Recruiter Association Insight into Candidate Turn-Downs

by Dave Nerz

image of woman with surprised look on her faceHiring is one part buying and one part selling. Sometimes no matter how hard an agency recruiter works to place a candidate, the hiring company can let the recruiter down. Employers need to be reminded it is just as important to sell the company and the company culture as it is to vet the candidate in an interview. This is more true today with a shortage of quality candidates. The best candidates have other opportunities. The employer better be selling as they evaluate.

A study completed by a recruiter association found that candidates who rejected offers accepted a competitive job offer in about 1-in-3 situations and another 1-in-5 accepted a counteroffer. Counteroffers are growing in frequency and aggression as employers realize the difficulty of finding top talent. One respondent to the recruiter association’s survey said, “We hadn’t seen a counteroffer worth accepting in four years. That has changed now.”

Besides money and willingness to make a change, here are some other things that the members of our recruiter association have reported as employer-driven reasons for candidate turn-downs:

  • Negativity. Some employers will speak poorly of the company, employees, working conditions, and workload. If candidates sense low morale, they are not going to accept the offer of employment.
  • Bad interviewers. Sometimes interviewers like to be “clever” and it just ends up being stupid: the interview that does the “what is your favorite color” question, the “if you could be a rock star” question, the “why are manhole covers round” question. Employers can just send the wrong vibe for dumb reasons. When employers control 80% of the interview time by talking incessantly or when they are unwilling to offer anything that goes off script — that can turn off a quality candidate too.
  • Failure to sell. Tell me about why this is a great place to work. Employers expect that candidates come in sold on the company. True, a recruiter can do much to help there, but most candidates want to have that reinforced by the interviewer. Sell, and the candidate might buy.
  • Lack of preparation. OK, who has not been to the interview where the interviewer is obviously reading your resume for the first time — or worse yet asks you for a copy “to see if you came prepared.” When the interview starts 45 minutes late, there is a problem. Candidates hold employers to standards just as employers do to candidates. It is no more acceptable for the employer to be late or unprepared than it is for the candidate.

Our recruiter association operates on 6 continents and in more than 28 countries, and by all accounts, the shift from an employer/job-driven market to a candidate-short market is well underway in most locations around the world. Agency recruiters will need to work closely with employer/clients to avoid these things that cause candidate turn-downs.

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