Should You Offer Someone a Job on the Spot?

In certain scenarios, yes, you should offer someone a job on the spot, say both Donna Meek, Vice President of Business Development for Staff One, a human resource outsourcing solutions and payroll services firm, and Beverly Jones, author of Think Like an Entrepreneur, Act Like a CEO.

There are occasions when Meek would hire on the spot. Here are when and why she would:

1. If I have created a job assessment of the behavioral characteristics that are expected for the position and, prior to an interview, compared the behavioral assessment results to the job created.

“If the candidate is a perfect fit and the interview goes well, I would consider making an on-the-spot offer,” says Meek.

Behavioral assessments such as the Predictive Index can help you find top performers regardless of how many interviews you have with the candidate, and eliminate the need to interview candidates who would not be a fit for the position.

2. If I have interviewed several candidates and have a deadline by which the position needs to be filled, as long as a candidate has the skills and experience needed for the job, I might extend an offer.

“This would be more for an entry level position, and very unlikely for an executive level job,” says Meek.

3. The person exudes confidence along with their skills and experience and shows a unique quality that stands out in the interview by the answers provided to questions during the interview.  When you know, you know! This is very rare, but it happens, adds Meek.

Would Jones hire on the spot? Yes – but with a caveat.

“If an executive coaching client were to ask me this question, my role would be to respond cautiously, suggesting a number of questions to be considered,” says Jones. “But if a friend were to ask what I’d do, under the circumstances described here, I’d say, ‘go for it.'”

Here’s why, according to Jones:

“It is rare to find a client where the leader and all her team members agree that the fit is so perfect,” says Jones. “The chances of finding two such candidates in a one search are low. The upside of acting quickly is that you will be able to make a great hire.”

The down side of a quick hire is that the candidate may not be as great as she first appears, says Jones.  

So here is here caveat:

While you are effectively hiring the candidate “on the spot,” any offer you make should be dependent on a careful reference check.  A strong candidate won’t be bothered by that, and in fact may like the opportunity to have third parties describe her strong points, she says.

Here are three reasons why you shouldn’t delay and hire on the spot, according to Jones:

1. A strong candidate may quickly find other opportunities. Even if she wasn’t looking when you first reached out, her contact with you has awakened her to the fact that she is ready to move on. “I can’t count the times that I’ve watched clients lose their best candidates because of the delays in their own recruitment and hiring processes,” says Jones.  

2. When hiring processes are drawn out too long, the engagement can lose momentum. The candidate can start to feel uncertain or resentful. Even if she accepts your offer she may show up on the first day of work with less enthusiasm and more concerns that the situation warrants.  Also, some of your team members may become bored or resentful of the drawn-out process, and be less helpful in supporting the candidate’s “on-boarding” phase.

3. It you have a candidate who looks this good on paper (as verified by references), and who impresses your entire team in round one, it is unlikely that you will easily find a better choice.  “So there is no point in wasting time and energy when you could be getting that candidate launched in her new role,” says Jones.

Jones reminds employers to remember these points, before hiring on the spot:

1. People show up in different ways in different situations.  Anybody might have one particularly good day.  It can be wise to meet somebody on multiple occasions before drawing a conclusion.

2. It can be difficult to judge skills and expertise.  It may be that other people should be involved in evaluating her strengths and experience.

3. Once the team has had an opportunity to reflect further on the interview, they may think of additional questions that did not come to mind because they were so impressed by the candidate’s great personality.

Meek offered these three reasons why she typically does not hire on the spot:

1. Even though it may seem flattering at first to the candidate that you made them an offer on the spot, it potentially could make the company appear desperate, and/or make the candidate question the quality of the job opportunity.

2. It could imply that the opening is not a professional position and thus lower their expectations or change the level of respect they have for the job.

3. Even though on paper, a candidate may have the skills and experience, it is important to take the time to make sure he or she can answer questions about those things, regardless of who is interviewing them.  Are the candidates consistent in their communication regarding experience and skills?  Is that consistent with what their references provided say about them when contacted?

Should you hire on the spot? Yes, but with a caveat, and caution.

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Matt Krumrie is a career columnist and professional resume writer who has been providing helpful information and resources for job seekers and employers for 15+ years. Learn more about Krumrie via resumesbymatt.com, connect with him on LinkedIn (www.linkedin.com/in/mattkrumrie/) and follow him on Twitter via @MattKrumrie.

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