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Candidate Experience | 3 minute read

Tackling tough conversations after a rejected job offer

January 14, 2016

You have just found the perfect candidate. They check all the boxes: ideal background, skills match, compensation fit — and they are interested in making a change. They interview and, as expected, the they knock it out of the park and receive an offer. Then the unthinkable happens. The offer is declined.

Tackling tough conversations like the one you're preparing to have with your hiring manager is part of a recruiter's career. Here's some advice to make sure your search gets back on the right track.

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Understand the Candidate Perspective

You can start by finding out if the candidate is interested in future opportunities with the organization. By focusing on opportunities down the road, a candidate who seems reluctant to share why they declined the offer will be more at ease. This will also allow you delve into some key points about the candidate's decision. 

Did they get an offer at a higher salary? Maybe there is wiggle room with the salary or a sign-on to overcome the difference. Is the commute too far?  Perhaps they have the potential to work remotely. Unfortunately, in some instances, the candidate is unwavering in his or her decision and negotiating won't be able to change that.

Remember, the candidate experience is still extremely important at this time. If someone was interested enough in the company and job to complete the interview process, they are an ideal member of the talent community.

Consult With the Client

With this information from the candidate, you are now prepared to consult with the hiring manager. It’s important to provide honest feedback and direct the conversation to an action plan. Address any issues the candidate presented. For example, if the candidate stated he or she felt the interview process was too lengthy, share that feedback with the hiring manager and introduce video interviewing tools, for example, that can keep the process moving efficiently.

The best way to recover from losing a candidate is by having someone great in the pipeline! This is one of the most important parts of your sourcing strategy. With a robust pipeline, you can easily identify another ideal candidate when someone drops out of the process. 

Most importantly, do not let a rejected offer stop your momentum. As Robert Frost said, “The only way around is through.” No one looks forward to these conversations, but every recruiter will face them. By taking the time to gain an accurate understanding of the candidate’s perspective and having the communication skills to effectively provide that feedback to the hiring manager, you will be able to work through it and come out on the other side as a better recruiter.


About Amy Brookshire

Amy is a recruitment operations manager at WilsonHCG. She joined the company in May 2015. Prior to joining the WilsonHCG team, she gained over 13 years of recruiting experience from entry to executive level roles in the healthcare and finance arenas. She resides in Greenville, SC, with her husband and daughter.