So you finally agreed with your co-founders Mike is the best guy to build your mobile app. He is definitely keen on joining your Rainbows as a Service (credit to @boredelonmusk) startup. Mike is a superstar who happens to have a physic degree and some serious hands on software development experience learning with the best at Cisco and Google. Since you raises your Series A, your startup suddenly crossed the line between being considered stupid to “yeah, people could actually pay to get a rainbow at their wedding”.
Now comes the time where you need to make an offer to Mike and he better not refuse because he is THE guy. But here is the thing, 65% of employment offers in the tech world are rejected. This stat is even higher in the Valley where some tech talent receive job solicitation on average every 27 hours on Linkedin.
65% of employment offers in the tech world are rejected
I’ve compiled here 10 tips to increase your offer success rate dramatically. I have used and perfected these recruiting for clients and my own organisation over ten years. Some of these tips will probably sound pushy or inadequate to you but they work. It starts with my number one rule: “Never assume anything”. Never assume Mike talked to his wife about your discussions. Never assume Mike handed over his resignation. Never assume he was telling the truth about getting $225K a year.
1. Ask around the market rates for the role on offer. Define your maximum cash and equity budget for it.
2. Identify the candidate’s motivations early. Is it money, career advancement, working with the latest tech, your startup project? See if that’s in line with what you offer.
3. Ask what package Mike had in his last three jobs starting with the oldest one. “When you started at Cisco in 2012, what was your salary package? You then moved to Google, what was your salary then? How much did you get when you got promoted to product manager?” These questions have to be asked. This method will prevent Mike from b.s. avoiding embarrassment for both of you.
Always offer slightly less money
4. Always offer slightly less money than what they were getting with their previous (mature) employer. You offer the opportunity of a lifetime and equity. You want to deter the people who are after the money.
What does your family think about you joining Rainbow.io?
5. Discuss all the possible roadblocks: “What do your partner think about moving from Palo Alto to Berkeley? What happens with your shares when you leave Google? Do you own the house you live in? What does your family think about you joining Rainbow.io?”
6. Prepare Mike to the fact his current employer will make a counter offer. “Dave, it’s likely Google will make you a counter offer. What will you do if they offer you more money and a promotion? Will you still join?”
Get a verbal commitment
7. Get a verbal commitment before extending the offer. “We would like to offer you $180K + 1.5% equity vested over 4 years. We know you are worth more but that’s our maximum budget. How does that compare with your expectation?”
8. Extend the written offer asking for confirmation of acceptance within 48h. Since you already got the verbal acceptance, it’s only a matter of acknowledging that in writing. No need to “think it over the weekend” and get social pressure not to jump from Google to Rainbow.io.
9. Help Dave with his resignation. It starts with sharing resignation letter samples. “Hey Mike, I’ve dig out some well constructed resignation letters. Apparently you should write: <<My decision is final and I am looking for the earliest possible release date>>.
Communicate every day until the resignation is confirmed
10. Know exactly when Mike will meet his boss to resign. Get him to call you straight after. Communicate every day until the resignation is confirmed by HR. Once done, meet Mike regularly and get him involved with your startup.
It’s hard enough to find talent. These 10 steps increase your ability to have them accept your offer dramatically. You build a strong rapport even before the candidate join your startup.
Names, companies, characters, places and incidents either are products of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously
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