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How to extend a job offer after a second interview

If recruiting and hiring is one of the most stressful and challenging aspects of your job, you’re not alone. For many human resources professionals, managers, and executives, this process is often difficult. There are many critical steps to finding and hiring the right person.

Regardless of the open position, you want to be thorough and thoughtful without taking too much time that you hold up productivity in the office. Like most organizations, you probably have at least two interviews before extending a job offer to a candidate.

After speaking with several people during the first round, you’ll bring back a few of the top candidates for a second interview. You should be aware of how to conduct the next interview effectively and how to offer someone the position. At the same time, you’ll need to inform the other candidates that you did not select them for the position.

What to look for in the second interview

While the first interview is an important way to gather information about each candidate, the second interview goes a little deeper. You can ask similar questions at the next meeting. You can even rephrase original questions or follow up on items that either you or the other candidate needed to clarify.

While the first interview evaluates the person’s skills and attributes, the next step usually helps you determine whether this person would be a good fit in your organization. Candidates can dazzle you with their intelligence, accomplishments, and accolades.

However, if they don’t seem to have a personality or demeanor that will mesh well with co-workers and managers, you may want to go in a different direction. To do this, you should bring different people in for the next interview. Invite the person’s prospective manager into the interview as well as that person’s boss.

You could even include members of cross-functional teams and others in the organization that this person would work with regularly. Some of these types of questions would be helpful:

  • What do you like about our organization?
  • Why do you want to work here?
  • How do our values and goals align with yours?
  • Tell us about a time when you had to resolve a conflict at work.
  • Tell us about a time when you didn’t agree with the direction you received on a project. What did you do?
  • What would current and former co-workers tell us about you?

Making the decision

During the second interview, make sure you take notes of the discussion. Record the candidate’s answers and compare them with those that other people gave. After all of the interviews are over, convene with the hiring committee and evaluate which candidate was most impressive.

Together, determine which person would best fit in with the company’s culture and which one would most likely be successful in this position. Come to a consensus before you make a decision.

Listen to others’ opinions about why they may think differently than you. If you are still struggling to decide between the final two people, you may want to conduct a third interview. However, if everyone feels comfortable about a particular person, there’s no need to delay the job offer.

The offer letter

Professionally, few things will be more exciting to a candidate than a job offer letter. There are a few ways to go about this. Some employers like to call the candidate and extend the offer personally. Others may do so by email only. You may even consider telling the person over the phone and then sending a formal email or even a letter in the mail. Whichever method you choose, there are some essential elements your communication must include.

First, consider the tone. You should convey enthusiasm about coming to this decision and having the person work at the company. Start by greeting the candidate by his or her first name. Be direct in saying that you would like to offer the person the position of (whatever the specific title is) at your organization. You should state that you and the others on the team are thrilled to have the person on board and look forward to working with him or her.

It would help the candidate to know a few things that stood out in the second interview. Consider pointing out some of the skills and traits that impressed you. Tell the person why you want to hire him or her.

What else to include

You can be sure the person will be happy about this offer news. However, if you’re not careful, the soon-to-be employee may have some confusion. Be detailed in this offer letter. State when you expect the person to start, including the day and time he or she should report on day one. Explain who they’ll be reporting to, what department they’ll work in, and what their job title will be.

You’ve undoubtedly covered this information during the first and second interviews, but you should include it here once again. Of course, another important part of the offer letter is salary information. Include here the annual gross salary you are offering. You can also mention some of the benefits which the employee will be eligible for. If there are others that the employee will have at some point, talk about those as well.

Before closing the letter, briefly congratulate the person once again and ask that he or she responds with an acceptance. Be respectful and understand that the candidate may want to take 24 hours to consider the offer and make sure it is the right decision. Also, don’t forget to encourage the candidate to reach out to you if he or she has any questions.

The rejection letter

While the offer communication is an exciting occasion for the candidate and you, sending a rejection letter after the second interview can be difficult. Even though this email or phone call can be daunting, you owe it to the other candidates to inform them that you are not moving forward in the recruitment process with them.

You should communicate individually with all second-round candidates whom you don’t select for the job. Make sure you send out rejection letters after an offer letter. If you reject candidates first, and the person you want does not accept the job, you may have to awkwardly change your mind on one of the individuals you turned away. The rejection letter should be kind and empathetic.

Thank the candidates for the time they invested in you and for letting you get to know them. Mention a few attributes that you admired about the person. Wish each candidate well in his or her job search and career goals. You should also consider telling the candidate that you will keep his or her resume on file and that you will communicate any future opportunities with the company.

After the second interview, you have an important job ahead of you. Carefully evaluate all of the candidates and choose one that you are confident exudes everything you want in an employee. Follow these suggestions when you craft an offer letter, so the candidate understands what is expected. If you do these things, you can feel good about the decision you’ve made and the direction of your organization.

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