Make a job offer and start the clock!

You made the offer…How long do you wait for a candidate to accept it or reject it?

stop_watch Interviewing can be demanding for recruiters, hiring managers, and team members who have to take on these extra responsibilities until the hire is made.  After weeks, or dare I say, months of screening candidates, you finally make an offer, but now you have to decide how long you are willing to wait to get a response.

Do you use a 48 Hour Window?

Many companies use a 48 hour window for candidates to accept written job offers. For them, this window is short enough that they can move to their second or third choice without stringing other candidates along for weeks on end.  In turn, a candidate is provided time to assess the offer and any potential pros and cons.  The problem with a 48 hour window is that the candidate is likely to have other offers to consider and needs time to compare them before making the right decision.  This suddenly becomes a difficult situation for both the company and candidate.

How about 7 Days?

A full week can seem like an eternity when waiting for a response for anything, let alone an acceptance or rejection to a job offer.  Unfortunately, sometimes, that’s what it takes for great candidates.  A week provides enough time for a candidate to get other pending offers on the table, and plenty of time to evaluate and compare them to the one you just made. It also gives the hiring manager the opportunity to assess the candidate’s level of enthusiasm.  A quick response by the candidate generally indicates incredible excitement and enthusiasm.

A Compromise

Try making an offer in the middle of the week and set a deadline for either the following Monday or Friday.  This could be a good compromise.  Candidates won’t feel as forced to make a quick decision and will have some time to consider other offers while hiring managers still have extra time and flexibility to consider backup candidates.

Remember, most interviews span over several hours across many days or weeks.  It takes time to evaluate and choose the right person for the job.  You more than likely have interviewed several promising candidates along the way.  Just as you don’t want to rush through the interview process, candidates don’t want to be forced to make a quick decision about their future. You want your “new hire” to start the job feeling appreciated, welcomed, and secure in the knowledge that both parties are excited about their choice.

How long do you wait?