A rejected job offer for a key position can cost your organization thousands of dollars in wasted time and expenses. Fortunately, rejected offers are not inevitable. Creating a great job offer requires research and the ability to sell both the position and your organization. Taking a few simple but necessary steps can help get you and your ideal candidate on the same page. Consider the following:
1. Gather information from employees. Survey your new hires to find out why they accepted their jobs. Ask them which parts of the offer were most attractive, which were neutral, and which were negative. While you’re at it, ask these new hires—and even applicants—about your recruitment process. This is the only aspect of your company an applicant will have been exposed to, so he or she may judge the company overall based on impressions formed during this time.
2. Take a close look at your offer letter. Is it effective in describing the job and painting the company in a positive light? Does it include all the perks, benefits, and incentives available to employees? Does it stand out among the competition? You can even ask your new hires if they’d be willing to share offer letters they’ve received from other organizations to assess whether you’re in line with industry norms.
3. Talk to the ones that got away. Reach out to candidates who declined your offer and ask if they’d be willing to complete a survey. Most will initially cite salary as the reason they rejected your organization, but this may not truly be the case. If you contact them three to six months later you are likely to receive a more complete answer. Also consider running focus groups at industry events to learn why people in your field accept or reject offers.
4. Sell the supervisor. A candidate’s perception of his or her direct supervisor is critical. It is always beneficial for the supervisor to interview the candidate. Both parties need to evaluate their potential relationship. Most applicants are concerned with open communication; flexibility; growth and learning opportunities; and control of whom they work with and when their work must take place. Tell applicants what they can expect on a daily basis, both in terms of the relationship with their manager and their role within a team or department.
5. Think about timing. The timing of your offer can make a big difference. If a candidate receives an offer from another company, you should make your offer sooner to compete. If your recruit is not actively job searching, it may be more effective to move slowly. This gives your candidate time to get comfortable with the idea of making a move.
6. Tailor offer to the specific candidate’s needs. During the interview process, ask questions like “What elements of the profession do you want more or less of in your next job?” and “What would be your dream job in terms of location, co-workers, projects, work environment, and manager?” Ask, “What is your worst-case job situation, and why?” Use this feedback to create a job offer letter that speaks to the individual.
In closing, remember that even seemingly ideal job offers get rejected. There are only so many variables you can control. But gathering information, evaluating your process, and being willing to make changes will go a long way toward limiting your number of rejected offers.