Why do candidates reject job offers?

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The interview process is over and you’ve decided who to add to your team. But when you pass on the happy news to the chosen candidate, they turn you down with a ‘Thanks, but no thanks’.

What went wrong? Why would someone go to the effort of applying for a role, going through an interview and then end up rejecting a job offer?

The fact is, a buoyant job market means candidates are still in a strong position. They can pick and choose, holding out for more pay, more perks or a workplace that simply suits them better.

Here, we look at three of the main reasons your job offer might be rejected - and what you can do about it.

Reason #1: You didn’t offer enough money

A big reason for candidates to turn down a job offer is that the salary isn’t high enough. Obviously if you do get to the stage where your chosen candidate is disappointed in the pay cheque offered, you’d have wasted a lot of time and effort.

So before you start recruiting, make sure you know the going market rate for the role you’re filling - including what your rivals are paying. The HR GO Salary Guide can give you a clearer picture of this.

Then weave a salary range into your original job advert, and cover it at interview, talking about how much you potentially see the salary increasing depending on performance and over time.

If you’re set on having this candidate on your team but upping their offer isn’t possible, how about sweetening the deal with extra workplace perks instead? Consider extra holiday entitlement, the chance to work remotely for part of the week or a subsidised gym membership, for example.

Reason #2: You took too long

Interview arrangements that take days of to-ing and fro-ing to firm up, not calling or emailing about the next steps when you said you would, or even worse adding in an extra interview stage at the last minute. Sound familiar? These are all things that will frustrate job hunters and - if they’re applying to more than one company - make them view you unfavourably.

Arranging interview times that suit everyone involved can be a headache, and waste precious time. At HR GO we’re encouraging clients to use video interviewing more and more. It’s a convenient way to speed up the whole process and can feel just as personal as meeting face-to-face.

After the interviews are over, prioritise decision-making and make an offer quickly - within 24 hours (or 48 hours, at a push) to prevent your candidate from being snapped up elsewhere.

Reason #3: You’re not selling yourselves

A strong candidate who might be applying for multiple roles will be sussing you out as much as the other way round. You know how great your organisation is to work for, but it’s about persuading them, too.

Think right back to the start of the recruitment process. Did the job advert they originally spotted work its hardest to sell the role and the company? Did the job description go further, giving a tantalising taste of what a fantastic company culture you have?

The dominance of social media, plus workplace review websites like Glassdoor, make how your workplace presents itself online more crucial than ever.

Being able to show off a happy and vibrant company culture can definitely help you recruit. Plus, it will up the chances of a strong candidate coming along to their interview with a good first impression, rather than being turned off by a lacklustre or unprofessional digital presence.

Learn from every ‘no’

Whenever you don’t manage to get a chosen candidate to sign on the dotted line, aim to discover why. A quick email or phone call to dig a little deeper could help you find out their main concerns about the role, or whether there was anything that tipped the balance.

Plus, asking for feedback about how they found the interview process could give you positive points to work on. Although it’s frustrating to be rejected, these pointers could make you sharpen up your act.

Result? You might even recruit an even better candidate next time around - one who’s only too glad to accept your offer of a job.