Hiring the right person for a job vacancy can be a long, tedious process. No matter how quickly you want to get someone in the position, you still have to go through a lengthy interview process, narrow down your applicants to just a few, and bring in the top two or three people to meet your team and see how they operate within your office culture. It can take weeks. Finally, after going through all the steps, you hopefully identify the candidate that you think will fill your vacant position perfectly, so it’s understandable that you want him or her to start right away.

However, as a responsible employer, there are a few more steps you’ll need to take before you call your number one candidate to say, “You’re hired!” To ensure that you truly have the best person for the job, and to save yourself and your company a lot of unnecessary action down the road, here are five things all employers must do before extending a job offer.

  1. Check references.

Just a few minutes on the phone with your preferred candidate’s former employers, coworkers, or colleagues can provide tremendous insight regarding personality, work habits, and communication styles. Essentially, you’re looking for things that aren’t immediately apparent from looking at a CV. Check at least two and preferably three references, and ask specific questions that will give you a clearer picture of how this person will fit and grow in both the job and in your business.

  1. Run a background check.

Unfortunately, people aren’t as perfect as they may seem. If your preferred candidate has any severe black marks on his or her record, you’ll want to know about it, and a background check will let you know about details like financial background and criminal history. This information may not be a deal breaker for you, and you may ask your candidate to explain anything you uncover before making an offer, but the facts learned during a background check can give you a more complete idea of who this person is.

  1. Check their social media profiles.

This one is crucial these days, since you can also learn a great deal about a person by looking at the information he or she chooses to share with others. You’ve likely already looked at your preferred candidate’s LinkedIn profile, and barring any typos, it’s probably clean. However, you’ll also want to check out his or her Facebook page and Twitter feed, and even other sites like Instagram and Pinterest. Take some time to scroll through anything your candidate has made public to ensure that his or her perspective and personality is one that you’d be proud to have in your office.

  1. Prepare a clear and specific offer.

It’s not enough to just tell your preferred candidate that you’d like to welcome him or her aboard — you need to provide lots of details to encourage an informed (and ideally positive) response. In addition to a job title, salary, and benefits, you’ll want to provide a detailed job description, the name of the immediate supervisor, an ideal start date, paid time off (broken down into vacation, sick time, and personal days), and possibilities for advancement. What’s more, you’ll want to be prepared for negotiation and know which points you’re willing to concede, which ones you’re not, and where you can use contingencies (for example, a guaranteed salary increase after a 6 month trial period).

  1. Don’t move too slowly.

You’ve got competition! Job seekers tend to look at lots of opportunities, so chances are, your preferred candidate is probably someone else’s preferred candidate too. Good people aren’t necessarily waiting around for you to ring them up, and if you take too long during the hiring process, you could lose your first choice and even your second. When you have a great candidate in your sights, move quickly to knock these tasks out so you can call him or her with an offer.

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