How to Successfully Extend a Job Offer to a C-Level Executive

The Art of Extending an Offer

The time has come; after weeks (…sometimes months) of meetings, conversations, and interviews, you’ve decided who you would like to join your team for that mission-critical position. This hire means a lot to the business and presenting the offer in the right way can ensure a smoother acceptance and more delightful experience on both sides of the conversation. 

Below is an easy to follow framework for the always fun “offer call” – remember, a best practice is simply what works best for you, in practice, so don’t take this too literally. Maybe this will help, maybe it won’t, but it’s something we’ve found highly effective if you happen to be a hiring manager who decides to “wing it” more often than not. 

The flow is as follows:

  1. Open
  2. Emphasize their impact
  3. Emphasize their growth
  4. Talk specifics
  5. Ask for commitment
  6. End on a high note

Open: This is your chance to initiate the conversation with a slightly elevated level of enthusiasm and confidence. Let them know that you’re calling with “Good news” and that you’re excited to extend them an offer to join the team!

“As you may have guessed, I’m calling with good news! We’ve met as a team, talked it over and couldn’t be more excited to extend you a formal offer as our future ____________. Let’s talk a little about what joining our team would mean for you, then we’ll dive into the details”

As tempting as it is, do not jump straight to the numbers! This is your chance to let them know why you’re actually excited to work with them and how their direct contribution will drive the business forward.

Emphasize their impact: Connect their work to the success of the business and demonstrate how the candidate will have a material positive impact, mentor/develop the team, and accomplish the mission/vision of the organization.

‘Throughout our interview process and getting to know you as a person over the last few weeks, we’re confident that you’ll not only have a positive impact on our ability to (MISSION) but also developing our team and culture.’

Emphasize their growth: Connect the opportunity to their success in life/career – outside of compensation, what’s in it for the candidate? Connect back to how this opportunity aligns with what they’re seeking in a new opportunity, how they’ll grow and the skills they’ll develop.

“When we started our conversation, you mentioned that in your next role, you’d ideally ____, ______and _______. I believe this is the opportunity to _________, ________, and _______. While I’m excited about the impact you’ll have here at  __________, I’m also excited for who you’ll become while working here”

Talk specifics: Now it’s time to run through the numbers and get a bit more detailed.

 Okay, let’s walk through the numbers together

  • Start with total On-Target Earnings (Base + Bonus)
  • Base Salary
  • Performance Bonus
  • Equity
  • PTO / Other benefits if applicable
  • Any flexibility / WFH goes a long way!

Ask for commitment: The candidate now knows that you’re excited and confident, they know how the business will improve through their contributions, and how they’ll grow by accepting the opportunity. They also know the numbers and compensation. Now the ball is in their court – so let them have it.

“I know I just laid out a ton of information and it can be a lot to consider, but that’s the high-level overview and we’d love to have you on the team – so what do you say? <wait for her/his response>”

Set clear next steps:

  1. If she/he verbally accepts:
    1.  “Fantastic! I’m excited to have you join the team and to share the good news! I will send you an official written offer letter to your email.”
  2. If they seem hesitant and/or won’t give a solid Yes/No:
    1. “I understand this is a very important decision. Take some time to think about all that we’ve discussed and make the best decision for you. I’ll send / I’ve sent the written offer shortly so you can review and let’s set a time to reconnect on your decision. How does this Friday at 4p sound?

End on a high note:

If the candidate needs more time or wants to review the offer, that’s okay. A quick transition to talking about personal plans for the afternoon/weekend can show you care about them as a person, not just as a candidate.

…and that’s it. Simple enough, give it a try and let me know what you think.