Job Offer handshake Thumbnail

Companies Make Same-Day Offers to Top Talent

How aggressive have employers become when it comes to hiring engineers and software developers? Aggressive enough for them to make some offers on the same day as an interview.

Job Offer handshake ThumbnailOne company taking this tack is StumbleUpon, which has been using the technique for the last year. It doesn’t make a same-day offer every time, just in select situations. In the eight times it’s been tried, six have resulted in hires.

“The first time we tried it, we had a senior candidate who was really great and we worked with our CEO to make it happen,” says Brenda O’Kane, StumbleUpon’s head of engineering. “He had job offers from Google and other places that he was considering, so we wanted to make him an offer the same day. He took a couple days to consider it and ultimately accepted.”

StumbleUpon usually makes an offer same-day when it brings in a senior candidate that seems hot and already has multiple offers or interviews scheduled elsewhere. Assuming the interview is going well, the company launches a parallel approach where HR is alerted an offer will be made at the end of the day. CEO Mark Bartels is prepped to meet the candidate for a brief interview-and-woo session.

“I find [same-day offers] make the process easier. You have a good engineer, you get them in the door and you don’t over think it,” O’Kane says. “If we wait five days to give them an offer, we may lose them.”

From most of the feedback she’s received, candidates are surprised and pretty pleased to get an offer at the conclusion of an interview. One senior candidate described the company’s process as “grown up.”

StumbleUpon has 70 employees, of which two-thirds are engineers. It’s currently seeking an additional 10, including a senior software engineer, senior applied research software engineer and senior mobile software engineer.

More Offers

Making offers on the day of an interview is becoming more common in the tech sector, say recruiters. Currently, roughly a third of companies will use this strategy for IT workers, depending on their candidate pipeline and if they’re seeking to fill multiple job openings, according to Lincoln Stalnaker, director of recruiting for Seattle Search Group in Bellevue, Wash. Of the candidates who receive same-day offers, roughly 50 percent will accept either on the spot or within the allotted timeframe, Stalnaker says.

Companies who make these offers usually have a clearly defined process where the technical phone screen can go a long way toward identifying candidates who’ll be worth such star treatment. “You know their technical depth before they come in,” Stalnaker explains.

At one large publically traded company, the vice president of engineering comes down to make a pitch about why the candidate should sign on, followed with an immediate offer. “They’ve tried it about 10 times and only one person has declined,” Stalnaker says.

While some companies see a high acceptance rate, same-day offers aren’t likely to be widely adopted, Stalnaker believes: “Companies that use same-day offers have to be pretty agile.”

About Dawn Kawamoto

Dawn Kawamoto is the associate editor of Dice. She is an award-winning technology and business reporter, previously working for such publications as CNET's News.com where she reported on a wide range of sectors from enterprise software to mobile computing to Internet darlings and the funding that fueled their growth. In 2002, she was a Gerald Loeb Awards finalist for coverage on Oracle's sales practices.