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When it comes to hiring talent, some employers have all the luck. Or, do they? Recent data reveals how some hiring decisions can affect the number of quality candidates you recruit.

If you’re struggling to find the right candidates, you might need to change your hiring process. Find out why candidates turn down your job offers to see how you could improve.

Why candidates are rejecting job offers

A recent report reveals information about why candidates are turning down job offers. Recruitment software company Top Echelon surveyed its customer base of over 5,000 recruiters to find the recruiting industry trends behind these rejections.

The three most common reasons candidates gave for turning down job offers include:

  • The salary was too low for the position (29.7%)
  • Other offers were better (24.5% )
  • Hiring managers took too long to make an offer (24.2%)

The following sections address the reasons for job offer rejections. Each provides tips on improving hiring processes and securing talent.

1. The salary is too low for the position

Though the top reasons for rejected job offers are close, one stands out above the rest. Of the surveyed recruiters, 29.7% said candidates turn down offers because the salary is too low. Candidates don’t want to work for less than what they are worth.

More than ever, job seekers have resources that offer wage and compensation data. Candidates can compare your offer to average salaries, factoring in their location, experience, and education.

Candidates are not in the dark about how much they should be paid. As a hiring authority, you need to be aware of industry salary standards and pay accordingly.

The report also shows a disconnect between candidates and hiring managers. Some hiring authorities believe applicants are asking for too much. The top employer complaint identified in Top Echelon’s report is that candidates have unrealistic salary expectations (17.9%).

Are there candidates with unrealistic expectations? Sure. But, it’s the hiring manager’s responsibility to compensate according to the value the candidate offers. If you want top talent, you need to be ready to pay a competitive salary.

Skilled candidates become the employees who make a difference at your business. Hire a top salesperson, your sales will increase. Hire an experienced laborer, the job gets completed faster, and it’s done right the first time. Employees who excel at their work help create profitable businesses.

The return on investing in top talent is often worth the extra payroll expense. Before approaching a candidate with an offer, research how much you should pay them. Look at online resources such as the Bureau of Labor Statistics and find out what similar businesses in your area pay.

2. Other offers are better

The Top Echelon report reflects a candidates’ market. Many employers are looking for skilled workers, but there are not enough candidates. And, job seekers in some industries often receive multiple offers in a candidate-driven market.

Candidates turn down job offers because they receive a better one elsewhere (24.5%). In this situation, hiring managers need to work hard to secure talent. Does your business appeal to the candidates you want to attract?

Candidates want to take the best offer they can get. Your overall compensation package needs to meet the expectations of the level of talent you’re looking for. That means not only offering a competitive salary, but also providing attractive benefits. Health insurance, retirement plan options, and paid time off are all perks you can offer to secure quality candidates.

A large part of convincing a candidate to accept a job offer is your company culture. The way you and your employees interact has a big role in recruiting.

Think about the beliefs and behaviors seen at your company, and consider the following factors:

Employee initiative

Do you welcome new ideas and allow employees to take risks? Or, is your business by-the-book? Tell candidates whether the job calls for innovation or more structure.

Work schedule

How much control do employees have over their schedules? Let candidates know if you offer flexible hours or allow employees to work from home.

Employee engagement

Tell candidates about how current employees interact with each other. How often do you encourage teamwork at your business? You might host events and holiday parties for your employees.

Training and onboarding

How rigorous is your onboarding program? Some positions require more training and supervision than others. Before a candidate accepts an offer, walk them through the steps they will take once hired. Also, go over opportunities for growth within your company.

Values and mission

The purpose of your business should be present when recruiting candidates. Applicants want to know what your company stands for and if their own values match. Show how your brand is reflected in the company culture.

Company culture makes your offer more attractive because candidates want to work for a business that has similar beliefs, ethics, and attitudes. When a candidate connects with a business, they are more likely to accept that offer over another.

3. Hiring Managers take too long to make Offers

The final reason candidates turn down jobs is that employers are taking too long to make offers (24.2%). Long wait times leave candidates frustrated and cause them to find work elsewhere.

Hiring a new employee is a big investment, so you should carefully screen and select candidates. But, don’t be afraid to make the call when you find the right candidate.

Hesitating to hire skilled candidates doesn’t sit well with job seekers. Candidates met with radio silence feel they’re being strung along and undervalued. If you drag your feet during recruitment, you’re more likely to lose talent.

Keep the lines of communication open throughout the hiring process. Promptly contact candidates for interviews, follow-ups, and offers. Answer questions and inquiries about open positions. If you’ve decided not to hire a candidate, let them know.


The Top Echelon State of the Industry Report revealed three common reasons candidates turn down job offers. The responses included the salary being too low for the position, receiving better offers from other companies, and the hiring managers taking too long to make an offer.

As a hiring manager, you need to adjust your strategy in order to appeal to candidates. Offer a competitive salary, provide an excellent company culture, and be timely when communicating with candidates. A favorable candidate experience in recruitment often leads to acquiring top talent.

Written By
Amanda Cameron is a content writer at Patriot Software Company, the parent company of Top Echelon, LLC and Patriot Software, LLC. Top Echelon started solely as a split placement network, but has expanded over the years to offer recruiting software for applicant tracking, contract staffing services, and recruitment web design. At Patriot, she explains difficult recruiting, accounting, and payroll topics for small business.

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