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“More than 36% of university graduates and 68% of lateral hires do not join a company even after getting an appointment letter.”
With the economy growing appreciably and over 2 million job positions opening up every year, sometimes an employer forgets that candidates, especially great ones, have more than one exciting offer up their sleeve.
Sometimes when a candidate has done well in all rounds of interviews, seems to be "exactly right" for the position and is a good cultural fit, hiring him or her is a no-brainer. Then, the candidate turns down your offer.
So, why do candidates turn down job offers? How can this be avoided?
Here is what Promedica’s James Saelzer comments in response to an article on LinkedIn:
“Two experiences stand out to me as reasons why I left a company's application site without completing an application. One was asking for more information than I was prepared to provide with an initial contact. In short, I do NOT want to leave my social security number on their server until we're better acquainted.
The other reason is the inability to save my application to pick up later on, especially when the application asks for obscure information that is not immediately available. If at that point I cannot save the application, allow me to get the requested information, and resume at that point my opinion of the employer is seriously impaired. This is a place that apparently cannot or will not think through the processes they employ before putting them into practice.”
Let's look at a few possible reasons why candidates backtrack after accepting an offer.
Candidate compensation and benefits
Often when a candidate says “I have a better offer,” it usually refers to better salary being offered by another company. Compensation-benefits issue is considered one of the most common reasons not honoring their acceptance of an offer. The reasons can vary from better offers to poor negotiation tactics. With great talent comes a great pay cheque (although not necessarily). But that doesn’t mean you need to go after every candidate with an unheard-of salary.
Ensure that the candidate has been offered compensation commensurate with his experience and profile. Avoid useless or disrespectful negotiations, starting low or increasing it by a paltry sum of 5 or 10k. Skimping pennies is also not advisable. Negotiating to the last cent is a bad idea because it reflects poorly on the company.
Judge candidates appropriately before you make an offer and then offer an increment if they are unhappy with the initial number, based on their replies.
Clear job description
One of the biggest reasons people turn down an offer is because they don’t have clarity about their KRAs and the company culture. From the outset, ensure communication is really clear; whether it’s the salary or the JD, do not exaggerate or sketch a murky picture.
Companies with great onboarding programs often let candidates get in touch with their reporting managers, or assign them buddies. Such steps ensure that candidates have access to the people they would be working with. This eventually helps them get a better idea about the culture and what their job really entails.
The more I read, the more I realize that rolling out a job offer is more about doing it at the right time than about the compensation, especially for candidates who have been headhunted. Offering a position too quickly and being pushy can put off a candidate. Similarly, delaying an offer too much can often mislead the candidate, letting them believe that the employer is no longer interested.
A better solution can be this: Ask the candidates how much time they would need to mull over the offer. Ask them what they think about the nitty gritty of the offer and if they believe they’d be a good fit in the company. If they take too long, send them an email; ask candidates if everything’s fine and connect them with someone from the teams they’ve been hired for.
Streamline your screening
Assessing and skills testing typically take more than 8 days in most companies. This is tiresomely long when the recruitment team is trying to reduce drop-offs. Using appropriate recruitment tools such as (HackerEarth Recruit) can help assess candidates in an unbiased, quick, and accurate manner.
Also, when using online interviews, pre-interview skill tests, and tailored assessment approaches, there is a lot of saving in terms of effort, cost, and time while sending the right message across. The right recruitment tools indicate a progressive hiring policy, valuing candidates based on skill alone.
Regular update to candidates
Regular updates help candidates in the pipeline remain interested in the company. Acknowledging emails and sharing updates tell potential hires that the company cares. Even drop-offs are unlikely to leave with a less-than-rosy view, entertaining the possibility of considering another offer in the future. Remember that unexpected delays reflect badly on company culture. Use your recruitment software to schedule automated and personalized updates for every potential hire.
Currently, poor communication is the biggest pain point according to most applicants. With most of the hiring activities now being done online, the personal touch has been lost. Every update must be communicated to the candidate. Assessment tools help recruiters share accurate results with a candidate, giving them clarity about what’s going on.
Ask for feedback post interview, listen to candidates’ experiences, and try to improve on what was labeled unsatisfactory. Ensure that questions like “Is there any possible reason you might decline the offer?” or “Are you fine with relocation?” are asked at the right time.
Keeping selected candidates engaged is crucial to avoid applicant drop-offs. Most candidates could be serving their notice period. Inviting them to meet the team could help them understand the company culture better.
Companies can invite applicants to participate in tech activities like hackathons and events over the weekend, where interesting problems are shared among peers and applicants to develop something new and innovative. Such activities not only bridge the gap between candidates and their peers but also help companies come up with new solutions to existing problems. Typically, these are internal employee engagement initiatives; but you can make up new ways of leveraging the events.
Drop-offs have been a serious issue for HR in the past few decades. With more and more options available, applicants seem to be less committed and loyal than their more experienced peers.
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