As the labor market continues to evolve, recruiters face a new challenge in the form of a rising number of job candidates reneging on their employment offers. While this is not a new issue, with a 2019 poll by Robert Half showing that 28% of professionals who accepted a job offer later backed out, it has become increasingly problematic for companies as the labor market becomes more competitive. As a result, organizations are seeking strategies to reduce the number of applicants who back out of job offers. So, here are some practical strategies to incorporate into your recruiting process to address the current candidate reneging problem and ensure that your organization can attract and retain the best talent.
Why is there a rise in reneging and decline rates?
Candidate reneging doesn't happen for no reason. While many think it happens because candidates have "commitment issues," it all comes down to competition and timing. Oftentimes, candidates will renege on a job offer because:
They accepted your job offer while waiting for their desired offer.
Most candidates begin job searching with a specific position, title, or company in mind. They apply to their most desired job openings first. Then, they apply to other openings as a backup plan, and let's face it. Sometimes, you are the backup plan.
So, a candidate may accept your job offer because it is safe... not because they actually want it. Then, if one of their more desired opportunities presents itself, they will renege on your offer and accept the new one.
Another firm offered a better deal.
Particularly in light of The Great Resignation, competing organizations are providing applicants with special offers. They may offer higher pay, enticing incentives, or timely benefits. It may be in the candidate's best interest to rescind acceptance and go with the better offer.
The deadline to accept the offer isn't enough time.
Many HR managers and employers have used the oldest trick in the book to prompt candidates to accept an offer- time constraints.
"We need an answer in the next 48 hours."
"The offer is on the table, but we've also offered someone else. The first person to accept will have the job."
While this tactic can be effective, it also leads to higher rates of reneging. When put under time pressure, candidates don't have ample time to weigh their options and may still be interviewing and negotiating with other companies. If candidates find themselves in this situation, the best course of action is to be honest. However, many candidates won't because they fear losing the offer. So, what's the next best option?
Accept the job offer and renege if a better offer becomes available.
Too much time elapsed between the hire date and the commencement date.
Starting a new job can be exciting, but a lengthy gap between the date of hiring and the actual start date can lead to a lack of communication between the employer and the new employee. As a result, the employee's enthusiasm may fizzle out. It may even provide an opening for other recruiters to reach out to them with different (maybe even better) opportunities.
How can it be prevented?
Knowing why candidate reneging happens is only the first step to preventing it. You must also find and implement strategies that will help keep new hires around for the long haul.
Implement a better selection process – evaluate candidates' intentions more thoroughly.
The best way to effectively screen candidates at every phase of the hiring process is by connecting with them via phone, video, or in person. The primary goal is to determine why they want this job and why they would choose it (or this company) over other opportunities. Ask questions like:
Why are you interested in this job?
What other job positions would you also be interested in working in?
What about this company sets it apart from other companies?
What are your expectations from this firm in your first year of employment?
Are you speaking or interviewing with any other companies at this time?
Create a more enticing job offer – be clear and concise with an offer that outlines the expectations and responsibilities of the position.
A more enticing job offer that clearly outlines the expectations and responsibilities of the position can be a critical factor in retaining new employees. When a job offer is clear and concise, it helps the new employee better understand what their role entails and what is expected of them in their new position. This level of transparency builds trust between the employer and employee to provide security and stability on the job.
By providing a more appealing job offer, employers can create a positive first impression and increase the likelihood of the new employee staying with the company for the long term. Additionally, offering competitive compensation, a customizable benefits package, and opportunities for professional development can also effectively retain new employees.
Communicate effectively with candidates: Follow up with candidates after they’ve accepted the job offer.
Based on different reports, interns have some of the highest reneging rates. Much of the reason stems from the lengthy period of time between accepting an offer and beginning a new job or internship. For example, some students accepted a summer internship opportunity in the fall. Throughout the school year, they got job offers from major corporations whose compensation package was twice as good as their internship opportunity.
While most companies don't usually hire a year in advance, optimizing the time between job acceptance and an employee's start date is vital. During this time, frequent communication will keep the employee's passion alive. Remind the employee of the strength of their position, how it maximizes their future career goals, and offer to renegotiate benefits and pay (depending on how long the time period is). The idea is to keep them engaged, help them discover a sense of purpose, and keep them busy while getting to know the company.
Make the onboarding process very engaging, interactive, and welcoming.
Optimizing the onboarding process is critical to ensuring new hires remain committed to their job offer and refrain from reneging on their agreement. A well-designed onboarding program should provide candidates with a clear understanding of the organization's culture, expectations, and values. This process can also help to build a sense of excitement and anticipation for their new role, making it less likely that they will change their mind. Furthermore, by providing new hires with the necessary tools and resources to succeed in their position, they are more likely to feel supported and engaged, which can help to boost retention rates.
Celebrate new employees' early milestones – this will help reduce the turnover rate.
Celebrating the early milestones of new employees can be a powerful way to reduce early turnover rates and foster a positive work environment. When a new hire achieves a noteworthy accomplishment, take the time to recognize their success and offer genuine words of congratulations. It's essential to avoid focusing solely on areas where improvement is needed, as this can discourage and demotivate even the most dedicated individuals.
Of course, there may be occasions when constructive feedback is necessary, but it's equally important to highlight the areas where they are excelling. By prioritizing celebrating your new hires' achievements and high points, you can create a culture of positivity and growth that will inspire them to continue striving for success.
The search for top talent is a never-ending quest in today's hyper-competitive business world. But with all the effort and resources invested in finding the perfect candidate, the last thing any organization wants is to be ghosted by their top picks. It's frustrating, time-consuming, and can lead to costly setbacks. Therefore, staying ahead of the game and adopting innovative recruitment strategies is essential to minimize the risk of candidates reneging on job offers.
To achieve this, hiring and onboarding teams must stay informed and connected, working hand-in-hand to create effective retention strategies. By closely monitoring candidate behavior, they can identify potential red flags and proactively address any concerns, thus minimizing the chances of reneging. With the right approach, organizations can create a positive and supportive environment for new hires, ensuring they feel valued and invested in the company's success.