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You Offered a Candidate a Job, They Said No. What Went Wrong?

Posted on Jan 18, 2018

 

In the last census, many companies cited as their biggest challenge the attraction and retention of talent, so it’s not surprising that many employers ask us for advice for what they can do to ensure a candidate accepts their offer employment.

This doesn’t always play out however the way an employer hopes, so we’re here to go through the most common reasons candidates reject job offers.

 

 

Salary

 

Money. It’s a love hate area of the job offer (and can be more love or hate depending on which side of the agreement you sit on). But as much as we wish the other factors of a job were considered more important, money is still the bottom line.

The best way to ensure a smooth offer acceptance when it comes to salary is to never blindside the candidate. Money should be discussed at the beginning, middle and end of the process so that both company and candidate’s expectations are on the same page.

 

 

Lifestyle & Flexibility

 

After salary, lifestyle and flexibility within the last 5 years have become one of the biggest reasons we have seen candidates reject job offers.

This is because the market in many places has shifted towards a less traditional mindset where working from home (or out of the office) and flexible hour options are becoming the norm rather than the exception.

It is therefore not uncommon to see candidates reject an offer solely based on how it affects their lifestyle or the flexibility they have to work around their personal needs.

Discussing this up front and providing flexibility options is the best way to safeguard against this becoming a cause of offer rejection.

 

 

Culture / Vibe

 

If you’re a more traditional office owner you probably feel as though hipsters have a lot to answer for. Their vibed up offices offering kombucha on tap, reading nooks and ridiculous amounts of indoor greenery have made it difficult for the companies that can’t offer that style of workplace.

The internal vibe within an office is an important factor in why some candidates reject jobs. This obviously doesn’t have to actually involve any of the above, but if a workplace doesn’t feel professional (i.e. is messy, dirty etc) many candidates assume that this vibe could extend to the way they operate as well.

 

 

Location / Travel

 

Sometimes a role is absolutely perfect for a candidate; they love the team, company and position only to realise that it’s just a bit too far from home or difficult to get to.

Short of offering the flexibility to potentially work from home a few days per week, there is actually very little either party can do to change this. The best option to discuss the location at the very beginning of the interview process to ensure neither party’s time is wasted.

 

 

You Undersold the Opportunity

 

Gone are the days when candidates are plentiful and companies could rest on their laurels thinking “we are a good brand, they should just want to work for us”.

Instead, companies generally struggle to find the right person for the job which means that when you get that perfect fit through the door, selling your company, culture and role is imperative.

It is common for us to hear the candidate say they’re not interested as they felt underwhelmed by what they were told about the company during the interview so it is important to ensure you are really selling the opportunity.

 

 

They Received a Counter-Offer

 

This is a tough one as often, you have done everything right, received an offer acceptance and then their current company swoops back in with more money, projects or a change in conditions designed to fix whatever problem made them consider other options.

There is often little you can do to change their mind in this instance short of offering more money (which let’s face it, is not something you necessarily want to do).

Statistically, most candidates that accept a counter offer are back on the job market within 3 months, so it might be worth reminding them that a counter offer rarely fixes all the reasons they wanted to leave in the first place.

 

 

A Drawn out Hiring Process

 

This is one that you will hear recruiters everywhere lament. You took too long and the candidate either lost interest, felt you weren’t interested, or received an offer from another company.

The easiest way to prevent the process from drawing out is to ensure tight interview timeframes and provide continuous feedback. If you do know that your company has a long interview process, tell the candidate up-front so they understand what to expect.