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The Top 5 Reasons Candidates Reject Your Job Offer

Ian Cameron Jul 28, 2014 5:02:00 PM

Nobody likes rejection. No matter what you tell yourself, part of you still takes it personally; even when that rejection comes in the form of a candidate rejecting a job offer. But rejection also provides an opportunity to learn.

In our recent Global Talent Recruitment Survey, we asked HR professionals from around the world what reasons candidates gave when they rejected an offer of employment. In this blog, I’ll share the top five responses and some thoughts on what they can teach us.

So, let’s jump right in. Here are the top responses from nearly 600 HR professionals when asked why candidates turned down a job offer and the percentage of respondents who gave this reason:

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There are two things to note about this list: the top three responses are all tied to being outbid or an offer not being strong enough; and there is a big drop from compensation-related reasons on the rest of the list.

Those numbers suggest that competition is heating up and that we’re in a candidate-driven market. The fact that total compensation being too low was the number one reason means candidates are saying no because of money. Money will always be a big factor, but the fact that nearly 40% said that was the reason for rejecting the offer means companies are not doing enough to communicate their broader value proposition. The fact that counter or competing offers are reasons two and three on the list underscores that companies need to take steps to compete beyond dollars.

Finding qualified candidates is hard work (that was the top challenge noted in our survey). Companies are investing significant time and effort in finding people and those resources are all wasted when an offer is rejected.

What you can do to compete in a candidate-driven market

  1. Build your employer brand. Money becomes more of a decisive factor in the absence of other reasons to choose. By spending more time and effort building and communicating the employer brand in a way that resonates with A-level talent you lessen the impact money has on the candidate’s decision.
  2. That said, be competitive. Understand what the market value is for the level of talent you’re going after – whether it’s A-level or more of a B-level player.
  3. Don’t delay. Find ways to streamline your recruitment process. In a candidate-driven market, particularly when dealing with A-level talent, you want a “first mover” advantage. If you draw things out, you open it up to more competing bids.
  4. Pay attention to employee satisfaction. If you can’t compete on money, let your existing employees bridge the gap by signaling how happy they are working at your company. Employees spreading the word through social media is also a tremendous way to reach passive candidates and get them thinking about your company as a potential employer.

These results are just a sampling of what’s included in the results from the 2014 McQuaig Global Talent Recruitment Survey. The complete report is free to download and available here.

Why are candidates saying no to your job offers?

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Topics: Recruitment

Ian Cameron

Written by Ian Cameron

Ian Cameron is the Managing Director of The McQuaig Institute®. He has more than 20 years of Human Resource and Organizational Development consulting experience. Throughout his career Ian’s focus has been on helping organizations realize their goals through their people and helping people live their passion through their work.