You have found your ideal candidate and are keen to make a job offer before another employer snaps them up. You want to speak to them right away and offer them the job without delay. You don’t want to wait for a formal offer to go out.
If you have read earlier articles by me, you will know that I advocate making a decision quickly and not keeping candidates hanging on after interview, waiting for a response from you.
Before you make a job offer …
But here is a word of warning if you intend to make a verbal offer either face to face or by phone call. By all means speak to the person and make the offer but confirm that it is a CONDITIONAL offer at this stage, until such time as you have taken up references, done medical checks, etc. Confirm that you will send out a written unconditional offer once all checks have been completed. You can make a written offer at this stage, but that should also be conditional.
The reason for this is to protect both parties to the contract. The pre-employment checks, references, health checks, etc could potentially raise a problem which you want to address before confirming an offer. Worst case, you might want to withdraw the offer – either because of the outcome of the checks or for some other reason. If the offer was a conditional offer, then it can be withdrawn without too much difficulty. If your offer is unconditional, then as soon as it has been accepted there is a contract between you and the candidate and if you withdraw the offer it is potentially a breach of that contract.
What if the candidate changes their mind?
Sadly, this is not uncommon. Often someone will have had a better offer from another employer, or will have decided not to move from their current employer. In some cases, they may just disappear and you will never hear from them again.
You might think that if someone has disappeared after accepting your offer, then you can sue them for breach of contract. This is true, but would you really want to do so? It would do untold damage to your reputation and would make recruitment even more difficult as a result.
A better way to protect yourself against this problem is to become an employer of choice. If people really want to work for you, they are less likely to disappear after accepting a job offer. In the worst case that they do disappear, then it will be easier to find a replacement.