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05 Tips To Prevent Candidates Declining Your Job Offer

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Nov 17, 2014
hiring-people

Have you found yourself in a situation where you have gone through the full cycle of recruitment and made an offer to a candidate you selected and then found him/her declining your job offer? Being a startup, isn’t it frustrating to spend so much of your time, energy and money only to have them turn it down at the last moment?

So, how can you avoid such kind of situations? Let’s first discuss about top reasons why candidates decline job offer.

Reason 01: Lack Of Proper Communication

It’s important to communicate clearly with the candidates at every stage of recruitment process. Just think about your case: if you apply somewhere or send any proposal to your prospective client, don’t you expect to get reply within a reasonable time frame? Therefore, you need to do your best to make sure that the candidate knows about what is going on.

Timing of communication is also important. Offering a position too quickly and putting pressure on to accept can easily put a candidate off who doesn't want to make an immediate decision. Whereas, taking too long to make a decision might make a candidate to think otherwise. Cancelled or postponed interviews, dull interviews with repeat questions, and delayed hiring decisions send negative message to candidates with choices.

Reason 02: Lack Of Clarity

Providing the right information is the key. You need to make the candidate clear about the roles and responsibilities of a position that you are going to offer. Salaries and benefits offered must be explained to a candidate so that there is no ambiguity whatsoever. Even better, if you give idea about your salary range early in the process.

Reason 03: Better Counter Offers And Better Benefits

While you are going through the recruitment process for a particular candidate, it’s not unlikely that the same candidate has applied for job in some other organizations within the industry. Providing with better benefits might not always be good enough to attract a good candidate from somewhere else. On the other hand, you might not always be able to beat the counter offers. Therefore, it’s worth asking the candidate if s/he is going through any other recruitment process elsewhere and what are the key criteria for him/her to switch the job from his/her current company.

These are the few issues you should keep in mind while working on your hiring.

Now, what can you do to avoid such a situation like a candidate of your preference declining your job offer. The simple answer is: make an offer that s/he can’t decline!

Startup-HR-101
Startup-HR-101 | Click Image for More

Let’s have few ideas on how to do so:

01. Killing The Cat On First Night

If you are running around looking for a way to sweeten the deal after you’ve already made your offer – sorry, you are already late. You need to impress the candidate right from the word go – on the day one. You need to create such an impression that the candidate feels like ‘this is the place where I would like to work’. Just like in sales, it requires a combined customer service and sales approach.

At the same time, you also need to judge a candidate to the perfection. One of the main signs that recruiters optimistically overlook is candidates’ not answering phone calls, emails, or messages. If you have to call several times to get an answer or it takes two weeks to get a reply to your email, they’re just not that into you.

02. Hiring Cycle Should Not Be Too Lengthy

You should not wait till the last date of application. Start sorting the CVs already and start calling the right candidates. You should ask for samples of their work prior to or during the interview so that you can make a good decision in less time. The more time you take to make your decision, the more time the candidate has to look at other opportunities.

03. Don’t Act Like A ‘Footpath Shop’

Recently I was sending couple of candidates to one of our clients who were looking for an experienced software engineer. My client company was a startup, so it was already difficult to get experienced candidates going for the interviews. Anyway, they selected one of the candidates that we sent but they were trying to undercut too much on the salary. They way they negotiated the salary with the candidate; he didn’t feel good about it and finally decided to decline the offer. If you crave for good employees, pay them what they’re worth. Do some market research to ensure a competitive salary.

startup hiring mistakes
Startup Hiring Mistakes. Click on the Image For More

04. Listen, Listen And Listen Some More

You need to listen to your candidate with full attention. You need to know what is important to the candidate. Instead of simply introducing into a list of all your benefits, you should rather explain the benefits package and ask for the feedback. You can ask them to think about everything from what type of manager they would like to work under; what hours they prefer to work, whether they may want any more flexible working arrangements and so on.

If the candidate is considering another offer as well, ask him/her for details (salary and benefits, work environment, what they like and dislike about the job opportunity and so on) about the other offer. Once you know the key decision factors, you can plan for the next steps. You need to try all aspects of a role that might convince the candidate to prefer yours over others. However, if the other offer is genuinely better and you know you cannot match it, better to cut off the negotiations and move onto the next person without wasting time.

05. Show Them Around

Believe it or not, most of the candidates are not even shown their future office or desk before they start! Introducing them to other key people and showing them the great areas or the exciting production floor might push them making positive decision towards your organization. Also, everyone wants to know where s/he would reach within next few years. Therefore, it's wise to show candidates, by giving them concrete examples of how previous hires have actually progressed.

These are in-general keys to handle candidates and to get someone you want on board. There are more in it. But for your case you should find something that will work better. Put some work on it. 

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M Murshed Haider, FCMI is the co-founder & CEO of optiMA HR Solutions. He is a passionate motivational speaker and corporate coach as well.

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