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Recruiting: Making offers

Verbal offer

It’s worth noting that many students will not understand that their acceptance of a verbal offer is binding, and you should make it clear what you consider their status to be, at the end of the conversation. Students may not have finalised their travel and accommodation arrangements and may need a day to finalise these before accepting.

Written offer

You should follow up as soon as possible with a written offer, not only to confirm the details you have discussed, but also because your candidate might appear more cautious until they receive written confirmation. Students are often encouraged by parents to 'get it in writing' before making plans, which can delay start dates if there is an expectation that practical plans will be made in good faith. You could send a brief email as confirmation of a written offer, followed by a contract or agreement once they have confirmed acceptance.

Feedback

Organisations should be willing to provide feedback to candidates, regardless of whether or not they were successful, as the selection process is a valuable experience in itself at this point in a person's career, and may also provide you with a fantastic candidate at a later date if you have given constructive feedback. Although it may not be your standard practice to send a letter or email to unsuccessful candidates, confirmation that they are free to pursue other opportunities without compromising their professional integrity is another valuable element of them learning to operate within the labour market. This will support and develop self-awareness and esteem, presenting your organisation in a positive light to unsuccessful candidates. Don’t forget that they may then talk about your organisation to other students, including your potential future employees!

All documents should be treated in accordance with the Data Protection Act 1998 and the Equality Act 2010.

References

Most students will provide details for their Personal Tutor or another academic acquaintance as their primary reference due to lack of opportunity to build up professional contacts. They may also have a referee from a part-time, weekend or holiday job. It is unlikely that they will be able to provide references that go much beyond confirming identity and most recent employment.