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Never let another placement slip through your fingers with our comprehensive checklist!

For first-time founders of recruitment agencies, getting early deals over the line is the number one priority.

Good for cashflow, good for morale – locking in the first few placements builds essential momentum for new agencies to flourish.

How best to ensure that these all-important deals don’t slip through your fingers?

With a robust checklist that provides a comprehensive framework to close deals methodically and with no surprises.

From junior hires to experienced consultants, we can all be guilty now and again of letting the buzz go to our heads and grabbing the phone to share the good news with the lucky candidate ASAP.

It’s exciting, and we’ve got a target to hit… this is what we’ve been waiting for!

But blurting the news to the candidate without a plan usually leads to problems.

Instead of firing off an email or dialing the candidate’s mobile, our default reaction should be to immediately start building a plan to be able to close the offer successfully.

This is the culmination of hours of work – profile screens, messaging, scheduling, interview management… not to mention work done on other positions that won’t produce offers.

When we get offers, we need to close them with scientific precision – it simply doesn’t make sense for this critical point – where we convert all our effort into success and reward – to be the one part of our process that doesn’t have a detailed plan!


More often than not, the information we have to discuss with the candidate from the initial client offer is not enough for them to be able to say ‘yes’ or ‘no’ to taking the job.

Nine times out of ten, even if the candidate is interested, they’ll have additional questions – it could be the job title, the start date, holiday allowance, over-time pay…

These might all be things we don’t know the answer to, meaning we need to go back and ask the client…

As recruiters, we want to reduce this back-and-forth as much as possible.

Every time we have to go and find something out, it delays the process and gives the candidate time to:

  • receive other job offers
  • get a raise or a promotion in their current job
  • head off on vacation, or for business travel, freezing the process
  • decide against changing careers altogether

To eliminate this risk, it’s critical that our presentation of the offer to the candidate be as clean and comprehensive as possible – not fragmented and drawn-out.

The information we need includes:

  • all relevant details about the candidate’s current position
  • matching information about what the client’s offer includes
In both cases what we need to be able to confidently present and close an offer goes a long way beyond basics like salary, start date etc.
We need to be informed on every detail of the candidate’s circumstances and know exactly how each of these will be affected if they take the job offered by our client.
Without this information, we’re not in a strong position to be able to present and close the offer.
The safest way to ensure that nothing important falls through the cracks is by working with a comprehensive checklist.
Wish you had one?
You’re in luck!
Here’s our our Ultimate Candidate Pre-Close Checklist, designed to help you and your team take a structured approach to presenting offers and fine-tuning this vital phase of your sales funnel.
There’s too much we don’t know – and we’re risking our weeks of hard work if we proceed with an offer before filling in the gaps.

#1 – Role details

Before we get into the specifics of pay and benefits, we should have a strong grasp of how the two opportunities stack up against each other as career options.

What does it mean for the candidate’s future to stay, and what changes if they take the job on offer?


Do we know what the candidate’s current job title is, and what the offer is for?

It may seem trivial, but deals can fall apart when someone expecting a ‘director’ role receives a contract with a ‘manager’ title…
As well as comparing a new job offer with their current situation, candidates will also compare it to their future prospects if they choose to stay put.
Pay attention to some key points for both the current and offered roles:
  • When is the candidate’s next likely opportunity for promotion?
    • Are the requirements for achieving this clear?
  • What are the consequences of promotion? (New responsibility, salary increase, job title etc.)
  • Does the candidate have a formal, scheduled performance review?
  • What are the trending historic base salary raise rates in the company for comparable positions?


Are there any significant changes to the candidate’s commute if they accept the new role?

  • Longer / shorter time?
  • More / less traffic?
  • Driving / public transport?


If the role has a management component, what are the comparable details for the current and offered position?

  • Size of team
  • Anticipated growth of team
  • Recruitment budget and resources
  • Other budget, tools and training resources


What are the skills the candidate is likely to build in each role, and how will these impact their future career trajectory?

Will candidates be:
  • Acquiring new hard skills?
  • Building new soft skills?
  • Receiving new qualifications?
  • Developing more autonomy, or ownership of a project or division?
  • Experiencing more exposure to senior leadership?
  • Working more closely with key customers?
  • Adding experience in a new business environment, market or geography?
  • Working with innovative or industry-leading colleagues or managers?
  • Using advanced resources or technology?
  • Working with top-tier customers, client accounts or partners?
  • Networking with influential business people?

#2 – Employer Profile

Together with the specifics of the position, the business behind the job also weighs in the balance for every career decision. 

How do the two companies compare?


Is there a difference in ownership status between the employers – what are the consequences for employees?


How have the two companies performed in recent years?

Take into account:
  • Headcount growth
  • Revenue growth
  • Profitability
  • M&A activity
  • Share price (if applicable)
  • Product releases
  • Key personnel hires
  • Innovation and IP

  • Who are the people at the head of the organisation?
    • Investors
    • Advisors & Board
    • C-level Managers
    • Divisional Managers
  • Where have they worked before?
  • What have they achieved, what is their track record?

