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 - Job offer was lower than expectation
First rule of selling anything: listen the buyer. If you are selling your firm against other competing employers, listen to what the applicant wants. If it is within the range you are offering, then give them what they want. Even better, offer a little more so it delights them. If the expectations are too high, discuss this and try to manage expectations early in the process to avoid disappointment at the end.
2 - The negotiation process was too difficult
Negotiating never helps and it’s best to get it right first time. Your recruitment consultant can help here so enlist their support in the process and listen to what they advise. If the applicant’s expectations are within your advertised range, you should offer it. It will show that you are flexible, generous and that you want them on board. Keep a sense of proportion and remember the priority is to hire; £1k might not mean much to a business but it would mean a lot to an applicant and agonising over relatively small amounts seems ‘stingy’ and could give the impression that their time with you will be an uphill struggle to progress.
3 - You took too long to make a decision
Delays are the single biggest reason why employers fail to hire their preferred applicant, while employers than have the most efficient and responsive recruitment processes tend to be the most successful in hiring.
4 - You went ‘quiet’ on the candidate
As with delays, long periods without any feedback on an interview or application say to an applicant that they are not the preferred choice, that the employer is not interested, or at worse 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 (and endearing) employers. People are usually reasonable and will understand if there is a delay if they are treated with courtesy and kept informed, so everyone involved Keep the candidate and/or recruitment consultant informed and updated on the situation.
5 - The interviewer(s) did not sell the job or company
There is more choice out there 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 recruitment process and let them tell the applicant what’s good about your business. The cliché “People buy people” is very true and applicants just as much buy into the team and colleagues with whom they will be working as 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. Two stages is enough for most positions and levels. If the process is likely to involve more stages, make this clear at the onset to help manage expectation.
8 - Word of mouth reputation
Don’t underestimate the influence from an applicant’s peers. Reputation can take a long time to build, and a second to destroy. Make sure your recruitment processes leave all applicants with a positive impression about you. Nothing annoys applicants more than never hearing back, so if someone is unsuccessful, let them know politely and promptly 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 these days usually get counter-offered. Thankfully it is very rare for an applicants to deliberately use an offer to better their current, but the surprise and flattery from a counter-offer can occasionally swing the decisions of the more inexperienced or even ‘naive’ applicants. Any decent recruitment consultant should be able to help mitigate against these situations by checking motivations and levels interest throughout the recruitment process, but strong offers also help while getting the team to meet applicants, perhaps in less formal surrounds such as over a coffee, can help create a ‘bond’ to reduce the chances of a successful counter-offer.
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 after resignation, 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 be persistent in their attempts to keep the applicant. Arranging a social evening, perhaps drinks after work, is a good way to maintain the relationship and keep people ‘on side’.