9 reasons why I declined the job offer

  • Post published:05/04/2023
  • Reading time:8 mins read

I declinedThe candidate decided to decline an attractive job offer from one of the big guns in the industry. The candidate told me the story.

It all started when he one day received a call from a Talent Acquisition officer of the company (name withheld).

Recruiters, HR professionals and hiring managers. You will get lots of learning points in this unbelievable real-life story, why a candidate declined a job offer from a famous brand name in the industry.

So on to the story. Many months later after that first call, he was offered the job – but to the company’s surprise, he declined.

The 9 reasons why the candidate declined

  • The candidate also courageously shared his reasons with the HR Director, who called to ask him why.
  • I had 6 rounds of interviews. One with Global HR far far away from Thailand, who even admitted she had never been to Asia and didn’t really understand the culture that seemed so different from her own.
  • I was grilled with questions, but nobody took the time to explain what the job was like. They did not even ask if I had any questions.
  • Lots of their questions did not make sense – like why I am leaving my employer. Actually, I was not thinking of leaving; their HR recruiter approached me and convinced me to come for an interview.
  • Where do I see myself in five years? LOL, they could not even tell me where they see their own company in 6 months.
  • The hiring process was too long, too disorganized. The offer took way too long.
  • The people interviewing me did not compare notes. I knew because during the six rounds of interviews, they were asking the same questions.
  • The interviews should not feel like an interrogation.
  • The people interviewing me also looked tired and stressed. As they were in a hurry.
  • If you want to hire talent, fix your basics. Treat candidates as people, not as applicants.

Are you surprised? Ever had this experience as a candidate? Perhaps you recognize this experience and these recruitment steps from your own company?

I mean, where does one start to explain the do’s and don’ts in best practice recruitment after reading this scary real-life story?

Let me be very blunt about this. Embarrassing, unacceptable, and amateurish. There is no way you will impress senior executives with that kind of recruitment process. Period.

Too many hiring companies still think that the supply of people (applicants or candidates) is bottomless and that they can take forever to make their decision.

It’s hilarious to watch the arrogance displayed by some hiring companies when they call in a candidate five times to interview. Mind you, five times as in five different days. Thai candidates with ten annual leave days have just used 50% of their yearly vacation entitlement to take time off for the interviews.

If you are totally flabbergasted like me, ashamed and angry on the candidate’s behalf, wondering why the top management has not provided proper and professional recruitment processes, let’s look at how world-class hiring companies manage this.

Designing an effective interview process

Women writingThe key word is process. There is no difference in hiring people through a process than it is working with processes in accounting, finance, procurement, quality assurance, and production. Hiring with an effective interviewing process follows these four steps:

  1. Prior to the interview make sure you understand the key elements of the job.
  2. Identify the knowledge, attributes, and skills the candidate needs for success.
  3. Identify the people skills a person brings to the job. This is by far the hardest trait to determine, but by understanding the applicant’s personality and motivation, you are guaranteed to improve your hiring process.
  4. Follow a structured process. This does not mean the entire process is inflexible without spontaneity but that each candidate is asked the same behavioural-based questions.

By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail

InterviewingThese famous words are credited to Benjamin Franklin, mentioned as a Founding Father of the United States. In a recruitment context, it means that if you don’t take the time to understand what the hiring manager really wants, then you are setting yourself up for failure.

As an HR professional or third-party recruiter, you must insist to get an hour with the hiring manager. Having a job profile is fine but far from sufficient to prepare a recruitment plan.

Here are just a few examples of questions you should ask:

  • What specific equipment or technology (software) is essential to know in this job?
  • What are the 2-3 major challenges to be faced by the candidate in this position?
  • Define 6-8 deliverables i.e. steps required for on-the-job success. In other words, what must the person in this job need to do to be considered extremely successful in this job? 
  • What are the key performance indicators for his job?
  • What needs to be addressed and looked into in the first 100 days?

If you’re interviewing someone by asking them hypothetical questions, also called situational or scenario questions, you don’t get the truth, you get speculation.

This means that to get a good, accurate picture of their capabilities, don’t ask interview questions along the lines of “what would you do in X situation?” or “if X happened, how would you react?”.

Questions should be reality-based, something similar to “tell me about a time you had to…” or “when this happened in your previous position, what did you do?”

Try to understand what people have accomplished in their careers rather than spending the whole interview just talking about yourself and how great your company is.

Tom Sorensen

Tom Sorensen is an executive search veteran with over 25 years of experience recruiting in Asia, Europe, and Africa. He has worked in executive search in Thailand since 2003 and is recognized as one of the country’s top recruiters and most profiled headhunters.