Well, guess what… some of the blame lies with you!
Whether you are a recruitment consultancy placing people in their ideal jobs or a company trying to hire a new member of staff, if the candidate doesn’t accept the offer of employment, then you have to look to yourself first of all… before blaming them.
This year there has been a huge increase in the number of offers been turned down. The biggest reason for this (in my opinion) is that throughout the recession years, recruiters have got used to gaining a candidate an interview for a position and then sitting back and hoping for the best. The likelihood of them getting two job offers were pretty minimal and therefore they were probably going to take anything that they we offered.
In busy times of employment — and the recruitment industry itself is at its all time high in terms of turnover — we cannot afford to only offer one choice to the candidate.
I am openly admitting here that it has been 25 years since I was a permanent recruitment consultant, but I don’t believe that stopping when you have the first interview for the candidate is best practice. I always treated the candidate and the client the same; if the client would like to have three people to make a choice from, then I believe that the candidate would like to have three positions that they could make a choice from too.
The proof that it works? In that first year I made two placements every week and sometimes three.
As many people have told me over the years “it’s not rocket science”. We find people for jobs and jobs for people — so surely both sides of that equation should be equal?
So far I’ve spoken predominantly about recruitment agencies and the opportunities available to candidates; the following reasons as to why candidates are turning down offers are relevant to all who recruit staff.
1. Have you really established the bottom line salary that someone will accept?
I’ve heard of several positions this year where companies have offered below what they have initially stated on the job spec or the position is up to £10,000 less than the market rate. Why are they so surprised when the candidate turns the position down?
2. Do you have real commitment from the candidate?
For me, this relates back to the candidate’s journey.
How have we treated them from the initial contact right through to the offer? Have we been open and honest about the opportunity, have we listened to them about when they are able to communicate with us and have we given them a reason to give us their commitment? If not, then why would they feel a need to commit to you and the process?
3. Have you got the candidate exclusive?
Whether you’re an internal or an external recruiter, identifying candidates that are not openly looking for a move and working with them over a longer period of time to identify their next career move is a key skill in a candidate driven market.
If you are unaware of what else they are doing and what opportunities they have, then you are not going to be able to offer them a position, knowing full well, that is it is the best offer for them.
4. Do we know any potential disasters that could be round the corner?
Spending time initially with the candidate and finding out all about them as well as the current situation may give you the opportunity to find out if there’s anything that could possibly stop them taking their ideal position.
It may sound ridiculous, but I’ve heard of the family dog causing a placement to fall through in the past! Partners and family have a huge influence on whether the position will be accepted or not and I’ve heard of several of these stopping the placement happening in this year alone.
5. Is whoever doing the interview actually selling the company?
I’ve worked with many internal recruitment teams that are recruiting hundreds and even thousands of people a year and one of the biggest surprises for me is that their interview process does not include an opportunity for them to actually sell their company.
How the interviewer performs has a huge impact on whether the person will take the job offer. They may not even be working for them directly, but they are a representative of the company. If they do not make a good impression and do not sell the company as to why the candidate would want to work there, then they are likely to go somewhere else.
I’ll open this up to debate now, as there are many more reasons as to why job offers have been turned down where it could have been the interviewer’s/company’s fault, rather than the candidate.