Dear Artemis: How much time should I give a candidate to review an offer?
Updated: Sep 20, 2022
Welcome back to Dear Artemis: Where you ask us tough questions and we use our collective 45+ years of knowledge in the recruiting space to answer them.
How much time should I give a candidate to review an offer?
VP Engineering, B2B Scale Up
Congrats on getting a candidate to the offer stage! This is a great question because you’re balancing a few things here: Respecting the candidate by giving them adequate time, respecting other candidates in the process by not dragging this out, and making sure you don’t give them too much time.
We strongly advise against giving candidates more than 2-3 business days. In an ideal world, you share the offer sometime Friday afternoon and ask for a response by Monday EOD. This gives them the weekend to reflect, connect with their family and any trusted advisors, and a business day to circle back with questions. It also reduces the risk of another company from swooping in with an offer over the weekend, since that’s less likely than weekday offers.
In other words, Friday offers increase your success rate while respecting the candidate’s decision-making process. And, in the worst-case scenario where the candidate declines, your other potential candidates have only been waiting for 1 business day. When that’s not possible, we advise a 48-hour turnaround.
This may seem like a short amount of time to ask someone to make such a huge decision. But by the final stage, your candidate should have all of the insights and information they need to know if the role is a fit. If they’re waffling at this step, it’s a sign that something is amiss. To make sure they have everything they need at the offer stage, we ask candidates at every step along the way what additional information they need to make a confident decision. We ensure our clients address all candidate questions and concerns by the final discussion so there is no back and forth and no surprises at the offer stage.
Important Note: We’re seeing shorter and shorter interview processes thanks to a highly competitive market. While a shorter process shows decisiveness and can help you get to an offer before other companies, it can also be too quick for the candidate. This is a very big decision for anyone! The interview process often serves as a time to mentally prepare to leave one job and make room for another one. If your interview process is just 1-2 conversations over the span of a couple of days, candidates may ask for more time to decide on an offer. If that is the case, ask if another conversation would be beneficial or if there are additional insights that will help them in their decision-making. Be sure to frame this as a conversation meant to benefit them, and not as an interview. You’ve already decided you want this person on your team so the purpose of this conversation should be to a) share any additional context, b) answer their question, and c) love-bomb.
[What’s a love-bomb, you may ask? When the hiring manager shares how excited they are with the candidate, and why that particular candidate would make a positive impact on your org.]
To summarize: Ideally, share your offers Friday afternoon with a Monday EOD deadline. If that’s not possible, give candidates a 48-hour turnaround. Know how your candidate will make their decision before the final interview, and make sure they have everything they need. This is fair especially when candidates have a chance to have a final “conversation” in shorter interview processes. Last but not least - don’t forget to love-bomb!
We hope this helps. As always - if you have any questions, thoughts, or suggestions… we’re an email away.
Until next time,
Negin & the Artemis Team