We’ve all been there: after scouring through dozens of resumes, pouring over so many cover letters, and conducting several interviews, you find the perfect candidate for the job—only for them to reject your job offer. Did something go wrong? What are the reasons why candidates reject job offers and is there anything you can do about it?

A recent CareerBuilder survey of 400 staffing industry professionals shed some light on this issue. According to 39 percent of respondents, the most common reason why candidates decline job offers is that they received another offer. This is followed by compensation and benefits not meeting the candidate’s expectations (29 percent), receiving a counteroffer from their current employer (10 percent), and the job location being undesirable (9 percent).

While these reasons may seem to be out of your control, they’re actually anything but. The underlying reason why a candidate might reject your offer and accept another is directly linked to your own recruitment process and the offer itself.

Let’s take a look at some of these underlying reasons for rejection and consider ways to help prevent a candidate from rejecting your job offer in lieu of another.

  1. Non-competitive compensation.
    First and foremost, a candidate will place the highest priority on the compensation you’re offering. According to a recent survey by international staffing company Express Employment Professionals, a whopping 61 percent of respondents said pay was the number one hurdle stopping them from accepting a job.
    A candidate will reject your offer if it’s not competitive for the industry or compared to your competitors’ offers. A reasonable salary is necessary for your offer to be taken seriously. Salary communicates what you think the candidate is worth. If the sum is too low, the candidate will think that’s what you think of him or her. Make sure your salary structure appropriately reflects the responsibilities and desired skills of each position.
  2. Convoluted recruiting processes.
    The recruitment process can be stressful for both job seekers and recruiters. Matters are quickly made worse when the process is overly complicated or takes too long. A recruiting process with too many steps, or with too many people involved, can be a real turn-off to candidates. Not to mention that many candidates start looking for other opportunities if they don’t know where they stand within the application process.
    Streamlining and simplifying the recruitment process is a good way to keep candidates from rejecting your offer because it ultimately took too long to come. Consider reducing the number of steps in the process, minimizing the number of interviews, and improving communications with candidates throughout the process. Also, consider including skills assessments in your process to ensure that the candidates you select have the necessary skills for the job.
  3. Lack of benefits and perks.
    As with salary, candidates are looking at what they’ll get by accepting your job offer. According to the recruiting platform, Jobvite’s 2015 Recruiter Nation Survey, the majority of candidates (63 percent) said that good medical and dental benefits were the most important perks when considering a job.
    However, good health benefits aren’t the only thing candidates look for when considering an offer. Respondents to the survey also stated that a casual dress code (36 percent) and the ability to work from home (33 percent) were also desirable perks. More candidates are looking for companies that offer perks above and beyond the basic health and retirement benefits.

Are there other ways to help ensure that candidates don’t reject your job offers?

Adina Miron

3 Comments

  • Avatar Laila says:

    The competition for talented people does not leave room for error. You wrote on your blog about poaching passive candidates, and for that process recruiters need to have job offers that would make a person leave another workplace. And that means leaving for something better. 

  • Avatar Jayla M. says:

    Job qualifications force HR to add steps to their process that could be avoided by having a plan in place. The simpler the hiring process, the shorter it will become for candidates and the more HR can avoid rejection on their part. 

  • Avatar Daniela R. says:

    We all want great talent in our companies, but that requires good offers that appeal to the real needs of a candidate. Health benefits, fair compensation, or rewards need to be relevant to the position you are recruiting for as well as the qualification of each candidate. 

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