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Fueling the Future in Finance Through Superstar Talent

Stop doing these 7 things to avoid declined job offers

“Thanks, but I’m going to have to pass.” Wait…what? You mean this fantastic, A-caliber candidate won’t accept a lateral money and title move when 5 other suitors with comparable or better job opportunities are knocking on the door offering more?

Now it’s egg-on-face for everyone involved in the hiring process after weeks of interviews, hours of coordination and evaluation, and lost opportunities with other great candidates left hanging while the team fell in love with This. One. Candidate.

Sound painfully familiar?

Many a financial leader, talent acquisition pro, and recruiter have been left back at the drawing board when their dream candidate said NO.

You may not like what I’m about to share, but a coach of mine once told me, “All progress starts with the TRUTH.”

Those that can handle it, they adapt, build great teams, and succeed far ahead of their competition.

The fact is, no one can control the state of this candidate-short market, when it might shift, if it will at all in the future. The only thing we can control is HOW we hire people.

There are ways to minimize offer declines, but I see employers making BIG mistakes.

Missteps that hurt careers, personal lives, team morale, and company performance.

Here are some of the things to STOP doing.

STOP using old salary data! Stop basing salary ranges on old ideas or what you think someone in this role should want or deserve. Get a realistic picture of what the market is offering to the types of candidates you want to hire RIGHT NOW, in terms of salary, bonus, equity, benefits, culture, and work environment.

STOP focusing only on pie-in-the-sky, dream candidates you have a slim chance of closing. I’m talking about the ones who are aces in YOUR hole, but you for them…not so much. This isn’t a ding on your company, leadership, or opportunity. It doesn’t mean you aren’t targeting an A-player. It’s merely a truth that the value proposition won’t be there for some candidates. For example, if they have several opportunities to jump to the next level, and your role happens to be a lateral move. Sure, stretch and give it a shot, but play the field with people where the value proposition is a match on both sides.

STOP throwing all your eggs in one basket. You know what I’m talking about. Giving all your attention to that ONE candidate while you leave all the other great possibilities hanging and wondering why you haven’t called or emailed 2 to 3 weeks after their phone interview. Keep them engaged and moving forward so they are keeping pace with the process, and you aren’t back at square one when that ONE candidate doesn’t play to your favor.

STOP playing cloak and dagger about compensation. If you follow point #1, you should have a clear budget for the role that is in line with the market. Get clear on the candidate’s total comp requirement, test it often, and importantly, BELIEVE THEM. Yes, candidates can inflate expectations, but if you know the market, you can sniff out unreasonable demands. If their bottom line is $165,000, don’t assume you can get an acceptance at $155,000. Discuss early how to meet in the middle or move on.

STOP covering the benefits package at the end of the process. Deal breakers abound in vacation policies, medical benefits costs, and 401K matches. Provide this information early and make a point to verify alignment of expectations.

STOP leaving candidates with unanswered questions. Too many can’t get clear info on team dynamics, upcoming system implementations, detailed performance expectations, how bonuses are determined…the list could go on. People hate uncertainty. Leave enough unanswered and they may play it safe and walk away. Consider hosting a call with the hiring manager designed purely to answer candidate questions before making an offer.

From experience, are there any you would add to this list?

P.S. I’ve got one more; if you’re working with a search partner, STOP cutting them out of the loop. LEVERAGE their expertise and candidate relationship to avoid these blunders.

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