What causes turndowns, and what can an agency recruiter do about it?

by Veronica Blatt

agency recruiters participating in salary negotiationsIt’s no secret that top talent is scarce in many (most?) employment sectors today. Candidates are receiving multiple offers, including counteroffers from their current employers, at a level (and ferocity) which we haven’t seen or heard of in quite some time. In turn, this is leading to a significant increase in turndowns. There are multiple factors at play during the offer stage; here are a few that contribute to turndowns. A good agency recruiter can be a crucial piece of the puzzle, helping two sides reach a fair deal.

Candidates who think they are worth more money than they are. Candidates who are being recruited heavily and/or receiving multiple offers can develop an inflated sense of their “worth.” A current employer may be willing to pay an obscene counteroffer to solve a short-term problem (an unanticipated vacancy) knowing they can start to search for a replacement on their own schedule, reverting back to the lower pay. As an agency recruiter, what are you doing to level-set the candidate’s salary expectations?

Clients who don’t understand the current supply/demand realities of the talent market. Too many clients still mistakenly think that there is a surplus of available, unemployed candidates who will work for sub-par wages. Not true. Unemployment in the U.S. for candidates with a bachelor’s degree or higher is below 4% — typically considered “full employment” — and has been for quite some time. It’s your job to educate clients about what constitutes a fair offer. I read a great blog today about why lowballing offers is a bad idea — definitely worth a read!

Candidates who think all employers are, or should be, Google. Everyone wants to work for Google, right? They have a legendary corporate culture and a talent acquisition strategy of paying top dollar for top talent. Of course they do! They’re GOOGLE, for Pete’s sake! Most employers aren’t Google, so candidates who compare a real job offer to an imaginary offer from Google are way off base. As a recruiter, what are you doing to better educate candidates about job market realities? Some companies, good companies that may be small or fairly new, may not be able to pay as much as they would like for top candidates. How can you help them sweeten the deal by creatively adding to an offer in non-salary ways?

Candidates or clients who don’t understand salary differences between geographies or employment sectors. The “going rate” for any particular job is influenced by geography, skill set, employment sector, industry, economy, and probably a few other markers. It can be tough to make an “apples to apples” comparison. An agency recruiter should be prepared, with data, to remove emotion from the process.

How have turndowns impacted your role as an agency recruiter? What are some creative ways you have closed more deals?

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