The demand for top talent is far greater than supply. It has been this way for some years and is likely to continue for years to come. It’s not enough now for employers to assume someone will want to work for them just because they have applied. In today’s more fickle world, applicants have plenty of choice and the interview is just as much about the applicant deciding on why they should join you, as much as why you should hire them.
Below is Resources Group’s ‘Top Ten’ reasons why employers have their offers turned down, even when all the signs were previously pointing to a more positive outcome.
1 - Salary offered was under expectation
We have occasionally seen employers lose out on a great hire because the offer was even just a fraction under expectation. It's a very competitive market for the best people, so try to be as generous as possible. Keep a sense of proportion and remember the priority is to hire; £1k might not mean much to a business, but it means a lot to an applicant.
2 - The negotiation process was too difficult
As the saying goes, it's not what you do, but the way that you do it. The offer an acceptance stage should be quick and painless for both sides, so get it right first time. Applicants would prefer not to negotiate and the 'go in low' approach to job offers will just put people off your company.
If the desired salary is within the range you are offering, then match their expectations, don't mess around! Even better, try to exceed expectations. That way, the applicant will be delighted and will join in flash. If the applicant's expectations are too high, discuss this at interview and try to manage expectations early in the process to avoid disappointment at the end. Your recruitment consultant can also help, so enlist their support in the offer process and listen to what they advise.
3 - You took too long to make a decision
Fact: delays are the single biggest reason why employers fail to hire their preferred applicant; in contrast those employers with the most efficient and responsive recruitment processes tend to be the most successful.
4 - You went ‘quiet’ on the candidate
As with delays, long periods without any feedback after an interview says to an applicant that they are not the preferred choice, that the employer is not interested, or that the employer is rude or even arrogant. Sometimes delays can’t be avoided but in these situations you need to communicate – long periods of ‘radio silence’ won’t help you and will lose your applicant to more engaging employers. People are usually reasonable and will allow for a delay if they are treated with courtesy and kept informed.
5 - The interviewer(s) did not sell the job or company
There is more choice out there for applicants than ever so don’t just assume people know what’s good about your job or business: tell them! Even better, get other people in the team involved in the interview and let them tell the applicant what’s good about your business. The cliché “People buy people” is very true and applicants buy into the team more than the company’s brand and reputation.
6 - Interviewers were too aggressive
Putting applicants under pressure in an interview is a turn-off and won’t help you hire the people you want.
7 – Too many interview stages
As with delays, too many interview stages drags out the process and can engender negative feelings about the employer. If the process is likely to involve more than two stages, make this clear at the start to help manage expectation.
8 - Word of mouth reputation
Make sure your recruitment processes leave all applicants with a positive impression about you. Nothing annoys applicants more than not hearing back after an interview, so if an applicants is unsuccessful, let them know promptly and politely as they might be a valuable advocate for you in the future.
9 - Counter-offers
An acceptance is not a ‘done deal’ until the applicant resigns and good applicants often get counter-offered. Any decent recruitment consultant should be able to help mitigate against these situations by checking motivations and levels interest throughout the recruitment process. You can also help reduce the risk of a counter-offer being successful by creating a 'bond' - eg. invite the applicant out for a coffee with a couple of team members. A strong job offer will also help!
10 - Long notice periods and/or lack of contact before joining
Even after the offer has been accepted, the contract signed and the start date agreed, things can still go awry if there is a long period with no contact. Your future employee could still be receiving approaches from other firms or the current employer might persist in their attempts to keep the applicant. Inviting the new hire on social events before they start is often a good way to help maintain the 'bond' and their loyalty to you.