You work for a great company. The hiring manager is a great person and manages a great team. So why are candidates rejecting your offer? Trust me it is not them it is you. As a sourcer and recruiter, part of the job of finding candidates is seeking candidates that are going to stick. In this week’s “The Five,” we take a look as to why candidates are rejecting your offers and what you can do to prevent it from happening to you.

You Took Too Long to Make an Offer.

This is a killer. Have you heard the saying, “Time kills deals?” This is not just true of sales deals; it happens in recruiting too. As a guess, it would seem that everyday past the interview a candidate’s interest in the position you are offering falls 5%. This falls into the candidate experience category. If you make a candidate jump through hoops, count on them to just keep jumping until they find an employer with no hoops. To alleviate this, make sure to set the expectation from the beginning. Let them know when they can expect to hear back from you. Stay in conversation with them on a regular basis and take the time to measure their interest. IF it seems like interest is waning, tell the hiring manager as soon as possible, and start looking for another “perfect” candidate.

why candidates are rejecting your offerThe Compensation is too Low.

Congratulations! You have found the perfect candidate, and they are interested. Of course, they want to know about the salary range. It is between $65K – $85K. The candidate says, “Great. Set up the interview.” Everything seems to be going well. Everyone one likes each other. It is a great skill and culture fit, and the hiring manager wants to move forward. When you call the candidate to make the offer at $65K, the candidate is insulted and rejects the offer. Why? Because although the range you gave was accurate, the hiring manager was really thinking $65K and the candidate heard $85K. To fix this, at the end of every conversation, (and I mean EVRY conversation) ask the candidate, “If you decide that this is a perfect job for you and the hiring manager offered you this job that starts at $65K, would you accept it?”

Maybe at the beginning of the interview process $65K seemed reasonable but after interviewing and finding out what the job entails, $65K seems out of the range. It happens, right? So as they interview they are thinking, I would take it at $75K, but there is no way I would do it for $65K. To make sure this doesn’t happen to you, at the end of every conversation, (and I mean EVERY conversation) ask the candidate, “If you decide that this is a perfect job for you and the hiring manager offered you this job that starts at $65K, would you accept it?” Also, get the hiring manager to narrow the range. Even though they can pay up to $85K, are they really looking for candidates in the $70K – $75K range? Trust us; they know the answer to this question. Whatever the case, don’t be the last one to know. Ever.

They Received a Counter Offer.


It makes sense that if you are recruiting a top candidate that the company they currently work for does not want to lose them. I will go so far as to say that if a candidate doesn’t receive a counter offer, you should be concerned. To avoid this, you should learn what the candidate’s primary motivator to make the change is. If a candidate is money motivated, know that you will lose the candidate if they receive a counter offer. If you hire a money motivated candidate, start looking for their replacement because it also means that if they get a new opportunity to make even more money, they will leave your company behind.

why candidates are rejecting your offerCompany Reputation.

Your candidate is going to be researching what people think about your company. Make sure that you are aware of your company’s reputation and address this in the beginning. If the company’s reputation online is wrong, make sure that you work on employer branding by getting testimonials from existing employees. Offer to let them talk to current employees that they will be working with. If your company sucks, let them know. All of these things are relative. One person’s shitty work experience is another person’s perfect job opportunity.

why candidates are rejecting your offerYou Don’t Know Your Candidates Motivators.

While at a gigantic staffing firm, I had the reputation for never losing a candidate. That was because I never made an offer to a candidate who was going to reject the offer. For example, if a candidate hates their job because of their long commute and your position is the same length or longer, they are going to eventually realize this and reject your offer. If your candidate wants more work-life balance, and your company does not offer flexibility, the candidate is going to dismiss the offer. Remember, the perfect candidate is the one that not only has the skills necessary, they are also the one that loves what your company has to offer. Take the time to empathize with what your candidate and don’t try to fit square pegs into round holes.


By Jackye Clayton

Jackye is an acclaimed thought leader and inspirational speaker on recruiting and DEIB topics. She brings years of experience recruiting across a variety of industries including tech, HR, legal, and finance. In her role as VP of Talent Acquisition and DEIB, she leads all related work at Textio, provides critical expertise to customers, and serves as a leading voice in the products Textio creates for the broader ecosystem. Jackye has been named one of the 9 Powerful Women in Business You Should Know by SDHR Consulting, one of the 15 Women in HR Tech to Follow by VidCruiter, and is on the Top 100 list of Human Resources Influencers by Human Resource Executive Magazine.