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Why Candidates Reject Offers

Great interviews & enthusiastic candidates don't mean a done deal. But, even when deals go south, they offer an amazing opportunity to learn. If “sure thing” candidates fall apart, use the rejection to spot holes in your hiring process.

Why Do Candidates Reject Offers?

Start Small

Small things can = big concerns. When candidates don't give a big reason, look at their overall impression of the company. Start with the initial interaction with the candidate. Was it by phone, email or in person? How was the candidate treated in all communications?

Connections at every point in the process matter. Was everyone friendly, welcoming and enthusiastic? Was the candidate treated with respect? When everything is equal (compensation, benefits, required work, etc.) the little things differentiate competing job offers.

Treat each candidate like an individual. Show personal interest in them, don't treat them like a commodity. Don't cancel or postpone interviews and be on time – always. Every interaction should be a happy and friendly experience.

Enthusiasm Wins Deals

Candidates want to sense enthusiasm – for the ability to make a connection, for the position and for the opportunity. All of your employees need to showcase what is great about your company and the role.

Interviews should be interesting and vibrant – the natural stuff, don't go too big. Don't ask the same set of boring questions of each candidate. Dive into their responses and let them know you are actually listening.

Don't lie or sugar coat, but honestly if you aren't excited about your job and the company, why should they be? Figure out the positives and make sure they stand out.

Extending The Offer

If possible, have the president, a senior executive or their prospective manager extend the offer. They will add a personal touch and some prestige. When the offer is extended, demonstrate your interest in the person and what they uniquely can bring to the table.

Plan for what to say and how to address questions/issues. Run through the offer with different people to see how it sounds.

Sound ridiculous? Remember it can be all out war for top players, don't let fear of sounding silly stop you.

The Offer

Even if extending the offer goes well, the candidate may decline.

Look at the offer itself, then. What WOW factors exist in it? Did the offer make the candidate feel important and invited? Have you missed the target with a deal breaker? Did you identify their priorities & turn-offs and incorporate that into your offer language?

Are you off on salary or the compensation package? Stay on top of current trends for salary, bonus and benefits packages. You can find free tools online or contact your local Job Service for salary comparisons. Or if you work with a recruiter, ask for their opinion on where you rank.

On the flip side, don't put so much energy and focus on just pay. There are many other considerations.

The Other Factors

Does the role mean a relocation? If there is a spouse and children, have they been thought of and included from the start? Did the whole family visit and have you helped to ease their mind about housing, jobs, schools and their general well-being?

Make sure the spouse and children meet people in the community and from your company. Making them feel welcome and cared goes a long way. Remember, you aren't just hiring the candidate, you are affecting their entire life.

If you don't have a great benefits package, you may need to consider doing something about it.

Beyond Your Control

Sometimes it just doesn't work.

Candidates may be excited and then have a parent become ill or a family member die. They might realize they can't uproot their children. They might not want to deal with your weather or the town or any other number of factors.

Don't let this upset you or stop you from making forward progress.

How your company interacts with candidates forms an impression of your organization, teams and overall environment. When deals break down, keep your head up, treat everyone respectfully and learn from rejections.

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