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Q. I recently got promoted to assistant human resource manager. The company I work for is hiring, and I am involved in the hiring process. One jobseeker attended three interviews which he did well in, only to decline the job offer. What are some of the reasons that would compel a candidate to turn down employment?

The interview is an opportunity for the employer and the candidate to get a first impression of each other and assess whether they would be a perfect fit for a professional relationship. It is therefore acceptable for a candidate to turn down a job offer.

There are several reasons why this jobseeker may have turned down your offer. It could be that he did an independent inquiry and discovered that the role offered is either too challenging or uninspiring. Former employees can either build or destroy the employer’s image, therefore if the candidate talked to the predecessor and got a negative review of the company, then he can base his decision on the facts given, real or imagined.

This brings us to the issue of organisational culture. It is possible that during the interviews, the candidate may have observed how the organisation manages its employees and how they relate to each other. The treatment of the candidate during the recruitment period, including the tone and body language of the interviewers, influences the final decision on whether to board or not.


How is the financial performance of the company? Candidates assess the performance of a prospective employer to ascertain that they have the capacity to meet employees’ obligations. High performing companies have a propensity to attract highly qualified and experienced candidates.

Candidates also look at the future prospects of the company and personal career growth to make a choice. If the predecessor was in the same role for a long period, then the offer may not look attractive. The current employer may provide a challenge to the prospective employer, especially if they give a counteroffer. Your competitors could also have given a better offer.

To reduce the chances of candidates rejecting the offer, you must remain competitive by benchmarking your remuneration to market data, which gives a comparative analysis on how you pay your employees against other players in your industry. Create a conducive culture and make your employees your brand ambassadors if you want to be recognised as an employer of choice.