As a hiring manager, there’s nothing more frustrating and disappointing than having a candidate (“the chosen one”) decline your job offer.
What’s more frustrating is not understanding WHY this person turned down the offer. You spent the time and money to find this candidate. You thought you took the necessary steps to gain the candidate’s interest and commitment level. You were excited about this candidate, and they did everything right.
You thought you were both on the same page, so how come the candidate did the opposite of everything they were saying?
Here are 8 of the most common reasons candidates will turn down your job offer.
1. I accepted a counter offer from my current company
Unfortunately, candidates are susceptible to accepting the counter offer in the 11th hour. Even though, it’s never a good idea to accept a counter offer, candidates can be persuaded to stay with their current company due to the promise of a salary raise and promotion.
*Tip: Make sure you are qualifying and re-qualifying candidates on compensation. Make sure you understand the motivation behind why the candidate is looking to make a career move. This will help you understand the pushes and pulls of what’s important to the candidate in their job search, and why they were considering new opportunities in the first place.
2. I saw too much inconsistency in your interview process
If your hiring process involves multiple steps and meeting with multiple people, it’s important to have a level of consistency. If a candidate can see the inconsistencies in the hiring process and there isn’t a concise message being presented throughout the interviews, a candidate will see a red flag. They will hear different things about the role and company from different people and it can signal a breakdown in the team communication.
*Tip: Make sure everyone involved in the hiring process is on the same page. Make sure that everyone has a clear understanding of the role and what they are looking for in a candidate. The message and process needs to be consistent. A clear and concise message will help sell the role, your team, and the company as a whole.
3. I didn’t think the salary was competitive enough
Money is not always a deciding factor, but it’s certainly important. Candidates will always be considering the most competitive offer. Remember, money talks. Additionally, candidates will sometimes raise their salary requirements if they are anticipating an offer. If your offer isn’t competitive, expect rejection.
*Tip: Make sure you understand their salary requirements throughout the process. What are their parameters? What do they need vs. what they want? Can you afford them? Can they afford you? Do you have the budget to hire them? If it’s unspoken, you can end up wasting a significant amount of time and coming to the table with an offer that is not competitive.
4. I didn’t think you were really interested in my candidacy
When a candidate is expressing a high level of interest in a role and company, they want to know that the hiring team feels the same way. Candidates are trying to figure out if they can see themselves working there as part of the team. They are looking for a great culture fit. If a candidate does not get that impression, they are likely to turn down the job offer.
*Tip: You do not have to show all your cards, but let them know you’re interested. Let them know where they rank in the interview process and why they are a top candidate. Tell them why you are excited to have them join the team. Culture is a huge part of the decision making process and if a candidate does not feel that it’s a great environment, nothing else matters.
5. I was comparing your offer letter to another competitive offer letter I received
If a candidate is interviewing at your company, then there is a good chance that they are interviewing at other companies as well. There is also a good chance that they will accept an offer from one of your competitors. They may not tell you that they are interviewing, or that they have received another offer letter. They may be waiting for your offer letter to compare the two in order to make their decision.
*Tip: Make sure you ask candidates if they are interviewing elsewhere, and where they are interviewing. They may not reveal the names, but you will at least be aware that they are considering other opportunities. If they are comparing two offer letters, ask them what they are thinking. What is drawing them to accept one offer over another? Is it something you can change to make your offer the no-brainer?
6. I read too many negative reviews that couldn’t be disproven or overcome in the interview
Like it or not, we live in a digital world driven by reviews. More often than not, a candidate will do their research and look up a company on Glassdoor before even interviewing with your company. They will read reviews. If they are reading a chain of negative comments, it will likely cause them to be skeptical about joining your organization.
*Tip: If a negative review comes up in the interview, address the concern. A candidate is there to gather more information to either confirm or dismiss their suspicion around the reviews. Keep in mind a few negative reviews are nothing to be concerned with, but if the rating of your company is overall negative, it may be time to take a deeper look into the infrastructure and culture of your company.
7. I felt that the interview process went too fast/too slow for me
Many companies will lose out on a great candidate due to the speed of their interview process. Typically, if a company drags their feet with a slow and intricate hiring process, there is a good chance the candidate will accept an offer somewhere else. On the flip side, if your process moves too fast, it may catch a candidate off guard. Candidates may turn down job offers because they feel that they have not seen enough of the market.
*Tip: Make sure you set accurate expectations around next steps in the interview process and when you are looking for the person to start. Stay close to the candidate. Find out what they are thinking and feeling, along with any questions they have. Find out their time frame for when they are looking to start. Eliminate any gray area.
8. I saw too many surprise items in the offer letter that we didn’t discuss
There’s nothing worse for a candidate who is excited about an opportunity, company, and offer letter, than receiving an offer letter with a bunch of surprise items in it. When things are missing from the written offer letter that were discussed when the verbal offer letter was extended, it’s a red flag. Also when there are added items, jargon, and clauses that are added to the offer letter that weren’t discussed, like a non-compete clause, this can prevent the candidate from signing the dotted line.
*Tip: Make sure everything you and the candidate talk about regarding the offer letter is covered both verbally and on paper. When you extend the offer letter, follow-up with the candidate to make sure they received it. Ask them if they have any questions and put any concerns to rest. This is the part of the process that should not have any curve balls. Make it a seamless decision and one both parties feel good about.
With unemployment rates decreasing, it has become a job seeker’s market. Candidates are going to be looking for that next best thing. Candidates are selectively searching for new job opportunities, whatever the reason may be. When you take the time and money to invest into your recruitment process, you want to make sure you are doing everything to make the right hiring decision. You also don’t want to lose out to top talent in the final hour. Don’t let these 8 reasons be why a candidate turns down your job offer.