Why Candidates Are Declining Your Job Offers


and what you can do about it!

Recruiting exceptional employees is difficult. Identifying and engaging with them can be a challenge but securing them in an extremely competitive market such as IT or Engineering can be even tougher.

If you’ve ever been responsible for hiring, it’s extremely likely that you’ve had a job offer declined.

With the average interview process in the UK taking 28 days to complete, a declined offer can seriously impact workloads and the delivery of key projects.

Here are the top 5 reasons that your job offers are being declined and advice on how to avoid these pitfalls.

1. You’re Not Offering Enough Money

It’s been said that money isn’t everything, but according to a recent LinkedIn survey, when it comes to deciding on whether to accept a job offer or not, it still ranks as the number one reason.

Offering a competitive salary shows how you value your employees and that you recognise how their impact will help your company grow.

Your company may have budget constraints but make sure you regularly revise pay scales and benchmark against your competition. Consider the cost to your business having a less experienced employee. If you need to produce a business case for increasing your budget, then make this a priority.

Avoid drawn out salary negotiations. When time is of the essence, and you’re trying to beat the candidate’s expectations down by £2,000 a year, another company will snap them up by offering a salary and benefits package that matches their expectations.

2. No Opportunity to Advance

When employees work hard, they want to be rewarded. During the interview process, you must be able to answer the question about the future opportunities within your company.

Provide examples of previous promotions and career progression that demonstrate what’s possible in your team/company.

Harvard Business Review reports that every ten months of stagnating in a role raises the chances an employee will leave your company by an entire percentage point. If you cannot show that you understand the importance of progression during the interview process, you’ll never hire the most ambitious and capable candidates.

Consider creating a documented process for mapping each employee’s career path . Not only will this help retain your existing employees, it gives you something tangible to show prospective new hires.

3. Poor Candidate Experience

Candidate experience matters more than ever before. The candidate experience is the collective results of all engagements and interactions that you have with the candidates during the hiring process. Your website, job adverts, emails, phone calls and face to face meetings, everything you do will leave an impression, make sure it’s a positive and consistent one.

One of the key factors that underlines candidate experience is communication. Be transparent, be honest and avoid making promises that you cannot keep.

As a recruiter, a regular complaint that I hear regarding candidate experience is that the hiring process takes too long. If you’re finding that you lose candidates before you’ve even completed the initial interviews, then it’s possible that your hiring process is disorganised and cumbersome.

Perhaps you’re putting the candidate through too many interviews or there are inconsistent expectations from different interviewers.

4. Bad Reputation

You wouldn’t hire a candidate without checking their references, so in return, you should expect that they’ll be checking yours by carrying out their own online research.

It’s very easy to read employee reviews on Glassdoor and LinkedIn so address any negative reviews, respond with comments to show that you’ve listened and don’t try and sweep these negative reviews under the rug.

Pay attention to what former employees say about what your company is doing wrong and how these areas can be improved.

With a consistent and transparent approach, it’s possible to turn these poor reviews into an opportunity to show how serious your company is about fixing mistakes. View the insight as a gift, feedback that will help you improve the employee experience and identify areas that your company needs to work on.

5. Didn’t get a sense of company culture

Company culture has always been important, it’s the reason that your existing employees stay and continue to work hard, and it plays a huge part in being able to attract new employees.

Communicating your culture during the interview process isn’t always easy but it’s extremely important. If your company has core values, make sure that you are sharing these during the interview process. Explain why these values exist and how they impact the decision making with your company.

  • How are you describing the work environment?
  • How are you describing the leadership?
  • How are you describing the mentorship and training?

If you don’t have a clear and concise understanding of your company culture, then you will be unable to communicate this to any potential new employees.

What Actions Can You Take to Try and Counter Some of These Hiring Challenges?

  • Work with an experienced recruiter

Either an in-house resource or an external recruitment agency, working closely with an experienced recruiter will have a huge impact on if your job offers are accepted or declined.

  • Focus on understanding your company culture

As company culture is one of the top three considerations for candidates, you must be able to communicate this effectively. Using real life examples of how your company lives and breathes these values will ensure that you hire candidates that will stay with your company long term.

  • Continue to evaluate your expectations

The IT and Engineering sectors are fast moving and continually evolving. Aim to regularly review your job specifications, budgets and interview processes based on the feedback you receive.

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