What is the corporate culture like in each business?
It can be worth looking into

  • Mission, vision and values
  • Staff turnover / retention rates
  • Glassdoor reviews
  • LinkedIn Insights data (if available)
  • Internal promotion track record & success stories
  • Social activity & corporate responsibility
  • Team events
  • Office locations & environment

Has either company received recent investment?
If so:

  • How much?
  • From which investors?
  • How recently?
  • Is there any PR discussing the investment rationale?

Are the businesses different sizes or ‘shapes’? How might this impact career development?

  • Headcount
  • Office locations
  • Team sizes and distribution

  • What is the market position for each company with regard to their products or services?
    • Leader?
    • Challenger?
    • Legacy?
    • Cutting-edge?
  • Is there a difference in the breadth or complexity of solutions each company offers, and how will this impact careers within the business?

  • Is there a key difference between the companies’ customer groups?
    • Household brands
    • International accounts
    • Regional / domestic focus
    • Large vs small total customer book
    • Cross-industry vs highly specialised?
    • Rapid customer growth rate vs static book of business?

#4 – Other Options

Lastly, it’s important not only to compare the candidate’s current position with the offer, but also to take into account (where possible) any other options on the table that have been shared with us. 
How does our opportunity compare with other options?


Have we discussed the possibility of a counter-offer with the candidate?

As carefully as we may compare current vs offered job, the game changes if a newly upgraded package is added to the mix, encouraging the candidate to stay.
Do we know about any other interview processes the candidate has open?
What stage are they at, how likely are other offers, and what can we learn about how they compare?
(It can be a key error to focus exclusively on our offer vs current role, only to learn that there is more than one door open!).

#3 – Remuneration & Perks Package

Critically, when preparing to present offers we need to understand pay.

But remuneration is rarely a simple question of Salary A vs Salary B – by understanding the full picture, we can play an informed and influential role in the discussion. 


Do we know the candidate’s current salary, and the starting salary on offer?


If it’s a sales role, do we understand both the candidate’s current and offered commission structure in detail?

Commission packages are complex, and unless we understand the mechanics of the plans, we can’t have a role in the negotiations.
With commission, think about:
  • What % is paid out for performance at goal?
  • What % is paid out for performance beyond goal?
  • What % is paid for sales to new customers, what % for repeat sales?
  • What is the goal / quota set, and how easy is it to hit?
    • How regularly have current team members hit it?
    • What size of territory / accounts / verticals does the candidate have access to in order to hit it?
    • What is the average deal size?
    • What is the average sales cycle?
    • What sales and marketing support is available?
    • How well positioned is the product or service in the market?
    • How competitive is the pricing?
  • Is commission capped? If so, at what level?
  • How frequently is commission paid out – monthly, quarterly, annually?
  • Are there any secondary incentive tiers, SPIFFs or accelerators?
  • Does the candidate have commission due on sales pipeline?
    • Is there a sign-on bonus available to compensate?

Just like commission, a bonus system usually has some complexity that needs investigating.

  • Is the bonus discretionary, or objective-based?
    • What is the objective set, and how easy is it to hit?
    • How regularly have current team members hit it?
  • What % of their bonus have people in comparable positions typically received?
  • How frequently are bonuses paid out – monthly, quarterly, annually?
  • Is the bonus capped at a fixed amount or % of salary?
  • Does the candidate have a bonus payment due soon with their current employer?
    • Is there a sign-on bonus available to compensate?

Senior positions, jobs with start-ups or roles with certain employers may offer some form of equity as part of the package.
Similarly, candidates may have some existing equity arrangement with their current situation.
Being able to appraise the value of these helps add necessary perspective to the comparison.
It’s key to look at:
  • What form is the equity, full shareholding (grants) or the potential to buyer shares (options)?
  • What is the vesting schedule linked to the equity ownership?
    • Does the candidate need to remain employed for a fixed time period, or hit a performance goal?
  • How will the candidate ‘realise’ the value of the equity (IPO, dividend, sale of stock, acquisition)?
  • What is the most recent valuation of the company (recent investment, share price)?
  • What is the anticipated future valuation of the company (and what supports that valuation)?

  • Does the current or offered role offer overtime pay?
  • At what rate, under what conditions?

  • Does either role offer flexibility to work from home?
  • Under what conditions and with what restrictions?
  • Does the employer contribute to WFH costs, or are there savings from not having to commute?

Are there any key differences in holiday allowance or holidays observed by the employer?

How do the perks and benefits plans of the current and offered positions compare?

  • Pension
  • Gym membership
  • Company car
  • Travel or entertainment budget
  • Catered meals
  • Parking
  • Training & development
  • Team-building & social
  • Hardware
  • Pet-friendly offices

  • Does either position offer (or obligate!) travel away from home?
  • To which locations, and how frequently?
  • What contribution does the employer make to travel costs?
How does it work?