In an increasingly fierce employee's market, businesses and recruiters are not only dealing with the difficulty of getting qualified applicants in the door, but also getting candidates into seats of open positions. Because no matter how much time you spend finding that needle in the haystack, many candidates are rejecting job offers.
The answer cannot always be found in your total compensation package, but it can be found by looking at the candidate's perspective. Much like the strangest, yet most effective Great Resignation strategy, the answer isn't what you think.
Here are five reasons candidates reject job offers (that are unrelated to compensation):
Reason No. 1: You're Too Slow
Hiring managers often take too much time to make a decision and extend an offer. People like instant gratification, as illustrated by Harvard's marshmallow test for adults. So the longer you keep someone waiting, the more they will question their interest in your position. With every day that goes by, the assumption of rejection surmounts. In self-preservation, people will often come up with reasons they don't want your job. By the time you're in touch, they're out of reach.
This is also in part because people are impulsive and often apply for jobs because they are frustrated within their current role. Since frustration typically comes in waves, it will eventually pass--along with a candidate's interest in jumping ship and starting a new position at your company.
Reason No. 2: You Didn't Make a Good Impression
It's true you only get one chance to make a good first impression. But it's not just the first impression that matters to candidates, but the lasting impression you make throughout the interview process.
Candidates feel as though they are expected to be on their A game, and so they expect the same from their interviewers. Yet it's not uncommon for interviewers to make a bad impression, coming off short, rushed, rude, or even unprepared. For a candidate, the interviewer represents the employer. So the impression you give is what a candidate will assume they will deal with day in and day out on the job--good or bad.
Reason No. 3: Your Job Description Doesn't Match the Role
Employers are creating shiny job descriptions in an effort to attract candidates. But if it turns out that your advertised job description doesn't match the reality of the position you're filling, they're not going to be interested. Interviewees often find out on the second or third interview what the role really entails--only to learn it's not quite the same picture the job description had painted.
Reason No. 4: You Unknowingly Raised a Red Flag
It happens all the time, and it's not necessarily a bad thing because it does help candidates understand when a position would be a bad fit. Going back to reason number one, when an employer takes too much time to extend a job offer, it appears as though your organization is slow to make decisions, raising a red flag to potential staff that your organization might be filled with red tape and progress-impeding bureaucracy.
I once had an experience where I was interviewing with a company for a fully remote position and they raised a big red flag. They mentioned that every day the entire team meets over Zoom to check in and share what everyone is up to. After working remotely--and very independently--for an employer that had a great deal of confidence and trust in its staff, I knew this wasn't the employer for me. It appeared as though the company didn't trust its employees and that the job would require a lot of handholding--something I had no interest in.
Reason No. 5: They Just Weren't That Into You
After learning more about what your company does and the people behind it, some candidates are simply just not going to be interested. It can be a number of things from a simple personality clash to thinking you seem unrealistic in your expectations or goals, your position in the market, or where you're looking to go.
Candidates may still appear very enthusiastic after learning they're not interested. Many people are great at putting on a good face for interviews, but that doesn't mean they actually think, say, electronic parts manufacturing is riveting or that a new social media app is wildly exciting.
Some people are simply good at acting. And, sure, they might keep accepting your interview requests because at some point they might be just competitive enough to see if they'll get an offer, or maybe they legitimately want to see if you might manage to change their minds about you.
Candidates are incredibly picky, and in an employee's market, they get to be. Businesses might be the ones doing the interviewing, but as you're using the time to gauge your interest in them, they're also using it to gauge their interest in you. To secure great candidates who nail the interviews, businesses also have to nail the interviews.