similarly, a failure to specify title and reporting structure will reflect poorly on your organization.

4.    Imposing an unreasonable deadline for response to your offer.  No one wants a gun to their head. You want people that are enthusiastically and willingly embracing your organization. The best talent will have multiple offers of employment and imposing an artificial deadline is sure to backfire.

If you want to dramatically increase your ability to secure top legal talent and protect the time and effort you invest in the hiring process, avoid these four pitfalls. We’re here to help with your next key hire.


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