Your First Choice for the Job Declined, Now What?

You have the perfect candidate and they aced the interview. Reference checked out and you enthusiastically drew up an offer letter, excited about another position filled. But when you hear back, it’s them telling you that they won’t be accepting the offer. It might be because they found another job or didn’t feel aligned with your brand, but no matter what the reason is, the question remains – now what?

  1. Contact other candidates: If you had a shortlist of candidates and your first choice rejected your offer, go back to your list and try to figure out if there’s someone just as strong in the pile. If you’re unsure, discuss with your peers or other managers and see if opening up a dialogue helps you decide. Most businesses don’t send out rejection letters to a shortlist of candidates until someone who’s gotten an offer answers one way or other, but if you’ve already let people know you won’t be moving forward with them as an applicant, you can always reach back out, explain that circumstances have changed, and ask if they’d still be interested in working for your company.
  2. Consider re-interviewing: If you can’t decide on a candidate to make an offer to, consider re-opening the job to start the interview process over or consider re-interviewing people who you’ve passed over. You might find something new and valuable from another conversation or from meeting new applicants.
  3. Look at your process: What is your interview really like from an outsider’s perspective? Do candidates feel rushed? Are there too many interviews in the process, driving them to accept another job from elsewhere during the drawn-out process? Are your benefits and salary ranges in line with others in the industry? Taking the time to really look at your recruitment process – even if it hurts – is a helpful way of figuring out what works and what might be causing you to lose qualified candidates.

Losing your first-choice candidate can feel like a loss, but it’s also an opportunity to examine your recruitment and hiring process, as well as other aspects of your business.

If you need to fill a position with the right talent the first time around, we can help. Get in touch today to utilize our staffing expertise and take some of the stress out of hiring.


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