When Your Top Candidate Turns Down the Offer

After spending hours looking through CV’s, selecting candidates you feel have the correct experience and conducting interview after interview, it is a relief when you finally find the right candidate! The candidate who meets every qualification and has all the right experience needed for the role at your company. You proceed to make a generous offer, as this person is perfectbut they then turn the role down giving one (or a combination) of the following reasons:

  • My current employer has made a counter offer
  • The salary/benefits/perks are not enough for this role
  • I just spoke with my other half and this isn’t the right move for us
  • I am just not interested in this type of work
  • I have thought about it and I don’t think it’s the right move/company/role for me

Now what do you do? Sometimes you will try to counter offer their counter offer or try and handle all of their doubts – and sometimes it does work. But most of the time it doesn’t! Before going out of your way and trying all you can to convince the candidate to change their mind – stop and think. This candidate is no longer your top candidate. Get in touch with Candidate #2; see if they are still interested. If your thoughts on the other candidate have changed and after meeting with your top candidate you feel Candidate #2 is no longer in the running, or if you do not have any other candidates lined up it’s time to refresh or restart your search – now!

There are three very important truths to accept when you get put into this situation:

  1. They are not the only person out there that can be a fit for this role:

However disappointing it may be to have your top candidate turn down the role, there will be someone else out there. If it looks like there aren’t any other suitable candidates, then it’s time to revisit the job description and the role and see if the person you are looking for still exists and how the details are presented to candidates. Are you being too specific? Are you paying enough? Considering these points may help to open up your candidate base and increase the number of suitable candidates available. This also makes it easier for the recruiter as more candidates can be viewed and the best candidates can be found!

  1. It is very likely that their interest in the job was gone (or never existed) long before the offer was made:

Even when you first invited them in for the interview, the candidate may not have been overly interested in the role. They could have been simply checking the market or even trying to gain interview experience with no intention of leaving their current role or company. Attempting to get them on board now is very difficult and 95% of the time it is a bad thing to do. The best thing to do is try and find out when in the process you lost them – this way you can try and avoid this from happening again in the future.

  1. It may be your fault (and it may not be):

Always keep in mind that the candidate’s decision may have had absolutely nothing to do with you or your organisation. However, it is very important to review all of the steps in the process critically, especially if you wish to get the best candidate’s on board. Ensure to fully inform the agency what you are looking for and give feedback on any CV’s you receive so the right candidate can be found.

Source: Jason Guigno – LinkedIn

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