How to Avoid Rejection: Get the Best to Say “Yes” to Your Offer

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Have you ever had to sweat it out, waiting to hear whether your superstar candidate would accept your job offer? Chances are you have – and it’s not one of the high points of being a hiring manager.

The fact is: If you’re ambitious enough to attract the best talent, then at least two-in-five candidates will likely turn down your offer. You can improve your chances of success by taking a few simple steps – keeping in mind that most top-ranked candidates seek more than just a paycheck. They need a commitment, a true opportunity, and assurance that the grass really will be greener if they jump the fence and leave behind their current success.

Know Your Candidate

During the interview and hiring process, get to know your candidate as the unique individual they are. Learn what motivates and impassions them, and what’s missing at their current job. Show how joining your organization can fill the void and help them realize their lifelong goals.

  • Sell the opportunity. If your candidate won’t give specifics about why they’re hedging on your job offer, they may be discreetly entertaining other options, including staying right where they are. In cases like this, you have to kick your strategy up a notch when it comes to selling the opportunity.
  • Remind them why they were interested to begin with. At some point, you should have asked the candidate why your opportunity appealed to them. Now is the time to remind them of this, and focus on how the job fits their expressed goals.
  • Talk up your company. Play up those unique aspects that make your employer value proposition strong – whether it’s your industry reputation, your family-friendly work schedule, or the way you treat your team members.
  • Publicize your people. Emphasize how great it will be to work with their new team. Invite the candidate back to meet with co-workers and managers. Tell the stories of employees’ career successes within your organization.

Make Yes Easier

These factors can define whether or not a candidate will ultimately say “yes” to your job offer:

  • Your organization’s commitments. Closing the deal is about more than just money. It’s also about demonstrating that your company is committed to the success of its employees. A personal show of commitment by senior leadership – ideally, including your CEO – sends a powerful message.
  • The job. Be sure you present a realistic picture of both the advantages and the challenges of the position. Research has shown that this results in higher offer acceptance rates, as well as better job satisfaction and lower turnover.
  • The Offer. Listen to the candidate carefully. Understand what is important to them and flex where you can.  Be firm where you must, but look for places that will help them get what they “need” and if possible “want.” Many times, it is less about base and bonus and more about long-term incentive compensation, vacation, relocation, etc.

When selling your company and the position, persuade – but don’t push. There’s a fine line between the two. Allow candidates reasonable time to respond. Be clear about when the offer will expire, but avoid giving an ultimatum.  In the end, this will go a long way toward influencing their decision.

Could you benefit from an experienced partner in recruiting – from initial candidate sourcing to closing the deal? The executive talent management team at O’Connell Group has decades of experience and a proven track record in achieving success. Contact us today to learn more.

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