The 3 most common reasons candidates turn down job offers

Unfortunately it happens to even the most desired employers but still, there’s nothing more upsetting than spending valuable time and money on a lengthy recruitment process to have your top candidate reject your job offer. It can be difficult to understand why this happens – especially if you have a big brand name behind you.

Below are some of the most common reasons candidates turn down jobs and how you can prevent this from happening to you.


Believe it or not, the timing of your job offer can have a huge impact on whether someone accepts the position or not. This is particularly the case if your candidate has been headhunted because they’re not actively looking to leave their current role. This means that they could potentially be open to an offer if it’s the right job but chances are that they’re not going to be as keen as someone who chose to apply for the position themselves.

If you’ve found your dream candidate but get the feeling that they may be struggling to make a decision, let them have some time. Don’t pressure them into giving you an answer straight away because chances are they’ll panic and stay put. Remember, just because they need time it doesn’t mean they won’t be a great or enthusiastic employee – the fact they feel loyal to their current employer and like their job is a good sign because it shows they will treat your company the same way.

If you find yourself in this situation let the candidate know that they can take their time before giving you an answer. Be patient with the notice period as well – if their current employer has treated them well they will want to work their full notice and you can always hire a temp in the meantime.

Better counter offer

Competition for high quality candidates is incredibly high so if you’ve found one, you can bet that other companies and recruitment agencies are chasing after them too. If this is the case you are going to have to be prepared to negotiate a bit. Increasing your initial offer may sound like something you don’t want to do but think about the additional recruitment costs you will face if you have to start the whole process again.

Other perks such as offering flexible hours, working from home occasionally, early finishes on a Friday, company days out, training, promotions and bonuses can also tempt a candidate to choose you over a competitor. It’s important to remember however that people want to work for a company that values them, will present them with the opportunity to grow and has a culture that they fit in with. If none of these things are there then all the perks in the world won’t make a difference.

Bad interview process

The only thing a candidate can judge you on is what they have experienced during the interview process. If it has been rushed, disorganised, too drawn out, too strict, too unprofessional and generally a mess, then people are going to think that this is what working for you will be like.

Remember that interviews aren’t just for recruiters to see if they like the candidate. It presents just as much of an opportunity for applicants to assess whether or not you are someone they want to work for.

If you would like more information about recruitment or need help hiring your next employee, please don’t hesitate to contact us and we will be more than happy to help.

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