5 Reasons Why Candidates Aren’t Accepting Your Job Offer

After several rounds of interviews with potential hires, you've finally found an ideal candidate who expresses an interest in the position. The time and effort you've spent trying to fill your empty positions have begun to get costly. You get excited thinking about nailing down the final details in your next conversation to seal the deal. Instead, you're shocked to find your offer is politely turned down—again. You wonder what happened. Why are candidates turning your offers down? Here are some possibilities.

candidates aren't accepting your job offer

1.  Your Company Tends to Lowball Salary Offers

Even if the position is anyone's dream job or one with terrific opportunities to advance, it's important to remember most candidates are definitely thinking about salary. According to statistics, most job candidates list competitive compensation as a top priority in their job searches. If your company tends to undercut salaries, this may be driving candidates away.

At the end of the day, making lowball offers to top talent is counterproductive. Remember, like any other investment, you need to put something in to get a return. Consider the resources you've already spent attempting to recruit people who’ve turned down your offers. By raising your salaries to be competitive (or more than competitive!), you'll get a better ROI and stop wasting money on repeated placement attempts.

2.  You Don't Move Fast Enough

Currently, the job market is candidate-driven. Remember the old saying, "You snooze, you lose?" This definitely applies to the selection process. The most sought-after talent will be choosier about positions because they can afford to be. Statistics compiled by Officevibe.com suggest the best candidates are off the job market in just 10 days.

Ideally, you shouldn't go beyond four weeks—tops—to make a hiring decision. For positions requiring lengthy background checks, security clearances, or other factors going beyond the hiring norm, the waiting period might stretch a little longer. Check to see what the average timeline is for your industry, and use this as a benchmark. If you find you routinely take longer, you're probably moving too slow. According the stats gathered by Officevibe.com, 60 percent of candidates quit an application process because it took too long.

3.  Your Hiring Manager Didn't Sell the Job

You don't invest time in a canned cover letter and one-size-fits-all resume from a candidate—apply those same rules and expectations to the recruiting process. To grab attention, you'll need to personalize the job presentation to each candidate. Hiring managers and recruiters should sell the job in a way that’s appealing to each individual. Find out what’s important to candidates by asking a few key questions:

  • "What type of organizational culture do you value?"
  • "Are there certain qualities you’re seeking in your next position?"
  • "Aside from salary, what benefits appeal to you?"
  • "Where do you see yourself in five years?" (This will clue you into their advancement goals.)

If you neglect to tell candidates what matters to them, they'll quickly lose interest. Ask the right questions to ascertain what they want in a job, and you can play up the attributes your organization can offer.

4.  The Current Employer Made a Counteroffer

Active job seekers and passive candidates often wade into the job-market waters to test their luck, see if they can land a higher-paying position, and boost their salaries. Many will seriously entertain a new job offer, but it's also common for people to submit applications in the hopes they'll get a better offer to use as leverage to try to get a raise from their current employer. This reason is out of your control but at least gives you some insight and perhaps some ideas for new approaches to use in your recruiting process.

5.  Your Choices are Too Narrow

Some employers focus solely on the top performers and inadvertently overlook perfectly qualified talent. It's important to consider the jewel you seek might be the resume you tossed in the "nay" pile because they didn't have the same prestigious background as some of your more favored candidates. Sometimes you need to probe beneath the surface.

After evaluating your hiring processes, if you still don't think any of the above reasons are why candidates aren't accepting your job offers, consider these other possibilities:

  • Your organization is known for having unrealistic expectations for employees
  • Your company has a negative reputation
  • Your hiring manager isn't responsive to questions or gives vague answers
  • You’ve posted job descriptions that aren't accurate

When great candidates outright reject or suddenly go radio silent, it's time to rethink your selection processes and try to pinpoint the reason(s) why your job offers are being shunned. See if you can find a common denominator in your rejections. Once you do, you can make necessary changes and improve your job acceptance rate.

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