Why Do Candidates Decline Your Job Offers?

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You’ve made an offer the candidate can’t refuse – except he did. And it’s not the first offer someone has declined. What’s going on? Are you to blame?

A lot of job offers are declined, meaning you’re not alone in the recruitment equivalent of getting friend-zoned.

Yes, job seekers apply for multiple jobs during their often long, nerve-wracking job search and it’s, therefore, not uncommon for them to receive multiple job offers. Naturally, they have to turn down one (or more) offers in favour of the one that better fits their expectations and their requirements. In other words, they were offered something you weren’t able to.

Often, however, getting rejected by a candidate has nothing to do with their acceptance of another (sometimes better) offer elsewhere. The issue may be a little closer to home than you think, or might hope, so we’ve put together this little list to help you identify why candidates are regularly saying “thanks, but no thanks” to your job offers.

1. You Take Too Long

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On average, companies receive 250 resumes for every job opening they advertise, meaning they have 250 resumes to review and narrow it down to 4 to 6 candidates they would like to interview. It can be quite a long and exhausting process before they decide on an applicant who is deserving of a job offer.

But, if you wait too long to contact the ideal candidate for the job, there’s a chance they’ll turn down your offer. The waiting game after an interview is almost as nerve-wracking as the interview itself, and if they go a month or so without a response from you (even when they tried following up with you), their nerves will be replaced by disappointment and you’ll only manage to turn them off the job. They’ll quickly lose interest in the company, and they might even accept a job elsewhere.

2. The Location Stinks

In 2004, 1.7 million UK workers were spending more than two hours travelling to and from work. Ten years later, that number increased by 72% with 3 million people undertaking long commutes across the country, and some 880,000 workers were even travelling for three or more hours a day – up from 500,000 a decade ago. The housing crisis and a lack of spending on roads and railways, as well as an increase of cars on British roads (600,000 new cars were licensed in England between 2014 and 2015 alone) and public transport strikes all contribute to the increase of people undertaking long commutes to and from work.

While some workers are prepared to travel longer to get or keep a job, it is simply not an option for many more. Especially if you’re located outside of the city which can be far less appealing to job seekers to have to commute or move to the suburbs. Talent usually travels to the city for work, after all; not to the suburbs.

3. Negative Online Reviews

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Before most of us buy something online, we look at the reviews. It’s a natural instinct, especially for those who were somehow conned by sellers on sites like eBay. If the customer feedback is great, we’ll go ahead and make a purchase; however, if it’s bad, we’ll definitely stop and think about buying that signed first edition of Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone from that particular seller. Why is that? Because we trust other buyers’ opinions – after all, if the seller has 80 bad reviews and only 12 good ones, chances are you, too, will have a negative shopping experience with them.

Now, with sites like Glassdoor and Indeed, candidates can look at employer reviews to determine whether they would like to work for a specific company or not. Current and former employees can post insider information to such sites, and if the bad feedback far outweighs the good feedback, it’s safe to assume it will scare away a once enthusiastic candidate.

4. The Job Isn’t What They Thought It Was

More often than not, a candidate will decline an offer after learning a little bit more about the job and realizing it just isn’t what they thought it was going to be. As such, you need to clearly define the job as a series of performance criteria rather than a list of skills and experiences. In other words, make sure the job ad explains what the successful candidate will be responsible for in the role – this will avoid any confusion and also wasting your – and the candidates’ – valuable time.

Moreover, a candidate may turn down your offer if they’re not confident they’ll succeed in the position. It might be above their skills and expertise or it might be below what they’re really capable of; whatever the case, you might want to thank them for pulling out of the race as you might’ve have ended up making a bad hiring decision.

5. The Money Sucks

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One of the main reasons candidates turn down job offers is the compensation and benefits (or lack of) that comes with them. In fact, it’s the first thing they take into consideration before accepting a job offer, and if you can’t give them want they’re looking for, you can say goodbye to a potential perfect fit.

You can promise them a salary increase in six months’ time, but that doesn’t necessarily mean they’ll take your word for it. And if they’ve been offered another job with the same salary you promise to give them in six months, it makes sense they’ll go for the other offer. After all, why should they wait six months for something they can get now?

If a candidate declines your offer, make them a counter offer and try to get them to meet you somewhere in the middle. If money’s the issue and you can’t increase the dollar amount, try sweetening the deal with perks like gym membership, free food, education subsidizing, or free childcare – basically, if you really want them to join your team, make them an offer they can’t refuse.

Can you think of any other reasons why candidates decline your job offers? Tell us in the comments section below, along with any tips and tricks you’d like to share, and don’t forget to share this article with fellow entrepreneurs who might be struggling with job candidates declining their own offers.