If you’re in HR or a recruiter, you’ve had offers declined. What I find absolutely enchanting about such a miserable outcome is the underlying qualities that sneak out during this downhill process. AND, what if the candidate who declined is really the best candidate for the job?!?
Sometimes the most impressive candidates can suddenly get nasty during offer negotiation. They can become arrogant and demanding in their communications, suddenly ask for $20K more than they’d originally requested, or require outrageous benefits. They can drag out their decision for weeks, leaving the company wondering why they’d made the offer in the first place. Hiring managers can be difficult too. It can often become an ugly game of expecting the other person to step a little past the middle, a little bit of an unequal compromise to keep the upper hand.
In those instances, it's easy to say goodbye to a candidate and never look back. But what if a candidate handles the offer and negotiation tactfully and in the end rejects the final offer? Many reasons for declining a job offer have nothing to do with the company or a candidate’s interest in working there. Things like:
Any of these could result in a declined offer by a highly qualified candidate, just due to bad timing or temporary budget restrictions. As the search continues and you re-evaluate the pool of top candidates, do you ever go back and reconsider that earlier candidate if their original reason for declining is no longer an issue? How do candidates feel about receiving a second offer from a company?
It’s sometimes a matter of pride on both sides of the table. If there was a strong enough match between the job opportunity and that ideal candidate to make the original offer, doesn’t that initial match still exist a little while later? I had an HR manager tell me he’d ask his hiring manager, “Other than your pride, why are we not reconsidering this person?” That’s ballsy HR gold. The kind of relationship every HR Manager and Recruiter should aspire to have with hiring managers they support in their organization. Even if it’s not about pride, being able to clarify that is priceless.
Would you go back and make a second offer to a candidate, after the first offer had been declined? Why or why not? As a candidate, what would you think?