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What to Do When a Candidate Turns Down Your Job Offer

By Poyen Ramos on August 8, 2016

After a very long interview process with some potential candidates, you've finally found the perfect one to match the company's requirements.

But when you finally give the good news, they suddenly turn down the job offer.

Believe it or not, recruiters do get rejected countless of times, but not as much as how many hires they get. And this scenario has increasingly become common as the economy continues to improve and candidates gain power in the job market.

So what must a recruiter do to handle this kind of rejection? Plan B might not always be the best solution. So perhaps it's time to examine where your hiring process could be stronger.

1. Ask the candidate why they don't want to accept the offer.

According to Irelis Arias, Director of Human Resources at HRdirect, “if it is about pay, ask them what they are looking for. If it is much higher than what you budgeted for and cannot offer them what they want, see if there is any way you can meet them half way instead."

Try to look for other options, and ways to sweeten the deal. The recruiter should also try to highlight the best thing about working in the company, i.e career growth, training, possible increase pay, company culture.

2. Examine your hiring process.

If candidates keep rejecting your job offer, then maybe it's time you look into your recruitment process. In a survey by CareerBuilder, 58% of candidates say recruiters don't tell them how long the process will take. What sources are you using to find these people? Are you heavily depending on job boards? Recruitment platforms like Kalibrr or LinkedIn? Be diverse in your processes, just like how you want to diversify your workforce.

Another thing to take note of is how much information you, as a recruiter, have given to the candidate about the company. Remember that the candidate is also interviewing you as much as you're interviewing them. So things like vague answers, tardiness, or apathetic staff can say a lot about a company, and may be one deciding factor that they'll reject the job offer—even if the interview went well.

3. Get going right out the chute—or don't.

It's not that hard to assume that candidates don't get job offers because the array of qualified applicants are vast. And that idea also holds true to recruiters. And chances are, you've already missed one or two qualified-but-not-really-the-best candidate for the job. The first thing you should do is to contact those candidates before they, too, get snatched away by other employers.

But then again, it might be best to wait on it. Wait for the right one to come if the other candidates just don't capture your heart quite as how the first one did. If your company can afford to keep the position open for a while, then there's no use in trying to sacrifice quality for the sake of efficiency.

It's difficult to be on the rejection side of an offer, but when a qualified candidate declines your offer, don't take it personally. This is not a reflection on the caliber of the company. Think of it as any other business transaction that didn't go quite as planned. Best to take in those rejections and move on.

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