What if Your Top Candidate Rejects Your Salary Offer?

You have just completed a long recruiting process, but have managed to find a truly exciting candidate that you’re eager to work with. Unfortunately, after making your salary offer, the candidate decided not to accept the job. This puts you in a tricky position. Do you offer the candidate more money, settle for your second place candidate, or start the recruiting process all over again? Before committing to any option, follow these three steps:

Step One – Reach out to the Candidate

There are lots of reasons that people seek out a job only to turn it down later. Perhaps they were disappointed with the amount of compensation offered, anticipated friction with superiors or co-workers, found the company culture underwhelming, or had mistaken ideas about what the job would entail. You can’t know the motive until you reach out to the candidate directly. Approach them in a friendly and curious way, and make it clear that there will be no recriminations if they offer criticisms of your company.

Step Two – Look for Nontraditional Incentives

We all go to work to make money, and this is often the biggest deciding factor when choosing whether or not to accept a new job. If your company cannot afford to offer any more salary than you have already, consider sweetening the deal with nontraditional incentives. These can include better medical benefits, tuition reimbursement, day care assistance, work-from-home opportunities, or the privilege of working on more interesting projects. Hopefully by now you have a fairly clear picture of this candidate. Use what you know about them both personally and professionally to calibrate your incentive offers.

Step Three – Consult Your Recruiting Partner

If you connected with this candidate through a recruiter, they may be able to provide you with unique insights. Since they know this job market and professional field so well, they may be able to help you better align your salary and benefit offers with prevailing rates. And since they have probably spent more time vetting the candidate in question, you may learn information that can help you enhance your job offer in the most enticing way possible. If all else fails, your recruiting partner can help connect you with a suitable replacement candidate faster.

Recruiting top talent is imperative, but you don’t want to compromise your business goals just to make a single hire. If you go too long with a vacancy or offer more salary than you can budget for, the negative aspects of the hire probably outweigh the positive. To learn more about identifying and connecting with the best talent in the workforce, have a conversation with the team at Morris Bixby.


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