Tips for Minimizing Offer Declines


Types of back out

Let’s look at what stages of the recruitment process, a back out can possibly happen.

  1. Candidate backing out before the interview
  2. Candidate backing out after interview
  3. Candidate backing out after accepting the offer
  4. Candidate backing out before joining
  5. Candidate backing out just after joining

Probable reasons for back outs

Varied reasons can be attributed as to why a candidate backs out. From my past experiences, below are some of the common ones –

  • Have in hand several offers and will decide on the one best offer.
  • Developing cold feet at the last moment before submitting his/her resignation letter.
  • HR/Line Manager convinced him/her to stay back.
  • Was given a very good counter offer by employer so decided to stay back.
  • Not serious about leaving current job, and attending interviews just because the opportunity was presented to him/her.
  • Learnt of the project which was not to his liking/preference/expectation and is not keen on joining.
  • The final offer not up to his/her expectation.
  • Did not agree with some of the clause(s) in the offer letter/appointment letter.
  • His/her friends/contacts gave negative feedback about the organization so decided not to join.
  • Required joining time not reasonable.
  • See what offer he/she can get from the market to negotiate a better salary with existing employer.
  • Selection process took too long and has already accepted another offer.
  • Tried re-negotiating for more salary after selection.
  • Genuinely have personal/family issue because of which he/she cannot take up the offer.

Repercussions & effects of backing out

  • Recruitment is an expensive activity. Every time a candidate backs out the recruitment process has to be initiated all over again.
  • Good amount of time and effort is wasted to find a new replacement and projects can and do get delayed and all these translates to revenue lost.
  • But most important of all is the loss of client’s trust. This is non tangible and will have long term adverse effect vis-à-vis client-vendor relationship.

How to avoid & reduce candidates backing out

  • If you and your candidates are in the same area it is always advisable to meet face-to-face.
  • Be it on the phone or in person spent as much time as you can and dig for information – what motivates him to look for a change, professional and personal reasons, what are his expectations in terms of money and roles, etc.
  • It is important to be in control when it comes to recruiter-candidate relationship. To achieve that it is important that you conduct a thorough pre-qualifying. Get all the low-down about his background and aspirations.
  • Always insist on obtaining either verbally and/or in writing his/her response and commitment to the job offer. You may do this with a direct approach or with great subtlety. Which approach you resort to will depend on each individual or their level of seniority – you need to make the right judgement.
  • Constantly update him/her on the process and try keeping-in-touch on a frequent basis.
  • Pay close attention while talking to him/her and listen for those tones and expressed/unexpressed concerns and look for those signs that might indicate his intentions.
  • If any of his/her words, expressions, actions gives you a sense of doubt and concern, then drop him/her and move on. It is better to drop him/her now than later have a back out in your hand.
  • Have a set of questionnaire that you can run through with him/her before proceeding to qualify him – questionnaire that will test his seriousness and sincerity to look for a change.
  • Do not hesitate to ask them if they have discussed with his/her family members about this plan to look for a job change. Especially for those who are married, please confirm with them if they have consulted their other half.
  • Try and get inside your candidate’s mind, understand his needs and his aspiration.
  • Pro-actively try to cover all areas that you possibly think will be a likely point of concern (reason for a back out) for him at a later stage and addressed them immediately.

If after all this you have a back out it’s probably all right, after all, let us not forget that we are only human and let us accept the fact that they too are also just human like us and not anything else . Like us they too can have many internal and external influences/flaws for them to change their decision at a drop of a hat or act differently at times without any rhyme or reason.

The trick here is to constantly learn from ones mistakes and not repeat the same mistake the next time round. A good recruiter is someone who no matter how many times he falters and gets knocked down will reinvent himself and come back again and again but stronger, better and smarter.

Guest Author – Manish Kumar Pipalwa

Manish Kumar Pipalwa is HR professional with more than 9 yrs. experience in recruitment. He has expertise in strategic sourcing, high volume recruitment, niche skill hiring and leadership hiring. Manish is acknowledged for his contribution to HR community by sharing knowledge through his blog SourcingSpider.

Manish is currently working with Mphasis, Pune as Assistant Manager Recruitment.



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