Why people say no to your job offers

Sometimes we all forget the basics. We kid ourselves that people choose their next role based on logic: the best job, the best money, the best opportunity, the best cultural match.

People don’t choose logically. We are rarely governed by logic whatever our buying decision – we had another example last week of the problems caused by this lack of understanding of the decision- making process.

The result on this occasion is that a candidate has taken a job that’s wrong for them (it really is, that’s not just sour grapes!) and turned down something that’s close to perfect, an almost lifelong dream job. That also means that a client has missed out on someone they want to hire.

Why did it happen? Because Company B (who got their man) remembered that recruitment is largely a process of seduction. Make a person feel important, show them how keen you are on them and they feel flattered, they feel wanted and they feel that they want to work for you. Company A wanted him too but didn’t show that enough.

Recruitment is not ONLY about seduction of course but once you’ve found someone that you like, then it does become about their seduction. They will have choices (even if they don’t tell you that) and you’re best served by giving them lots of reasons to say “YES!”

So, how do you seduce people into saying yes to your job offer?

  1. Be quick – speed matters because it shows you’re interested (and also reduces the risk of them being seduced by someone else!) We flatter people with quick responses and processes (first to second interview etc) and, conversely, offend people with slow ones. “Will you marry me?” is the most obvious example of a question that, by its very nature, requires a pretty quick ‘yes’. An answer of “I have some other options that I’d like to consider. Could I get back to you by the end of the month?” is unlikely to keep the question on the table for long!
  2. Make time – one of the reasons Company B won in the battle of the jobs last week was that the candidate was not only interviewed by the hiring manager and HR but also by the MD who gave 30 minutes of her time to meet him. This was at the first interview. He quoted that level of commitment as one of the reasons he chose Company B. He was flattered she took the time out of her busy day.
  3. Do what you promise – yes, I know, you’re thinking that it’s candidate reliability that causes the problem but that’s not always the case. Clients are guilty of being unreliable too and that is no way to seduce anyone. An example is a first phone interview. We had a candidate recently that took half a day’s holiday to be prepared for a phone interview at 10am. The client failed to call them at 10am. Or, in fact, to call them at all. By the time the client called to apologise and re-schedule, the candidate was unwilling to be interviewed. She was upset to have taken time off work and energy preparing only to be jilted at the phone. Again, her decision wasn’t logical but emotional. The job was still one she liked but she’d been so offended at a lack of respect for her time.
  4. Stop fluffing – “Thank you for your time. We’re seeing lots of others. We’ll come back to you if we’d like to take the next step.” A fine wrap-up for someone you don’t want to hire but a passion-killer for someone that has given all the signs that they’re a great match for you. Tell them! Fluffy, diplomatic language at this stage doesn’t wash. A seducer will whisk them away from you tomorrow.

The attraction of sales talent is one of the biggest challenges in business. Once you find people you want, it’s your job to entice, to seduce, to help them make what will feel like the easiest decision imaginable. Playing hard to get at this stage is not the best policy.