Thoughts from The 100: Making a Job Offer

The-100-Title-OnlyLast time I shared Intertech’s hiring process (which you can read about in detail in my new book “The 100: Building Blocks for Business Leadership.”) But that was only half of the story. In my next several posts I’ll share my philosophy about how to select top performers and, most importantly, your role in ensuring that they thrive once they come on board.

Why only hire the most accomplished professionals? It takes time and patience to find and recruit top performers. Yet it’s a substantial investment that pays for itself over time. Companies that settle for mediocre employees experience eroding profit margins since lower pricing is their only competitive advantage.

It pays to be picky. In the world of Information Technology (IT), a top programmer is 100 times more productive than someone who rates at the bottom of a 10-point scale. Research (Bryan 2012) and my own experience back up this audacious claim.

Not surprisingly, top performers are not easy to find or recruit. They’re usually contentedly employed elsewhere and not terribly interested in switching jobs unless their current employer fails to recognize their value (and reward them accordingly!).

For this reason, strive to cultivate a “virtual bench” of possible candidates who are exceptional at their jobs even if they are happily employed elsewhere. Stay in touch with these folks because circumstances can change and they may become interested in new opportunities down the road.

When you find a top-performing candidate whose skills, personality and values fit your organization, it’s time to negotiate an offer. Some may consider my approach unorthodox, but I believe in treating people candidly. Ask your candidate what’s most valuable to him or her: time off, telecommuting, money or something else? Take that into consideration when you make your offer. Of course, if someone expects a lot, you should expect – and receive – a lot in return.

Negotiate your offer clearly, present face-to-face, and provide a firm deadline for the candidate to decide, although do give a reasonable amount of time to make a decision. If you require candidates to sign a non-compete agreement, you must disclose that at the same time you make the employment offer. Assuming your candidate accepts your offer, you still have plenty of work to do in ensuring that he or she succeeds at your firm… more about that on my next post.