If you are in HR, recruiting, or involved in hiring, you’ve likely experienced the pain that occurs when your top candidate turns down an offer. Worse yet, you may have a candidate that accepts an offer and then turns it down mere days before his or her first day of work. As an employer, you should use this experience as a lesson to improve. You or your team may not have spent the necessary time to understand this candidates goals, and some simple communication may can yield a different result.
The modern job seeker is as skeptical as ever, and will turn down an opportunity that does not align with them. Perhaps your benefits are not competitive, or your workplace is toxic. More likely though, the candidate simply thought you did not have enough to offer or that they could not achieve their goals within your organization.
If you do not take the time to understand what the candidate is looking for in terms of benefits, they may assume the worst. For instance, if you send over a general document that shows that you provide medical, dental, and vision but do not discuss costs, the candidate may assume your benefits pricing is the same as their current employer, when in fact yours may be more competitive. Ensure that they do have any questions, or ask them if your benefits can work for them. Wouldn’t it be a shame to lose your #1 candidate because they did not completely understand your benefits offering? These days, it makes much more sense to discuss benefits and perks with your candidate early in the process, as opposed to waiting until you send them an offer packet.
Culture is another area that can cause a candidate to turn down an offer, and if you find that multiple candidates are turning down offers with your organization, there may have some issues with your current environment or employees that need to be resolved. Your team may be incredibly sharp, and your environment may be fun. If the candidate is not aware of these differentiators they may take a different offer. Make sure that you show the candidate everything your organization has to offer, and they have a chance to meet their future teammates in a comfortable setting.
There is no such thing as the perfect interview, though it is important to ensure that you are providing the candidate a positive experience and asking good questions related to real world challenges that your business faces. Never assume that the market is plentiful with candidates. If this candidate is the top contender for your job, they have many options.
Finally, it makes sense to have everyone on your interview team understand what you are looking for. If you do not, the candidate may be asked questions that have nothing to do with the job, which can give him or her the wrong idea about what is expected of them. This can also make your organization look disorganized.
There are times when a declined offer is not the fault of your company, and perhaps the candidate simply received a better offer. You have a lot of competition out there. You will have an edge if you provide your top candidates with a positive interview and they fully understand your benefits and culture.