Woman tearing up contract

What to Do If a Candidate Rejects Your Job Offer

Hiring an employee is not a simple feat. It can be a lengthy process of reviewing resumes, conducting interviews and secondary interviews, and finally, making an offer. But, what do you do if a candidate rejects your job offer? 

This is the worst-case scenario for many companies, but the employer response to job offer rejection can make or break your reputation and affect your bottom line. That’s why it’s crucial that you have a plan for dealing with job offer rejection, including understanding why job offer rejection occurs and how to respond to a declined offer. 


Person checking refuse on paper


Why Do Candidates Reject Offers? 

You can’t prevent something if you don’t understand why it’s happening in the first place. Of course, every candidate’s reasoning might be different, but common reasons for rejected offers include: 

  • Inadequate compensation 

  • Limited benefits package 

  • Lack of workplace flexibility or remote work opportunities 

  • Poor communication throughout the process 

To see why someone may have rejected your job offer, consider: 

  • Asking new hires who have accepted your job offers why they accepted. Specifically, ask which elements of your offer helped them make their decision and if there were any areas in need of improvement.   

  • Surveying new hires and applicants on what they think about your recruitment and hiring processes. Perhaps the process is too lengthy, which may lead to applicants searching for other jobs while you’re conducting interviews. 

  • Reviewing your offers and job postings regularly. This ensures that salary bands and benefits packages align with what competitors may be offering the same candidates. 


Create Your Account Today

Already Registered?
Sign in »


How to Respond to a Declined Job Offer 

If a candidate rejects your job offer, it can be disheartening and confusing. This can be exacerbated if you thought the candidate was a perfect fit or if you don’t have anyone else ready and willing to fill the role. Here are some important tips to keep in mind in your response to a rejected job offer: 

  • Be polite. You don’t want to be rude to a candidate who rejected a job offer. If you are, you risk your reputation – your employer brand – becoming tarnished as the candidate could discourage others from applying to your company. 

  • Ask if they can share why they declined your offer. Many times, compensation, benefits packages, and workplace flexibility are the main culprits behind rejected job offers. But, maybe something in your hiring process is making candidates wary of accepting a role. You won’t know if you don’t ask. Be sure to explain that you’re hoping to gain insight and improve the process overall. 

  • Consider countering their rejection. If you genuinely believe that this candidate is the best fit for your company and have the means to do so, consider countering their rejection. Try to do so in an email response to a candidate who declined a job offer, so you have everything in writing. You could offer more money or flexibility to your offer to see if they will accept it then. 

  • Tap into your pipeline. Always try to keep a backup or “runner-up” candidate warm in your talent pipeline, just in case an applicant rejects your offer. This way, you’ll have someone to extend another offer to and hopefully fill your position quickly. If this isn’t the case, you’ll need to get back to the drawing board and continue the search for a new employee. 


For more advice on ensuring your perfect new hire accepts your offer, check out these tips for improving the candidate experience.

By iHire | August 26, 2021