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How to Make a Job Offer More Competitive

What to do when you can't offer more money

Money alone makes it hard to attract and retain top-notch candidates, especially when you are competing with larger businesses and corporations in your industry. So, instead of focusing on money, figure out how to make a job offer more competitive when you can’t offer more money.

Candidate Analysis

What Makes Candidates tick?

While the candidate is evaluating you and your company throughout the entire hiring process, you should be evaluating them as well. This process has meaning beyond just figuring out if they are the perfect candidate. You also want to analyze what is really important to them. During screening, interviews, and other interactions, you should be working to decode their needs and what will make them say yes. Once you’ve really analyzed your top candidates, you’ll be able to approach each job offer with an individualized approach. Though this can be time-consuming, it will make the candidate feel heard. It may also encourage a hard YES.


Analyze your candidate’s lifestyle.

Program manager hard at work

Offer something that is highly coveted among all candidates in the industry.

Find out what’s important to your candidate.

Of course, figuring out what makes your candidate tick when deciding how to make a competitive job offer is important. However, it takes a lot of time and effort to individualize each job offer. When you can’t offer more money, then you will have to rely on hard work… but that doesn’t mean you can’t take a few shortcuts.

For most candidates and current employees, there are things that are highly desirable and may make them accept your job offer – no matter what lifestyle they live or industry they work in. Here are a few things to make sure you hit the nail on the head when recruiting and trying to retain employees with less money than your competitors.


Make Their Jobs Meaningful

According to a study, younger employees place a higher value on company culture than salary. This is especially true for minorities. So when attracting new candidates, it is so important to show off your employer brand. When exemplifying employer brand, you should verbalize it as much as possible – when talking about work environment, employee perks, etc. While there are countless ways to weave employer brand into your employer

EMPLOYER BRAND (n.)

An employer’s reputation as a place to work. This also includes the EVP (employer value proposition).

proposition, one of the best ways is to make the candidate’s work meaningful to the overall operation of the company. If you can weave in how important their role is in the overall mission of the company and make them feel needed, then a yes is inevitable.


Bring on the Perks

While the most effective perks will be the ones specific to the candidate’s lifestyle, there are perks that all candidates in your industry enjoy. For example, I’ve never met someone who said “I hate working from home. It’s the worst thing ever.” So, maybe a work-from-home arrangement would be something that could be negotiated in place of more money. Other general perks that most candidates enjoy are:

  • Better health (or dental) insurance
  • More paid time off or paid parental leave
  • Retirement savings plan
  • Employee discounts
  • Company subsidized meals

The biggest thing here is to make sure you are not being stiff with negotiations. You already can’t meet their monetary expectations, so be ready to introduce a level of flexibility in your negotiation.


Don’t Neglect Your Candidate Experience

What does candidate experience have to do with deciding how to make a job offer?

Well, people who are satisfied with their candidate experience are

38 PERCENT

more likely to accept a job offer. On top of that, a little less than half of candidates who applied to jobs had a previous relationship with the company – 1/3 of the relationships were built purely on brand and reputation.

So please tell me why you wouldn’t focus on candidate experience if you want to have a better shot at your job offer being accepted. Relationship is one thing you can give a candidate that can overshadow the fact that you can’t offer more money. Ways you can build relationship early and improve candidate experience are:

  • Make relationship building a priority by increasing interaction
  • Add human elements to your recruitment process
  • Get creative and reach out to top talent (networking events, referral programs, social media, etc.)
  • Make sure the hiring and application process is easy, accessible, and communicative

Focus on Your Retention Strategy

When you ask yourself how to make a job offer more competitive, you have to look beyond candidates. You also have to remember that you have a workforce to keep happy. This includes new employees and long-time employees. So, when your employee comes to you looking for a raise and you can’t just throw money at them, what will you do?

Well, the first thing you should do is remember what defines your company culture. That foundation should guide the way you respond to the request. Ultimately you’ll want to make sure they feel heard, while also offering alternatives to obtaining a raise. Have an open conversation about things they think are important. More than likely you’ll find that you can offer higher levels of flexibility, WFH arrangements, skill development, or career advancement opportunities to compensate for the fact you can’t offer more money just yet.

No More Money, No Problem

For many candidates these days, salary isn’t their biggest worry. Money won’t always make them come, and it definitely doesn’t always have the power to make them stay. So not being able to offer more money isn’t a disadvantage. Instead, it is an opportunity to flex your company culture muscle and show that you are willing to negotiate and make the employee/candidate feel more important. That way, you can make a job offer that even bigger companies can’t compete with.


Start with a free job post today to get started on finding top-notch candidates in your industry.

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