Avoiding Declined Offers from Candidates

Steve Lowisz
We’ve all been there… You find an interested candidate who is a great fit, you’re by their side throughout the entire recruiting process, and then they make it to the offer stage. But once the offer is extended to the candidate, they unexpectedly decline.

What happened!?

Was it doubts about certain aspects of the job or company? Misunderstandings about salary? Another job offer elsewhere?

Whatever the reason may be, you’ve got a better shot at avoiding the dreaded declined-offer scenario by having the right conversations. It is important to form a trusting relationship with your candidate where you can ask them honest questions and receive honest answers.

Here are some topics to thoroughly discuss in order to greatly reduce your chances of being blindsided by a declined offer:

Ask your candidate if they have other opportunities that they are actively pursuing.

It is highly unlikely that your candidate will inform you about other opportunities without being asked first, so it’s up to you to be direct.

Discuss the possibility of a counteroffer with your candidate.

Make sure your candidate is equipped to handle a counteroffer by role-playing how the conversation might go. Revisit the reasons they wanted to explore new opportunities in the first place to ensure that they are strong in their convictions.

Regularly ask about any relevant changes in their circumstances.

A candidate might not think to mention things that could impact their interest in a new job opportunity, like a pay raise at their current job or plans to move in the near future. Make a point to regularly ask if anything has changed at work or at home that may be relevant to their job search.

Re-confirm the salary agreement throughout the recruiting process.

You don’t want to make it to the offer stage only to find out that the candidate has dramatically increased their salary expectations. Periodically check in with your candidate about the agreed upon salary to ensure you both are on the same page.

By discussing the topics above, you’ll have a better idea about how invested your candidate is in accepting a new opportunity should an offer be extended. Make it known that you’re there to help your candidate make the right career moves for THEM personally. Your feelings will not be hurt if they decide the job isn’t right for them, but if they have any issues, concerns, or doubts, it is helpful for ALL parties involved to express their thoughts sooner rather than later.