As this global pandemic continues, national unemployment is hovering around 7%. The lowest unemployment rate, as of October 2020, was in Nebraska (at 3%), and the highest was in Nevada (12%) and Hawaii (14.3%). With so many people looking for new roles either due to losing their jobs or fear that they will not be called back from a furlough, one would think that candidates are not being choosy. In fact, job seekers are now interviewing hiring companies with more gusto than ever before. Three separate candidates I have recently begun working with turned down substantial job offers or pulled themselves out of the running for a role they had applied to because something did not feel right.
Thanks, but No Thanks
Why do candidates turn down roles or pull out of their job search process with a particular company? The first reason is that the company took too long in the hiring process, and they failed to see that other companies are also hiring. While it makes sense that companies want to find the best candidate, they need to keep that candidate engaged if they want them to be invested in the process. As time elapses between interviews, with no communication from the company, the candidate has the time to start looking elsewhere. Sadly, while a particular company may have been the candidate’s number one choice, they now seem like a lesser player because other companies are making the hiring process a top priority.
Companies Get Interviewed, Too
Let’s talk about Candidate “A” from my three candidates mentioned above. This candidate applied to be the General Manager of a major resort, but the resort took nearly eight months to decide on their process. By the ninth month, Candidate “A” had grown frustrated with the process. S/he began looking elsewhere and found another company of interest who offered a job of similar stature within three weeks. Upon speaking with a contact I have with the first company, I learned that this was not the first candidate they had lost due to their long hiring process. S/he was aware that their reputation with potential candidates was becoming tainted, and they needed to evaluate their hiring timeline to keep top talent engaged.
The second reason that a candidate might turn down a job offer is that the salary and benefits package may not be as desirable as it first appeared. While a hiring manager may think that their offer is generous or that because there is a pandemic that they can get a candidate “for a bargain price,” the marketplace disagrees. If a job seeker feels that s/he has taken a role at a lower price, it is not uncommon for him/her to continue to look for a new role, even after starting the job. In one instance, Candidate “B” turned down a role because when s/he figured out the real take-home pay after paying the costs of living in a new state, s/he was taking a significant pay cut. That meant that s/he would be unable to genuinely enjoy the city that s/he would have to relocate to and would have been living a similar lifestyle to the one s/he started at 20 years prior.
Some candidates turn down offers because they recognize warning signs during the interview process that scare them off. Most companies talk about work-life balance these days, but there are often signals that it is just “talk.” It is understood that a flexible schedule and working from home leads to employees who are more focused, more engaged, and less apt to burn out. However, when Candidate “C” was interviewing, s/he noticed employees who were stressed and staff that appeared unhappy, making it seem as though the work-life balance conversation was simply “lip service.” Candidates are looking around and listening to what is happening.
Recently, two other reasons why candidates turn down roles have emerged: insufficient COVID-19 safety protocols and lack of diversity and inclusion initiatives. Prospective employees are concerned for their safety, and not having an adequate COVID plan will raise an eyebrow and might cost you a great candidate. As for diversity and inclusion, with so many candidates aware of our current cultural climate, it is essential to be prepared for questions regarding the gender, ethnicity, race, and sexual orientation of both line staff and management. While some companies may not think D&I matters, many organizations are putting emphasis on creating diverse and inclusive work cultures that will attract top talent. You could be losing a great candidate to a company that has accepted the importance of having these discussions.
Goodwin wants to partner with you.
If you are not certain about how to address these concerns and looking for assistance in finding the best talent, consider contacting a well-established, award-winning recruiting firm such as Goodwin Recruiting to help you determine the best strategies for creating a strong employer brand. Reach out to us today.