3 Reasons Candidates Are Rejecting Your Job Offers
You’ve done it! You’ve found the incredible candidate who is going to be your next, great hire. Now, you’re ready to make an offer. Oh, happy day!
You pick up the phone, but the candidate is at work. So you leave a message. And follow it up with an email. And wait.
And … nothing? No response. Or worse – a big, fat “no.”
What happened? How did the perfect candidate elude your grasp?
In their haste to hire the best and brightest, recruiters and hiring managers sometimes forget that candidates are choosy, too – especially in today’s economic climate, with about 2 million jobs being added every year. Wages are up, and the economy is stronger than it has been in ages. Candidates – especially the great ones – have options.
In addition to the reasons listed above, candidates are people. They make decisions the same way anyone else does. So put on your empathy pants – we’re going to explore the three reasons why candidates aren’t accepting your offer:
1. You Took Too Long to Make an Offer
Newsflash: While you and your hiring managers are trying to “schedule 15 to go over the candidates,” your candidate has bills to pay, a family to take care of, a life to live – and other job offers on the table. Internal collaboration is important, but you will lose out on top talent if you make candidates wait forever to hear back from you.
On average, 2-4 weeks elapse between the interview and the offer. When you take longer than that, you risk losing out on top talent.
For example, I once knew a candidate who spent two months searching for a job. He finally took a low-paying, low-benefits job that was distinctive in only one way: The company offered him a gig. He accepted, and after three days on the job, he got two calls – one from his dream company.
But it was too little, too late. He had already committed to the other job, and his personal ethics wouldn’t let him quit. He was incredibly frustrated, and when his dream company came back around two years later, he turned it down. By then, he had climbed the ladder at his job very quickly. He was now invaluable and being compensated accordingly.
If scheduling face-to-face interviews is taking too long, try video screening and interviewing. If you’re having trouble getting stakeholders into the same room to discuss candidates, implement an ATS that allows hiring manager notes to be entered on the back end.
2. They’re Only in It for the Money
I recently had an employee ask me to match an offer he had received on the job market. I knew I couldn’t compete from a salary or benefits perspective, but like I always brag, I felt our opportunities, work environment, and flexibility would win out. They didn’t – not because I didn’t come up with a compelling counteroffer, but because he was always going to take the other job anyway.
The employee’s decision had nothing to do with his job here or there. He needed more money, so my counteroffer was a waste of time. A recent survey showed that money matters most to 49 percent of employees.
If your candidate is turning you down because their current employer made a counteroffer, keep their number in your back pocket. They’ll be back.
3. You Didn’t Sell the Job
Selling a job is what we do. It’s how we get candidates to say yes. Unfortunately, we sometimes forget to sell the job to that particular candidate.
Almost a quarter – 23. 8 percent, to be exact – of candidates say a positive candidate experience with an employer makes them more likely to increase their relationship with the brand. I once had a candidate refuse a job that paid well and was perfect for her skills. I didn’t understand her decision then, but I ran into her about six months later and got to talking with her. She told me she turned the offer down because of a collusion of things that irritated her and convinced her she would not be happy at the company.
First, she had asked the recruiter to email and not call – but they called anyway. Second, the recruiter had confidentially mentioned she was not the first choice, which is a dumb thing to do. Finally, when she went to interview in a modest shorts suit, she was told by her future manager it was an “interesting choice.” This from a company that claimed on its website to value “free thinking.”
Just as personalization is making its way into marketing, so too must it be considered in recruiting. You’re asking someone to change their entire life. If you or your company is unwilling to bend even on shorts suits and modes of communication, you’re going to miss out on top talent.
Obviously, these aren’t the only reasons a candidate will turn you down. Below-market compensation, another offer from a company they prefer, and poor employer brand are other factors that spring to mind.
Ultimately, if you’re wondering why a candidate has refused your carefully crafted job offer, simply put yourself in their shoes. You’ll figure it out really quickly.
A version of this article originally appeared on the LinkedIn Talent Blog.