Why Candidates Are Rejecting Your Job Offers
“Thanks, but I’ve decided to accept another position.” Ouch. After you’ve spent weeks recruiting, interviewing and vetting a candidate, having a great candidate reject your job offer can be positively demoralizing. Instead of onboarding a great new hire, you’re forced back to the drawing board. In the meantime? The position remains vacant. Work piles up. Your staff has to pick up the extra slack. And your hiring expenses spiral upward.
How Can You Keep Talented Professionals From Rejecting Your Job Offers?
To keep from losing great candidates at the offer stage, determine where things are going wrong. Here are the two biggest reasons high performers are turning your offers down – and how to prevent late-cycle drop-off:
#1 The Salary Is Too Low
Several factors influence a candidate’s perception of your salary offer:
- It’s a candidates’ market, so job seekers may be entertaining multiple offers.
- Sites like Glassdoor and PayScale make it easier than ever for candidates to get accurate competitive salary information, while many states and cities are requiring pay ranges to be posted by law.
- Cost-of-living differences, relocation expenses, commute costs, and expensive benefits can affect the “net value” of your offer.
What you can do:
- Consider at least a 10-15% base salary increase as a minimum acceptable standard. Offer more if the candidate’s base salary is very low for the marketplace, or if they have been with the same employer for quite a while.
- AND with national inflation of salary rates at an all-time high, expect to negotiate! You will likely receive a counter from your candidate of choice, don’t get defensive, this is the norm.
- Make relocation worth the effort. If a candidate has to relocate to your area, make sure your offer provides financial incentive for them to uproot their life and family.
- Factor in cost of living differences. Before you settle on a number, consider cost of living variances by using various salary calculators (we recommend CNN, Sperling’s and Salary.com).
- Position your perks and intangibles as part of your total compensation. If your salary offer isn’t at the high end of the range, here are a few factors that you can use to tip the scales in your favor: job flexibility like telecommuting, compressed work weeks or flexible start/stop times; health benefits and wellness initiatives; a performance review after six months; professional development and/or mentoring programs; or anything else your organization does to create an amazing culture.
- Think long-term. Consider the candidate’s potential within your organization, especially if you will be grooming them for a larger role. Make sure your salary offer shows how much you’d like to have the candidate for the long-term with your company. The higher your starting offer, the tougher it will be for competitors to lure a candidate away down the road.
- Don’t make assumptions. Ask your candidate what they expect to earn in the new position, as well as whether they’re entertaining other offers. Armed with this knowledge, you can address potential concerns and make reasonable adjustments to your initial offer.
#2 You’re Taking Too Long to Make an Offer
It’s unavoidable: the hiring process takes time. But every day a candidate waits around for you to make them a solid offer is another day a competitor has to poach them. For a talented professional, waiting is frustrating. If you leave candidates hanging at the end of what’s already been a long hiring journey, you may unintentionally send the message that you’re not interested.
If too many candidates are dropping off at the offer stage, consider the following process improvements:
- Have offers pre-written. Be prepared to close the deal fast once you have made your decision. A speedy job offer: demonstrates your desire to hire the individual; shows that you respect the candidate’s time; provides evidence that your organization is decisive and adequately funded; reduces the likelihood that a candidate will accept another offer.
- Accelerate other aspects of the hiring process.
- Fast-track promising candidates through your early phases of recruitment.
- Use phone screens to prevent delays due to scheduling conflicts or travel.
- Consider a panel interview to expedite interviewing, or combine multiple rounds of interviews into a single event.
- Outsource portions (or all) of your hiring process to a staffing and recruiting firm like ABR. We can expedite sourcing, screening, selection and offer negotiation to ensure you land your best-fit candidate.
- Keep candidates well informed. Throughout your recruiting cycle, provide the timely, accurate feedback candidates crave. Educate them about your process, timelines and next steps, so they know what to expect and won’t feel “hung out to dry.” Read this earlier post for more tips on improving your candidate experience.
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