Bridge Insights

Why a Candidate Says No to Your Job Offer

Jan 28, 2022

While the job market continues to evolve and becomes more competitive, hiring leaders are seeing more declined offers, ghosting, and even candidates rescinding offers at the last minute. If you find yourself experiencing any of these, it may be time to evaluate your hiring process and make some changes.

Here are some of the top reasons candidates have told us why they’ve passed on an offer:

1. You Moved Too Slowly, and Another Employer Made an Offer Faster

If you need more than three interviews to make a hiring decision, you’re going to be left behind. Gone are the days of personality assessments, five-step interview processes, and pushing out interviews for weeks at a time. Those who are hiring successfully are adjusting their process, moving quickly (providing same-day feedback), showing genuine interest, and pulling the trigger on final job offers.

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Even though there are tons of job seekers looking to change roles or take on new challenges, it’s naïve to think your offer is the only game in town. Your top candidates are almost certainly interviewing and applying with other businesses. Hiring leaders need to stand out from the pack to job seekers. One of the best ways to do that is to provide a seamless and

2. They Didn’t Like Your Culture

Company culture is a simple but powerful aspect of job searching. It is important that during the interview, you are able to speak to and advocate for your business’ culture. Candidates no longer are seeking just a hefty paycheck; they want to know about the impact you have on the community, growth opportunities, employee welfare, the work-life balance they can expect, and more.

If a job seeker hears (or sees) something about your organization’s culture that doesn’t align with them, they won’t think twice about removing themselves from consideration. It’s important to be proactive and stay in front of anything that would misrepresent your company’s culture to a candidate. For staffing agency recruiters, it is our job to do just that.

[blockquotes color=”accent”] Failure to be forthcoming just leads to longer hiring times and headaches for everyone.[/blockquotes]

3. They Received a More Competitive Offer With Salary and Benefits-or You Aren’t at Market Value

In case this hasn’t fully sunk in, I’ll say it one more time: The position you filled two years ago, does not pay the same salary today. Companies that are hiring successfully are staying up to date with market demands and making competitive offers.

Being competitive takes more than just a quick Google search. It means, researching what candidates are saying and collecting data on what makes them say yes to a job offer.

Even if you’re only slightly below a candidate’s salary expectations, expect to have that offer met with a respectful, “No thank you”. I’ve seen candidates decline a job offer over as little as a $2,000 difference. If your benefits kick in 90 days from start and a candidate has another offer that has benefits starting immediately, can you blame a candidate for seeing that offer as more appealing? Especially when you consider today’s focus on health (physical, emotional, and mental), benefits have are becoming a driving force in why a job seeker chooses one job over another.

The Job Description Was Misleading

Job postings/descriptions make or break whether a job seeker will apply to your position. In this market, getting creative with a job description is very common, but when those tweaks are taken to the point where it’s no longer true to the role, it’s an issue.

While it seems like common sense to not sell a false bill of goods, you’d be surprised how often this happens.

Even if it’s from a place of good intentions (or unintentional ignorance), if you misrepresent your job opening, this is a huge red flag for candidates–as it should be! It is important for hiring managers, HR professionals, and recruiters to know the role they’re recruiting for inside and out.

If you cannot speak to your opening intelligently –even about the aspects that might detract from the selling points—how do you expect to find a candidate who is a good fit for the role?

Consistency and transparency are important. Failure to be forthcoming just leads to longer hiring times and headaches for everyone.

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5. You Aren’t Flexible With Wfh Options/ They Found Something Closer to Home

I concede it’s a tumultuous time when it comes to work options. But as a recruiter, I know it’s hard for working professionals to reconcile returning to the office if performance didn’t slip during the (extended) time they were working from home.

Flexibility and work-life balance are massively important for job seekers. The pandemic has changed the way we work and also how much we value our health and being safe. Time is arguably the currency more valuable than dollars and if there is an opportunity that allows more family time, working hour flexibility, or cuts down on travel, a job seeker will take that. Not all work formats are created equally and employers would do well to not treat them as such; 100% remote jobs are the highest sought-after jobs on the market right now.

6. They See No Clear Career or Growth Path

No one relishes the fact they are beginning a job search. When searching for a new job, candidates want to see a place they can develop professionally. It’s important to set expectations and lay groundwork for growth options to someone interviewing for your open role. Because it’s more meaningful to show and not tell, they also want to see individuals who have been on that same track (or similar) at your business.

If the expectation is to hire someone who will work 40 hours a week for several years, job seekers want to know that the time invested will pay off in the form of more responsibilities and that their professional growth and career track are taken seriously.

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The Bottom Line

Whether it’s from ghosting or having a shoo-in pull the rug out from under you, I think it’s safe to say we’ve all been burned in some capacity from today’s job market. Fortunately understanding why job seekers are passing on our jobs can help us build more resilient hiring strategies, keep job seekers engaged, and help us retain those new hires long after a job offer.