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Thanks For Your Job Offer, but No Thanks

Posted by Brian A. on Saturday, August 23, 2014 Under: 848FINACE

Several years ago, I recruited a candidate for a position and things appeared to be on track process-wise.

Mary (name changed to protect her identity) had the "right" resume, background, and experience for the post, those who interviewed Mary liked her, so I confidently offered her the position.

Two days later, I received a note in the mail from Mary thanking me for the opportunity, but politely declining our offer. To say the least, I was highly disappointed not being able to close our top choice, but over time I've learned that candidates tend to decline formal job offers for many of the following reasons:

Poor Organizational Reputation: After receiving Mary's "thanks, but no thanks" note, I contacted her by phone to ferret out why she declined our offer and after being initially hesitant revealed that she'd discussed our company with her friends and colleagues who dissuaded her from joining our firm.

In the past, the organization earned a reputation as being a bit of a "Wild West Show" and that gets out in an industry where everyone compares notes with one another. This situation occurred less and less over time, but it still stung to lose Mary during that search.

Testing the Marketplace: Once again, you recruit another candidate like Mary who everyone loves and you make a formal employment offer to them; an offer used as "bait" during their salary negotiations with their current employer that they had no intention of leaving in the first place.

In other words, you've been "played," which hurts, but is part of the equation when you recruit talent in a competitive marketplace.

Freddy Krueger: Another time, I had a fantastic candidate that I should have just hired and got her onboard, but at that time was being coached to spread organizational decision making and responsibility, so I had the candidate interview with several managers, hoping that things would go according to plan.

It didn't. She turned down our offer flat. Not happy about the situation, I asked the candidate to lunch to find out what scared a previously-excited candidate off. It turned out that one of our managers behaved like a jerk during her interview and she'd be working closely with this individual, so she decided not to join us.

Freddy left the organization shortly afterward by mutual agreement.

Palace Intrigues: I offered an individual who had been freelancing with us a full-time position; which he declined.

Not only did this candidate turn me down, but shared the details of his offer letter with several employees. We never used his services again.

Thankfully, this was a rare occurrence, but only underscored why a formal recruitment process was in place; which I shelved to bring this "in-house" candidate onboard. Big mistake.

Dead Presidents: Surprisingly, not being able to agree on salary terms largely hasn't been a major stumbling block when I've made job offers in the past. By the time I'd forwarded the formal offer to candidates, we'd usually had a verbal agreement in place that nearly all candidates honored.

However, every once in awhile a candidate would hold me up for an extra $1,000 or $2,000 or extra vacation time. I could usually handle those situations with little difficulty, but sometimes a "Jesse James" candidate would reveal themselves who wanted $5,000 to $10,000 more than we agreed upon verbally and formally. Those were the candidates I generally lost in the end. If a job was budgeted for a $40,000 salary, an extra $10,000 is a lot of money. The candidate's word was also suspect as well.

Changed Their Mind: This has generally been the top reason why candidates have declined formal position offers during my career; they simply decided to stay where they were.

When this happened, it was hard to be upset with someone who thought it through and made an important decision, because in the end it's their life and career, not mine or the companies I represented.

Samod Boogie
  • Timothy Olson
    Timothy Olson
    Senior Information Systems Consultant - Security+ Certified
    brian, awesome article. im glad to read some thoughts from non-recruiters. Recruiters share all kinds of information about us. we are the commodity, so think we really should be more vocal about which recruiters we had good experiences with and bads ones as well and why. certainly you cant trust that all recruiters or even many see you more than $$$. for some reason been frowned upon howeever technically, it doesnt matter what they think. if you're the right fit they will go for you anyway or they stand to lose income. we have powe as the talent pool and deserve to know the reputations the "organizations" that are endlessly popping up. brian, if you are a recruiter then you totally get it. this is more than just a deal we have to close, its our life, where we spend the majority of our waking lives, and we deserve to know who has the reputation of understanding that. my misrepresenting us, or not notifying you about your status in a timely manner is just cruel. i have had wonderful recruiters and i've had horrible ones and if we openly discussed them, those that lack standards, much less good quality standards would have to shape up or fail. i agree with this post and every comment and i will treat recruiters as they treat me. if they know their stuff, organized, honest and forthcoming ill think positively about them even if i dont get the job. but its a rwo way street, they cant fire me and if they make careless mistakes, or lie in a way that impacts my life, id never work eith them again anyway and its not like you need a reference from them. excellent thoughts!
    25 seconds ago
  • Denise Spiva
    Denise Spiva
    An employer/employee relationship is a TWO WAY STREET....Just because you offer a job to a person..it .doesn't mean much if either the employee or the employer can't live up to what they promised to one another., Both parties have a option to choose if they want and choose to work together.

In : 848FINACE 

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