Why Candidates Might Turn Down Your Job Offer

Sometimes, even after navigating the challenging process of sourcing, interviewing, and selecting the perfect candidate, there are times when your job offer is declined. In fact, according to Glassdoor, 17-18% of job offers are rejected.


When it comes to either accepting or rejecting a job offer, there are multiple deciding factors that talent consider. Here are several common reasons why candidates might choose not to accept your job offer, and what you can do to improve the odds.


Insufficient Compensation and Benefits

One of the primary reasons candidates decline job offers is due to inadequate compensation. In today’s competitive job market, top talent knows their worth and expects a salary that reflects their skills and experience.

But money is only one element. Benefits also play a crucial role in the decision-making process. Comprehensive health insurance, retirement plans, paid time off, and other perks can be deciding factors.


What You Can Do

Before advertising for the role, consider undergoing an internal employee survey to see how your benefits stack up compared to expectations. If you’re working with a recruitment partner, you can also ask for their insights into current salary expectations to ensure you’re competitive.


Lack of Career Growth Opportunities

Ambitious candidates, especially those at the start of their STEM career, are always looking for opportunities to grow and advance. If they perceive your company as a place where their career progression would be limited, they might turn down your offer.


What You Can Do

During the interview process, it’s essential to clearly communicate potential career paths, professional development opportunities, and how the company supports employee growth. If possible, bring someone into the interview process that has progressed through the business in a similar role, proven success is always best.


Cultural Misfit

Company culture is increasingly important to job seekers. If candidates feel that their personal values and work style don’t align with your company’s culture, they might hesitate to accept your offer.


What You Can Do

It’s essential to give candidates a genuine sense of what it’s like to work at your company. This can include discussing core values, workplace dynamics, and team interactions during the interview process. You also need to make sure that the image you’re portraying online is a genuine representation of your business, as this will give candidates a perception of your business that you’ll need to live up to.


Better Offers from Other Companies

In a competitive job market, candidates often have multiple offers on the table. They will naturally compare your offer with others, considering factors like salary, benefits, work-life balance, company reputation, and job responsibilities. If another company’s offer outshines yours in areas that matter most to the candidate, they might decline your offer in favor of a better opportunity.


What Can You Do

Communication is key between the offer and acceptance stage of the hiring process. Don’t be afraid to ask them if they’re considering other offers and what reservations they have – it might be things you can counter. There is a fine line between being inquisitive and being pushy though, and it’s important not to cross it!


Concerns About Job Security

Job security is a significant concern for many candidates, especially in the life science industry, where funding and trail success can drastically impact the job market at any moment. If your company has had recent layoffs or financial instability, candidates might perceive a higher risk and opt for more stable opportunities.


What You Can Do

Due to the nature of our industry, working with an often-unstable market is unavoidable. You might not be able to ensure job security, but you can offer them healthy notice periods and guaranteed internal communication around business health in order to negate some of these concerns.


Unclear Job Role and Responsibilities

Vague job descriptions or unclear expectations can also be a red flag. If candidates don’t have a solid grasp of their responsibilities and how their performance will be measured, they might feel uncertain about taking the job.


What You Can Do

Clear communication about job duties, expectations, and performance metrics at every stage of the process is essential. You also need to ensure this is the same throughout the process. If there are suddenly several additional reasonability mentioned in the interview that weren’t listed on the job description, this will negatively impact candidate opinion.


Poor Candidate Experience

The candidate experience throughout the hiring process can significantly impact their decision. Long, drawn-out hiring processes, poor communication, unprofessional interview conduct, or a lack of respect for the candidate’s time can all lead to a negative impression. Candidates might turn down an offer if they feel undervalued or mistreated during the recruitment process.


What You Can Do

Make sure your hiring process is efficient. If there are multiple decision-makers, organise it so they can all be in the initial interview instead of having 6 separate meetings on separate days that the candidate must take annual leave for.


Work-Life Balance Concerns

More than ever, candidates are prioritizing work-life balance. If your company has a reputation for long hours, high stress, or a demanding work environment, candidates might be wary of accepting an offer.


What You Can Do

Though hybrid working is often not an option, especially within a laboratory setting, there are other ways you can offer flexibility. Consider having core hours that employees can work around based on their schedules.

There are so many factors that influence a candidate’s decision when it comes to job seeking. The best way to ensure yours is the business they choose, is to optimise your recruitment process. If you have an internal talent team, consider undergoing an audit to see if there are areas to improve. Otherwise, consider working with a specialised recruitment partner that understands your job market.