When a professional makes a career move, the recruitment process they undertake before reaching the job offer phase is usually very comprehensive and assessments can be rigorous. Hiring managers, human resources teams and their executive search partners work through a series of interviews and assessments that have been finely honed, vary from industry to industry and firm to firm, to fully explore the suitability of a candidate in terms of qualifications, experience, personality and cultural fit. However, there are a number of additional factors that everyone involved should also take time to consider, as these are often the reasons cited for rejecting an opportunity when the offer is already on the table.
Work life balance is playing an increasingly larger role during the decision-making process. There is a greater tendency to more favourably, consider roles closer to home or transport links that help cut commute time or access airports to help with work related travel. Although candidates may not admit it, in certain circumstances, this may even be the final deciding factor when considering multiple roles, especially if other benefits are the same.
When job seekers start the process of making a move, their motivations are wide ranging but usually relate directly to their job such as better career prospects and job satisfaction. In such instances, other factors such as their personal life might take a back seat until after the job has been secured. It isn’t until this late stage that family obligations come into play, and as a result turn out to be one of the main reasons cited when turning down job offers. The impact of a change on children’s education or a spouse are not fully considered until the option of the job becomes a reality. There are also unexpected or unplanned factors that can arise during the recruitment process such as the health concerns of a family member that can result in candidates deferring or even forego a job offer altogether.
This can be easily managed by ensuring the consultants develop a sound relationship with their candidates. Soft skills become integral to the role of a recruiter in this instance, as candidates will need to feel comfortable enough to share their personal situation at all stages of the process. It is important that the consultant has good understanding of the candidate’s motivations and relevant aspects of their personal life in order to provide appropriate advice and guidance.
Counter offers are one of the most common reasons candidates of all levels give when turning down a job at a late stage of the process. These can be from either a firm the candidate is interviewing with simultaneously or from their current employer.
Consultants should try and develop a rapport with their candidates and assure them they can provide complete representation with the relevant clients. Another benefit with this is it may allow the consultants to negotiate a speedy process with the client if they are keen on hiring the candidate.
To address counter offers from their current organisation, consultants should understand the existing relationships the candidate shares with their team and bosses, and how integral their skills and experience is to the organisation. If they share a personal relation with their boss or are a crucial part of the team, the chances are there will be a counter offer. It is also important to fully explore “push factors” from their current jobs as it can ascertain the exact reason for the move. Such factors are wide ranging and include money, lack of promotion opportunity, or a hostile work environment for example. Figuring out the exact push factor can determine the urgency of the move and help everyone understand the chances of a candidate accepting a counter offer.
Organisations can change their notice period over time and if the candidate is not aware, and the notice period is longer than anticipated, the firm might have to reconsider the offer. Hires can be time sensitive or for a specific project, so it is imperative everyone is aware of the notice period in advance before the candidate reaches the final stages and a package is beginning to be negotiated. This way, the offer can be tailored accordingly and will remove any inconvenience for both client and candidate.
Although there will always be changes of circumstances and no guarantee a candidate will accept an offer, as recruiters we try to bring the client and the candidate on the same page by ensuring the concerns of both parties are out in the open and facilitate a smooth interview and onboarding process. This can reduce the element of surprise, giving everyone the opportunity to address all deciding factors early on in the process, or at the very least have a contingency plan should a first-choice candidate turn down a role.