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Making nurses an employment offer they can’t refuse

Posted by: Lynn Sedgwick

Making an offer of employment is nerve-wracking; you’ve spent time advertising the vacancy, interviewing candidates, and reflecting on who is the best fit. What if they say no? Or what if they come back with a counter offer? This guide gives you the lowdown on how to handle the offer stage effectively, so you can place the best nurse into your team, first time every time. 


Communication is vitally important in nursing; when you’re dealing with people’s health and lives it’s a skill your nurses can’t afford to lack. Demonstrate to candidates that communication is valued in your work environment by being clear with them. Communication is, after all, a two-way street and you’ll instil faith in them and seem a more attractive place to work if you let them know exactly what is required from them at the outset, to avoid confusion later on down the line. 

Move fast

The media has widely publicised the NMC’s findings that more nurses are leaving the register than joining it. Unfortunately for employers, a skills shortage makes recruiting tricky. If you find a candidate that fits the bill and who seems genuinely enthusiastic about the role it’s worth making an offer on the spot. For every ten nursing jobs there’s just one nurse, so the opportunity to snap up talent may be too great to miss. 

Avoid counter offers

As much as you may wish to avoid being presented with a counter offer, they do happen. Maybe the candidate has been offered more money, or a more comprehensive benefits package by their current employer or another organisation. And perhaps to secure the best candidate, you have to make some concessions. 

However, don’t be tempted into a bidding war! Of course, nursing isn’t all about the money and many nurses will be happy to accept a role they are really interested in. But if the result doesn’t go your way you could have taken up precious time – something no one has enough of! A trusted recruitment partner can be a real asset here and will be able to gauge the motives, needs and desires of candidates during the initial screening process. Filtering out those who are indecisive or motivated by something which doesn’t align with the organisation’s values means you’re less likely to end up in a counter-offer situation. 

When recruiting, bear in mind also that the political climate can play a role in how challenging the process is. A combination of factors, such as Brexit and a shortage of skilled service users makes for an uncertain job market. The knock-on effect of a skills gap goes beyond staff shortages; when a lack of talented staff starts to affect CQC standards it can damage your recruitment too, as candidates see the organisation as a less attractive place to work. 

The bad news for employers is that a climate of uncertainty breeds caution as care professionals choose to stick with what they know rather than go out on a limb. On the up side, treat your existing staff well and you may find that an uncertain climate helps you retain talent. 

Use your employer brand to your advantage

A strong employer brand is a great help during the recruitment process. It should showcase who you are as an employer, what your organisation’s values are and what’s so good about working with you. Don’t forget also CQC reports are online, meaning candidates can investigate your organisation before attending for an interview. An employer brand helps to draw candidates to you during the recruitment phase, and a CQC report that leaves a positive impression will help encourage them to accept an offer and improves staff retention. Our guide has the full details of how to build and maintain an attractive employer brand.


It’s a frustrating fact of the recruitment process that occasionally candidates who accepted your offer will, for one reason or another, not start the job. The trick is not to panic; there may be a simple explanation. Your recruiter can be very useful in helping you overcome the situation. Explain to them what has happened and they may be able to assist with a temporary staff member, find a replacement, or help you decide what the plan B is. 

Make your best offer

All stages of the recruitment process require careful thought and planning, and none more so than the offers stage. This crucial final hurdle to placing the right nursing candidate decides the success of the whole operation.

If you’re in need of some support in navigating this – or any – stage of your recruitment process why not contact Clayton Recruitment online using our call scheduling service or contact form.

Alternatively, you can phone us on 01772 259 121 - we’d be happy to help you seal the deal with promising candidates. 

And if you do find yourself in the position of having to deal with a counter offer, you may find our blog ‘How to handle a counter offer situation helpful.

You may also like to download our latest report on trends in recruitment: The 7 critical recruitment trends for businesses that will impact your talent pipeline in 2019.

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