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Communication is key. The reputation of your organization is on the line whether you’re extending a job offer or notifying a candidate that you’re making a different choice. The time between a job offer extended by you, the negotiation process, and the acceptance of the offer by the candidate who becomes an employee is a liminal space.

Keep the status of your search under wraps and set a tight timeline out of respect for other job applicants. If you are aware that this process may not result in an accepted offer and you may need to go to a second candidate, you will want to move through the process respectfully and quickly, in order to keep additional excellent candidates within reach. We recommend the approach of “underpromise and overdeliver” when it comes to timeline. If you think that you may get back to candidates by a certain time, give yourself a cushion beyond that time. Rarely is hearing early a problem, but hearing late is problematic both for the candidate and for their perception of your organization.

If a candidate had an interview of any kind with you and will not be advanced to the next round or will not receive an offer, personal outreach is in order to inform them they were not offered the position. This should be done quickly following the decision, aligned with the timeline you have developed. Any communication can be as simple as a short email:

Thank you again for your interest in our (position name). It was a pleasure speaking with you and learning more about your background and experience. I want to update you about our next steps.

After careful consideration, we will not be advancing your application in our process. While we appreciate your deep connection to and understanding of our mission and work, we are pursuing candidates who demonstrated (deeper and more varied/different expertise/experience) on the (subject matter/pedagogy) side. We wish you all the best as you seek out the next step in your career journey, and look forward to the opportunity when our paths may cross again.

The Gender Equity in Hiring Project believes that you and your organization can shift toward equity, one small step at a time. We look forward to helping you tap into the greatest human potential our field has to offer, and hire equitably in the process.

Be prepared to negotiate. Or be certain that you won’t. Job applicants are more informed now than ever before. Thanks to the gifts of the internet, it’s easy to collect data about your organization, your current employees, competitive salaries, and the field in general. Market analysis and benchmarking are easier than ever to conduct, and recommended by any coach who supports or advises those engaging in a job search. This is an intermediate step on the way to full wage equality, and that benchmarking salaries in a market analysis is one part of the effort to rebalance power relationships between employers and employees. If our workplaces were truly and fully equitable, negotiation would be unnecessary. Until that time, we offer these recommendations.

If your organization does not have a salary negotiation ban, clear salary bands or an articulated, shared and distributed compensation philosophy, know that you’ll likely have to negotiate with prospective employees. When you are ready to make an offer, be prepared to engage in a negotiation about salary as well as an entire benefit package that complements a prospective employee’s employment agreement. This helps begin a working relationship on the right foot. We encourage the creation of salary bands and a compensation philosophy, and encourage you to consider how you might weave this into your plans as you contemplate growth. And even if you have these structures in place, know that folks will want to clarify where they are in their assigned band, how the bands were determined, and how you used credentials, skills, education and other experience to determine their placement in a band and the resulting financial offer.

We all negotiate, every day. Let’s normalize negotiation, particularly for women and other historically underrepresented groups. Let’s support negotiation not just as a part of our professional practice, but as a part of helping our employees begin well. You may choose to be bold and invite candidates to negotiate by narrowing the “ask” gap and making an offer. Or, you can ask them to think about your offer and get back to you with their thoughts; this is one helpful step in the negotiation process. Remember that salary negotiations will be easier for everyone involved (including you) if you include a salary range with your job posting. Model transparency and responsible, ethical behavior for your prospective employees.

But…if you as an employer have gone through an exhaustive, thoughtful process to build salary bands and a full compensation philosophy, you may want to consider offering positions with one listed salary, no range, and no negotiation. Yes, you read that correctly, no negotiation. This is powerfully equitable and represents an honest and accurate reflection of your budget and your values. You may choose to document that the salary you’re offering is $100,000, and as a part of your organizational commitment to equity and transparency, and in an effort to eliminate the wage gap and to acknowledge implicit bias, YourJewishOrg has embraced a no-negotiation policy. If a candidate does not fit into the bands offered based on credentials, experience, or other criteria, your organization may consider offering a higher starting salary. This requires having engaged in salary banding and a dialogue about compensation, and we recommend doing careful due diligence in the planning of this policy prior to its launch.

We’re pleased to offer one-on-one coaching for folks who are ready to articulate their value and negotiate from strength. In addition, we regularly offer our Ask For It Negotiation Workshop, which can be designed specifically for a team, group or community. Let us know how we can help.

A never-ending process is unwieldy for you as an employer and burns out prospective candidates. In addition, emerging evidence from the COVID-19 pandemic period shows women may choose to leave the workforce rather than endure unpredictable job searches that may or may not result in hiring for positions that are under-compensated and undervalued.

A national study of job seekers in 2016 showed that nearly 60% of job seekers felt that the single most frustrating part of the job search process was waiting to hear back about whether or not they got the position after moving through an interview process. But what is too long? Before reading further, answer this question for yourself. Then consider that according to this data, approximately 25% lose interest in a position if they haven’t heard from a prospective employer within a week after an initial interview. Close to 50% lose interest if they don’t have a status update within two weeks after their initial interview. Employers lose out on excellent candidates by delaying. Overall, approximately 40% report that lengthy hiring processes cause them to lose interest and move on to other job opportunities. Recall that very rarely are we as employers the only offer, the only option or the only position a candidate is looking at. The longer we wait to interview, be in touch, or even to make a job offer, the more likely it is that an excellent candidate will hear from another organization and accept that position first. (And see this compelling data from 2020 with some helpful geographic data)

One way to support more effective communication and streamline the process is to set up autoresponders. This helps to prevent bottlenecks that might occur if you attempt to manually respond to every applicant, and relieves additional burdens on you and your team. Autoresponses could notify candidates when their application is received, when they should expect to hear about next steps, when to schedule an interview, when to submit more information, and other steps along the way. And simply because these are automated does not mean that they are impersonal: it is possible to craft them in ways that are thoughtful, creative and respectful.

So don’t just let folks know what to expect. Make the process efficient and effective, and model the practice of streamlined decision-making. When you’re indecisive and wait for a “better” candidate to come along, this offers your current candidate pool meaningful insights into how your organization makes decisions, or doesn’t. Don’t allow your best candidate to go elsewhere for another job.

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