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5 Stumbling Blocks at the Offer Stage

Well done – you have reached the final recruitment straight.  After a comprehensive selection and interview process your perfect candidate has verbally accepted your offer.  It should be a done deal.

However, we find with many international software vendors looking to expand into new regions including the UK and EMEA, there are a number of stumbling blocks during the offer stage that can scupper the supposed ‘done deal’.  This can result in, not only lost time and resource, but also increasing frustration as you have to restart the recruitment process.

Holiday Entitlement

In other countries, many would put holiday entitlement at the bottom of the list of priorities when negotiating an offer, however in the UK, this is very high up the list of priorities.  We have had a number of instances recently where software vendors have offered circa 20 days (fairly standard for their business), when the candidate is expecting a minimum of 25 days.

Something to consider when you establish operations in the UK, as it will be more difficult to offer an increased holiday entitlement to a single employee if an already established team is on less entitlement.

Notice Periods

A real deal breaker this one. With many mid-senior level hires now on 3 months’ notice, it is imperative that you factor this into your considerations as early as possible. Please do not try and make an offer subject to the candidate being able to leave their job any earlier. They will not know until they have handed their notice in and will not hand their notice in if they have not received a formal offer and contract.

Although many are able to leave their positions earlier, particularly in Sales, do not rely on it and assume they will be held to 3 months and plan accordingly. Ideally you should be expecting a 3 month notice period and engage with a specialist agency in plenty of time to allow for a recruitment process and notice period.


If you have selected and offered an individual currently working for an established business in the UK, it is highly likely that they are currently enjoying a number of additional benefits in their current role. These may include pension contributions, healthcare for them and possibly their family, insurance, dental, travel assistance etc.

If you are establishing a new operation in the region it is highly unlikely that you will have a benefits system in place for your new employees, however this is something that should be taken into consideration when making offers to prospective new hires.

One option is to outsource to a 3rd party company who will be able to manage the payroll and benefits for you in the interim until you establish yourself. A second option is to increase the salary offered to provide additional finance for the individual to purchase the benefits themselves if they so desire.

Type of Contract

Having a home based or office based contract is quite an important point to consider when securing a new individual for the business. While there are a number of legalities to be carefully considered around both, if a candidate is considered home based then it would be expected that they would be able to claim for expenditure for travelling to and from the office, if there is one.

This will entirely depend on what the expectations of the role are, how many days at home, how many on client site and how many in the office are expected, but it should be a consideration at a fairly early stage in order to avoid any issues at offer stage.

Commission Structure

For many in Sales, the OTE is a critical factor for consideration when securing a new role. The opportunity to earn double your salary in commission for many is a real deal closer and a key motivator, however if it is not clear how this can be earned or how realistic the OTE is, then it could be a risk not worth taking for some.

Again, it is important to ensure this is out in the open at a fairly early stage. If you are unsure how it is going to work, then make sure the candidate is aware of this and takes the offer on the understanding that this is a topic for discussion as they establish themselves in the business. Perhaps provide a guarantee for the initial 3 – 6 months to show your commitment to them and to give them a level of security when accepting the role.

Offering share options in the business is similarly a potential issue. Candidates will often want to understand when they can be exercised and the number of shares that are offered.

In Conclusion…

So, even if you think the deal is done and you have secured your next Rockstar, remember there are many things that can still go wrong even after they have verbally accepted the offer.

Our specialist consultants at Harvey Thomas are fully aware of all of these potential stumbling blocks and work with their clients during the interview process to ensure that the verbal agreement translates to a signed contract.

If you would like to discuss any of the points raised in this article please contact Jon Eyers, one of the UK’s leading software recruitment specialists at Harvey Thomas on 44 (0)1908 307474.

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