What if the candidate rejects you?

What if a candidate rejects you?

Just because you offer a candidate a job, doesn’t mean they automatically have to accept it. Sometimes after learning more about the role, candidates may find themselves feeling that it’s not for them. They may have received a better offer while you were still making up your mind about them.

If this is the case, you need to decide just how far you are prepared to go to win your candidate over. But before you can do this, you need to ask yourself one important question, just how much do you want this particular candidate?

Of course you want them, you’ve offered them the job. But it’s very often not that cut and dried, for example, was it a close run with other candidates? If so, then the fact that this one candidate seems ambivalent to your approaches may well swing the balance back in favour of another candidate. In the current climate this occurs frequently; with a huge pool of talent looking for positions it’s very much an employers market.

While you can never fully predict the future, if you are aware that a situation like this could possibly occur then you can, to a certain extent, prepare for it. For example, making sure that throughout the interview process you guide questions towards making sure that the candidate knows as much as possible about the job and company lessens their likelihood of citing that as a reason for not wanting to accept your job. Also finding out whether they have been applying for lots of other jobs and at what stage these are at will give you a far greater insight into the position your candidate is in, and where you stand.

However, if there’s a real divide between the candidates and you feel you want to do everything in your power to ensure you win this one candidate over, then you need to be able to put a value on how far you’re really prepared to go.

Of course, before you get to this stage you might want to make sure you’re not wasting your time and energy. Being up front and asking the candidate “What will change their mind?” will at least give you an indication of whether there is any room for negotiation. If their response is a categorical “nothing,” then you’ve saved yourself precious time to go back and review other possible candidates and call them back in, as well as saving valuable resources not chasing a lost cause and returning to square one.

But let’s assume you see a chink in the candidate’s defence, what can you offer them? While there may be a very definite cap on the salary range, these aren’t the only weapons in your arsenal. It’s not just a case of how much money you can offer as there are a number of other benefits that may even be more valuable to your candidate. While these will of course depend of their specific job, here are some powerful suggestions:


Offer them commission

Based on meeting monthly or quarterly performance targets, these are a great way of making sure effort equals reward.


Profit sharing or share options

Obviously this will depend on their seniority to a great extent (unless you happen to be Waitrose), but offering them a slice of the company can be major incentive.


Additional paid holidays

This can be especially attractive to employees just out of education or those with young families.


Education reimbursement

Commitment to helping employees continue their education or career development shows you are willing to invest in their future.


Life/Health insurance

Ensuring your employee’s family will be well looked after if the worst happens gives them peace of mind.



Adding your own contributions to an employee’s monthly payments is a benefit many candidates will take seriously.


Company car

This is usually only offered to those who spend a large proportion of their working life on the move or those with a long commute, and you may have to consider tax implications.


Subsidised travel or season ticket loans

Any assistance you can provide on travel is generally received very well.


Flexible working

Granting workers the opportunity to achieve a better work-life balance is an increasingly important factor, whether it is through flexi-time or allowing people to work from home.



Offering to help with childcare costs can also be an important factor, and this could be through anything from offering in-house facilities to partnering with a local nursery.


Gym membership

Whether subsidised or free, it’s a great way for employers to offer a tangible benefit.


Subsidised food & drink

The cost of snacks, coffee, water and lunch over the course of a year can be a frighteningly large chunk of a salary.


Unless your candidate really has no intention of joining you, these can offer some serious extra value. However, while you don’t want the candidate you’re wooing to feel as though they are being rushed into a decision, you also need the situation to move forward as quickly as possible.

Turning to your second candidate several days after your promised deadline really isn’t going to fool anyone. So you have a delicate balancing act on your hands at both ends, which is why it’s often best to leave yourself plenty of time for manoeuvre.

Also make sure you have a clear plan beforehand of how far you are prepared to go with the negotiations, again this will help them to move as swiftly as possible to the best conclusion for all parties concerned.


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