What To Do When Your Top Candidate Rejects Your Initial Offer

Since you realized you had a position to fill, you’ve taken every step to make sure you’ll find the right candidate for the job. You perfected the job title and description and shared it in all the relevant places. After receiving submissions, you carefully reviewed your options and took the time to interview all the qualified options, even bringing some back for a second interview. Finally, after several conversations, you know who you want and you’re excited. The offer is extended and, to your disappointment, rejected.

When this happens, there are a number of emotions that will go through your head. Obviously, disappointment comes first, because this is the person you wanted. Perhaps you’ll feel rejected because he or she didn’t want the job after all. Emotions like anger might set in because you’re a human, but you can’t take it personally.

Responding to a rejection

The first step, after processing the rejection, is to reply. Waiting too long may cause you to look unprofessional or even childish. Take a moment to collect yourself and carefully craft your response. It’s acceptable to express your disappointment. You chose this person, so it shouldn’t be unexpected that you would feel this way.

See if there’s anything you can do

Include in your response a note about anything that can be done on your end to change their mind. You don’t want to push, but you maybe it’s just an easily negotiable issue of salary or benefits. If this your absolute top and no one else will do, be specific in your additional offer and listen to them to see why they decided against your position. At this stage, you don’t have to give up, but you must tread carefully so you don’t come off as if you’re trying to guilt trip the candidate for saying no or making them feel foolish for their decision.

Wish them well

Always end your response wishing them well. This is important to keep the tone friendly and maintain a positive attitude toward them. Failure to include this could make you look like a sore loser which only hurts your credibility.

Save time with LaJoy

At LaJoy Group, we know how long the hiring process can take. We’re here to find you the right people and deliver the services to help you reach your goals and expectations.


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