How to ask a candidate why they declined an offer

There are various reasons as to why a candidate may reject a job offer, which happens quite often. According to feedback from our consultants, the most common reasons why job offers are rejected are the following: 

  • The offer isn't what they expected
  • There are too many stages to the interview process 
  • The location of the office can be an issue
  • They are offered another role quickly by another company 
  • They are counter-offered by another company or their current employer 
  • The salary they were offered is lower than what was previously agreed 

However in order to prevent this from being a common occurrence and missing out on top talent, understanding why they have rejected your offer can provide you with great insights as to either your recruitment process, policies or the benefits or perks you offer. More importantly, how do you gain this feedback? 

Firstly, Aaways thank the candidate for their time and interest in the position. Communicate that you are seeking feedback to improve your hiring process and appeal to candidates. For all you know, it could be no from the candidate for now, but that could always change in the future. It also helps recruiters when presenting candidates to clients. 


Ask open-ended questions 

In order to gain valuable feedback from candidates, they need to be able to express on their reasons. This will come from the open-ended questions you provide. This could be regarding the stages for the interview or the communication throughout. 

For example: 

"Were there any specific aspects of the role, company culture, compensation, or benefits that didn’t meet your expectations?" 

Listen actively and take their views of criticism on board 

Always listen to the feedback that the candidate provides. Although it may include criticism, you must remember that the purpose of this is to gather constructive criticism to identify potential mistakes and improve the recruitment or employee experience overall. 

Assure confidentiality 

Assure the candidate that their feedback will be kept confidential and won’t impact any future applications or relationships in the company. This builds trust for ex employees and also current employees they can provide feedback when necessary. 

Use the feedback to construct action 

Once the feedback has been gathered, you can now construct a plan of action to implement to your recruitment process, company policies, benefits structure or the requirements for the role. 

Remember, the goal of asking for feedback is to improve the hiring process and enhance the candidate experience, which can positively impact the company's reputation in the long run. Being receptive to feedback, even if it’s critical, demonstrates a commitment to continuous improvement and respect for candidates' perspectives.