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8 Steps To Follow When Making Job Offers To Accountants


Current global events have resulted in most employers of accountants and bookkeepers suddenly finding those ‘hard to fill’ roles have more qualified and suitable people applying to work with them than they can remember in recent times. 

Assuming you’ve done all the right things* in shortlisting, interviewing and testing the best applicants, you still need to get your preferred candidate over the line by making a convincing job offer and not losing them to competing job offers.

Jorg Stegemann, a recruiter and Director of Executive Search at Experis Executive (a division of ManPower Group), clearly lists 8 steps to a successful job offer that you should build into your toolkit:

1. Move fast.  

If you've made a decision, why wait? Time is always your enemy in your recruiting, even in a down economy exceptional talent is rare.

 Whenever possible contact the selected candidate later the same day of their final interview. If not, make contact within a day or two at most. Not only can you ease the candidate's stress during the post-interview waiting period but you also show how thrilled you are to make them a part of your team.

2. Always call.

Some companies send emails or letters. Don't. Make a phone call; not only can you convey your excitement, but you can gauge the level of enthusiasm of the selected candidate, too.

3. Be enthusiastic.

Be professional but be enthusiastic. Tell the candidate he/she was your first choice. Explain how impressed others are with his/her background and skills.

It's natural to play your cards close to your chest during the interview and selection process, but once you've made a decision, drop your reserve. Don't worry—conveying your excitement won't affect the salary negotiation process.

Remember, the employer-employee relationship doesn't start the first day on the job. It officially starts with the job offer. Make that moment memorable for the candidate.

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4. Apply the 10% rule.

Generally speaking, candidates expect a pay increase of at least 10% when they change jobs. Few candidates will change jobs for the same or lower salary (barring unusual circumstances, of course.) And if they do, they'll feel some level of resentment every time they get paid.

Never offer a salary below their current salary unless there are concrete, objective reasons to do so—and even then, think hard about it.

5. Show the money.

Explain pay and benefits as thoroughly and accurately as possible. Describe the base salary, how any bonus plans work, provide a fairly thorough overview of any other benefits, and describe any other perks. Then follow through with a written breakdown of all salary and benefits terms. Never give an employee any reason to feel they were the victim of a salary bait and switch—and never make bonus or perk promises you cannot keep.

6. Get a commitment—even a tentative one.

Many candidates will ask for time to consider the offer. That's natural—but that doesn't mean you can't ask questions. Say, "I completely understand... but can I ask what you think about our offer?"

Any hesitation the candidate feels indicates they may turn you down, so ask questions, without being pushy, and see if you can overcome any objections or provide additional information that will make acceptance more likely.

7. Follow up in writing.

Then put everything in an email or letter. Include all elements of the offer: job title, base salary, benefits, annual holidays, leave entitlements, etc. And make sure to set a deadline on acceptance; three days is typical.

 8. Ask the "killer question."

If you can't get a good read on the candidate's level of interest, if the decision-making period is dragging on, or if you just want to make absolutely sure the candidate will show up on their first day, ask this question: "I interviewed two other good candidates for this job. Can I tell them the job has been filled?"

Few people will lie about their intentions, especially when lying might affect another person that really wanted the job.

Have you ever made recruitment decisions you lived to regret?  Are you given recruitment responsibilities on top of your day job and struggle to find time to do it all?  Get our compact Accountant & Bookkeeper Recruitment Guide for free.   


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An easy reference document covering the whole process from scoping the Job Description for upcoming vacancies, right through to making better job offers than your competitors and sealing the deal, and every step in between.  Written by Accounting firm Partners, HR/People Management professionals within the accounting and bookkeeping sector and drawing on established and emerging best practice in selection techniques in Australasia, the UK and US, you can have access to a wealth of practical recruitment and selection knowledge and links to external expertise and reusable templates whenever you need it.




About the Authors

Giles Pearson FCA was a PwC Partner for 18 years before jointly setting up Accountests.  

Steve Evans has a whole career dedicated to enabling employers to attract, recruit, develop and retain talented individuals and teams, with particular expertise in candidate testing and assessment before setting up Accountests.

Accountests deliver the world’s only online suite of annually updated and country-specific technical knowledge tests designed by accountants for accountants and bookkeepers.