How to get a candidate to accept your job offer

Nobody likes rejection. With recruitment, it’s easy to imagine that it’s all one-sided – when 100 people vie for the same job, 99 will be disappointed. But there’s no guarantee that HR’s star pick will accept the job offer. Just because a candidate passes a rigorous selection process doesn’t mean they won’t also politely decline the opportunity.

There are different reasons why job seekers might decline a job offer. Remuneration, poor cultural fit, long commute and the job not meeting expectations are just a few reasons why a candidate might decide not to accept a job offer. Your current employer might also not be keen to let you go. Although a counteroffer may be attractive, there are risks in accepting it.

Beyond reasonable doubt

It’s in everyone’s interest to ensure the selection process is transparent. Employers and hiring managers must be clear about what they’re offering, taking into account all the choices that may affect a candidate’s decision to accept or decline that offer.

This is when a precise job description is very important – it should identify the role filler’s essential tasks, priorities and responsibilities as well as the employer’s expectations for results. It should indicate the reporting structure, the level of authority the person will hold and all necessary qualifications, skills and personal characteristics.

Similarly, job seekers need to be frank about their reasons for applying and the possible challenges that may prevent them from signing on.

HR consultant Mike Toten says many of the obstacles for employers, hiring managers and job seekers are emotional. With that in mind, the interview process should address the candidate’s motivation with regard to ambition, work culture and job security, as well as the company’s reputation as a prospective employer. That means being straightforward about remuneration, working hours, job title and resources to perform the job.

The bottom line? Both parties should be prepared to ask as many questions as necessary during the selection process to increase the chance that the response to every proposal will be “I accept”.

Get the facts

Check out the Robert Half Salary Guide for more tips on attracting and retaining top talent.

Download our Salary Guide today

Tags: Hiring, Salaries

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