The candidates canceling offer at the last minute: Causes and remedies

The Human Resources (HR) community generally knows that it is extremely difficult to find a talented candidate who satisfies the conditions and compatible with the job. It might’ve taken weeks, or maybe months, to lure and land the perfect candidate whose skills and experience check all the boxes. After the interview and negotiation process, the person has accepted your job offer. But shortly before the start date, he or she has a change of heart and decides not to join your organization. This is a story that is no stranger to recruiting new employees, so what are the reasons behind this and what are the remedies? Let’s explore with CxO Search through the following article.

It happened to Suzie Grieco, now the president and co-owner of SG2 Recruiting, a recruiting and search firm in Washington, D.C. “After a long negotiation regarding compensation, the candidate accepted a verbal offer and returned a signed offer letter. But the day before he was scheduled to start, he called to say that he had accepted another offer that he could not refuse.” – Suzie Grieco recalled.

Recruiters are understandably frustrated when a candidate rescinds a job acceptance, but the decision also creates larger problems for the business. The employer has likely notified any recruitment agencies it was using and other potential applicants that the position has been filled; job ads may have been pulled; and supplies, software and hardware may have been ordered and are being set up.

Why Does This Happen?

There are several reasons candidates might accept a position and later rescind it, starting with the fact that the current labor market favors job seekers. All job seekers and candidates always have more than one option and top candidates do not have to worry about giving themselves more opportunities with many different employers. The best candidates always have at least two choices so it is feasible for the candidate to get a better offer from another company and accept it.

The candidates who accepts a job offer then can cancel it also when they trying to negotiate with the current company he or she is working and accepted a counteroffer from their current employer. Or the candidate is negotiating with both different companies they apply for, especially if their skills are in high demand, and the result is that other company are selected. Or they didn’t do very good research initially, and they find out something they really don’t like about an employer and change their mind. This happen when the hiring manager wants the person to be in the office every day 8 to 5, and the candidate decides they need more flexibility.

It should be noticed that, if salary negotiations didn’t go as planned, candidates may rescind acceptance to look for an opportunity with a higher salary.

Legal Recourse

Simply put, there isn’t any legal remedy that’s worthwhile. We’re in an at-will environment where someone can quit at any time, even at the point of offer or before the first day of work.

A signed contract, which outlines specific employment terms, generally supersedes at-will employment, however. A labor contract is a legal binding between employers and employees, being the first basis for resolving conflicts and disputes arising in labor relations. The terms that need to be clearly stated as employees before resignation must be obliged to notify the organization or the reasons for resignation should be clearly defined in the contract. If they signed an employment agreement that outlines a certain amount of notice that needs to be provided before resignation or specifically lists the reasons that they can leave the company, the employer could challenge their resignation and try to initiate legal proceedings. However, employers should not be too abusive on this measure because keeping a person who does not want to work will be of no benefit to the business.

How to Prevent Candidates’ Rescinding Job Acceptance

This can be a great opportunity for feedback and critical awareness about what may need to change about the job’s terms and conditions or the company’s recruiting process, especially if it’s happening with the same roles, hiring manager or recruiter. It could be that the offer is too low, or working conditions are not attractive. The candidate’s perspective will provide hiring managers with objective assessments, which help the organization look back on appropriate and irrelevant points about the positions. If the salary was too low, the organization may be able to offer other perks and benefits that satisfy the candidate’s needs.

Successful recruiters will identify any pain points the candidate has about the role or the company early in the process and reassure the candidate on those concerns. Do everything you can to shorten the process, sell the socks off the offer and make the candidate feel wanted.

The interview is not just a time for us to get to know the candidate. It is an opportunity for the candidate to learn about us too, including the company, the team they would be working with, and additional details and expectations of the role. Do not sugarcoat anything, let’s offer a lot of transparency. From the first conversation, we discuss the good, the bad and the ugly. If a candidate has made it to the point where the organization  ready to extend an offer, it is likely they are in it for the long haul.

Recruiters can also probe candidates about their job search. Be sure to ask throughout the interview process what other opportunities they have considered and how your opportunity compares. In today’s highly competitive market, it’s important to realize there may be others wooing them even after they’ve accepted an offer, including their current employer.

A well-developed onboarding program, which starts once the candidate accepts the job offer, is also important. Once the candidate has accepted the offer, we stay in contact with them until their first day. This shows that your organization is a professional working organization, the candidate will also feel that he/she is interested and valued, thereby avoiding the candidate from starting to consider the options.

According to statistics, it can be seen that more than 90% of the candidates cancel the offer because of the offer of a better place or retained by the old company, and both related to the factor: income and career development opportunities. In short, in order to limit candidates to cancel offers at the last minute, it is necessary to give reasonable salaries and remuneration first, then the recruitment manager should show candidates about an open future of vacancy position. While waiting for the candidate to receive a job, the recruitment department should also actively contact and remind candidates about career development opportunities, this will limit the candidate’s cancellation of the signed agreement.

Source: SHRM

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