How to find out if candidates have other job offers

It's important for recruiters to find out if the candidate has other job offers, but each one has its own way to dig out the information

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Candidates are often left tongue tied by certain questions during interviews. Questions that leave them in a dilemma as to whether to be honest or discreet. One such question is ‘Do you have any other offer in hand?

Companies are always keen to know whether the candidate has other job offers in hand. This helps the recruiter to understand – how much time the organisation has to extend its offer, how much to negotiate, what to offer, and also whether to rely on the candidate or move to the next best. It also helps to gauge how valuable the person’s skills are in the market.

Some prefer it to be direct. As Manu Wadhwa, CHRO, Sony Pictures, believes, “This question helps an interviewer assess the urgency to take a decision on the candidate’s relevance for the role at hand. It definitely is an influencer question, as it puts a perspective on the demand for the candidates’ skills and capabilities in the market. I haven’t come across any candidate who has not answered this question.”

“This question helps an interviewer assess the urgency to take a decision on the candidate’s relevance for the role at hand. It definitely is an influencer question, as it puts a perspective on the demand for the candidates’ skills and capabilities in the market. I haven’t come across any candidate who has not answered this question.”

Manu Wadhwa, CHRO, Sony Pictures

She also adds as it is often presumed, it’s not a privacy-driven question. “Even the candidates themselves realise that this question helps the prospective employer gauge the time available to them to take a call,” reasons Wadhwa.

Rajesh Padmanabhan, HR Leader & CEO, Talavvy, says, “Such information emerge from other parts of the conversation through smart interviewing anyway. I don’t ask it directly, because I feel by asking such a question, I will only allow them to judge me as being fine with shopping, and lower my employer brand. So, it’s a leading question of sorts.”

Padmanabhan prefers to check the purpose behind the candidate seeking this role, the differentiation between this existing role and the role being offered, and the driving factors for decision making to switch.

Now these are implicit questions and the behaviour of the candidate will give it away if it’s the only role being pursued or if there is another consideration.

“I prefer to check the purpose behind the candidate seeking this role, the differentiation between this existing role and the role being offered, and the driving factors for decision making to switch. Now these are implicit questions and the behaviour of the candidate will give it away if it’s the only role being pursued or if there is another consideration.”

Rajesh Padmanabhan, HR Leader & CEO, Talavvy

He recollects an instance when he had closed a C-level role with a top-notch hire. “She was negotiating hard on the financials and was seeking an 80 per cent hike in salary with me. On questioning her about the same, she replied that she was not comparing the financials with her current role but with another market offer in hand, compared to which the hike I offered would work out to only about 20 per cent according to her. When I asked her to share the offer, she declined under the pretext of confidentiality. Following this, my decision-making was like shooting in the dark. I trusted my instincts, dragged my feet and delayed making the offer.”

He continued that desperation got the better of her, prompting her to call regularly and follow up. The cat was soon out of the bag and she quickly started lowering her expectations on the financials.

He put her through his conversational psychometric and NLP combine. Discomfort was clearly evident, and post the conversation, he conveyed to her that she should pursue the other role. “The candidate desperately tried to convince me that her heart was in this role and that she was willing to entirely let go of the other role unconditionally. She was also willing to take anything that I offered as compensation.”

“In my career I never had to ask this question. In fact people themselves tom-tom about their parallel offers and try to negotiate on the salary. I know that I have a budget range for the particular role matching it with the market offering, if the candidate agrees to it well and good, if not I move on.” 

Sunil Singh, former CHRO and CEO, Mindstream Consulting

Clearly, the point Padmanabhan is trying to make here is that, one needs to be capable of sound hiring and decision-making, based on trust in deep instincts, abilities and principles. Losing a good candidate is better than ending up with a wrong hire.

However, there are also a few HR professionals, who feel it’s not important to know whether the candidate has other job offers or not.

As Sunil Singh, former CHRO and CEO, Mindstream Consulting. “In my career I never had to ask this question. In fact people themselves tom-tom about their parallel offers and try to negotiate on the salary. I prefer giving more weightage to the fact that if the candidate is fit for the role or not. I do not prefer wasting time on negotiating because I know that I have a budget range for the particular role matching it with the market offering, if the candidate agrees to it well and good, if not I move on.”

“I would recommend building an organisation which has a reputation in the market of an equitable compensation structure. People generally try to negotiate because they think that the company does not pay at par,” he concludes.

 

2 COMMENTS

  1. Sir! I agree with you on your comments and ask to follow the same by all HR Professionals because this is the fact up on which all HR Professionals should be able to do so!

  2. But in the first place why ask..shouldnt we be aware of the median fig of the competitor and which competitor is hiring for what kind of role…

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