In my 12 years recruiting I've never delivered an offer...ever! And in my 12 years recruiting I've never had a company and a candidate arrive at the decision (commonly known as the "offer"stage) without my candidate accepting...ever! Why? 'Cause I've never delivered an offer...ever!
I know many a recruiting trainer who preach client/candidate control. I also know there is no such thing...however, you can control the process to a great degree and if you're not, you're wasting your time and your money.
Think Alec Baldwin's Glenn Gary speech (not included as to not offend...youtube it). ABC...if you're not closing the client high and the candidate low from the get go...you're not doing your job. (see why in the final paragraph).
Your job is to:1) Establish candidate qualifications,
2) Establish candidate fit,
3) Pitch the job. Be honest but tailor your pitch to the candidate...remember, they make chocolate and vanilla ice cream for a reason...don't infuse your own morays,
4) Submit the resume with a follow up call to the client within 24 hours to schedule the interview.
5) If you're client isn't seeing ALL your candidates then you're not doing your job...you're client isn't meant to screen...you are,6) Prep the candidate, AND THE CLIENT! If you don't know what this means...you're probably in the wrong business.
7) Have your candidate call you as soon as they hit the street after the interview. You want first impressions before they talk to their Granny in Boca. Identify any red flags and do your best to make them green, but not at the expense of misleading.
8) Contact your client. First ask their thoughts before giving the candidate feedback. See comment about red flag in #6.
9) If there is a mutual interest, START CLOSING!
On all subsequent interviews the same series of questions should be asked, finishing with, "is there any compelling reason not to take this job (hire this candidate)"?
Before the final interview, which is usually just a confirmation and a means for everyone to cover their a*ses, the candidate must be closed, ON EVERYTHING! They are not going to learn anything more about the position, the company, the culture, etc. that will have a major impact on their decision, so don't waste anyone's time, including your own. Be sure the candidate is closed on all aspects, including salary. The only means to test this is to walk through the offer you should know is probable, before the final interview, sans them going to that interview wearing a Justin Bieber t-shirt! It goes something like this:
"Bob, if your feeling don't change about your fit and wanting the position and if the package is in line with what we've discussed, what is you're walkaway number...the base salary that no matter the other aspects we've discussed or the opportunity you are saying no?" If you don't get an answer, you didn't do your job.
If you get a number, say $150K the next question is, "So at 150K do I have the authority to accept on your behalf?" If you get a no, you didn't do your job.
If you get an answer but you cannot accept on their behalf there are only two avenues...one, you didn't do your job...two, closing opportunity.
1) Answer, "I just want to see what they come back with". You didn't do your job.
2) Answer, "I will accept the job at $150K but I want them to make the first move".
For 2) the reply should come naturally. It goes something like this, "Bob, for me to get you this job at $150K I need to know you're committed and I can accept you your behalf. It gives me negotiating leverage. Here's why. If I let them pull the trigger first at $145K and they are firm and you need $150, they may say that for $5K [you] don't see the opportunity. But, if I can accept on your behalf at $150K and they come in at $145...I'll can let them know that at $150K I can accept on your behalf, right here, right now...done...with a start date. For 5K do we really want to give the candidate the impression that it's a deal breaker? How much more would it cost to start the search from scratch? It will also demonstrate your decisiveness and be a great way to get started."
Assume the candidate says yes at $150K and you can accept on their behalf, which is most of the time...if you did your job. Next question...,"Bob, this question is going to be even harder. I'm going in at $160K as a starting point but, if they come in at $145K and don't want to budge, am I just telling them no?" One of two things will usually happen...Bob will say call me...which means you didn't do your job, or a discussion will ensue. 9 of 10 times that dollar amount will go lower, this giving you more negotiating room.
Now for the last paragraph...go high...go low.
If the candidate is making $125K and you know the position will go to $160K, close the client high on value (at $165) knowing your ending point is 150K. Save the client 15K, you're a RockStar! If the candidate is at $125K it's reasonable, especially in this economy to get an offer of $145K. Get the candidate 150K, you're a RockStar!
In the end, the "offer" should be no offer at all. It should simply be call to schedule the celebration!