You can sometimes save yourself a lot of time by floating a trial balloon to see if your number one candidate really wants the job and would accept your offer.
A formal offer can often require multiple approvals and signatures, reference gathering, background checks, and other time-consuming paperwork. But why put in all of this effort if you’re uncertain that the candidate will even accept the job?
Floating a trial balloon can prevent a lot of unproductive work: For example, communicate to your candidate that, “We’re very interested in you, and think that your skills would be a great fit for our company. We believe it would be a great opportunity for you. What would your reaction be to a $100k offer?”
This will get the conversation started. Now it’s time for you to sit back and listen. You’ve just made it a little more “real” for them. Not only will you find out what they think about a $100k salary, you’ll also discover what’s important to them, if they’ll really relocate, and their thoughts about how they’ll fit into your company.
With these revelations, you’ll know if you should start working your offer through the formal channels…or not.