Why Do Candidates Turn Down Job Offers?

Why Do Candidates Turn Down Job Offers?

Recruitment is often a complex and multifaceted process and whilst identifying and engaging great talent is challenging, one of the most frustrating aspects for employers is when a seemingly perfect candidate turns down a job offer – particularly after considerable time and effort for both the candidate and the company.

In executive search, this is something we look to mitigate as much as possible throughout the process by ensuring we are clear and transparent on the role, the culture, the limitations of the package, the immediate challenges and the opportunity. However, this isn’t an exact science and in the wider mass-hiring market this is a common issue facing recruiters and employers alike.

To understand this better, we compiled some research looking across the general population (varying roles, industries and salary levels) to understand how significant ‘turn downs’ are and the reasons behind those decisions – and what we can do about it!

Key Statistics

Around 20% of all jobs which are offered are turned down by candidates globally.

Our research revealed that salary and benefits are a major factor, with nearly 29% rejecting offers due to an underwhelming package.

However, other reasons like a better offer elsewhere (21.2%), relocation issues (19.7%), or even a negative candidate experience during the hiring process (up to 52%) can also lead to rejections.

Primary Reasons for Declining Job Offers

From our findings, three primary reasons emerged as to why candidates turn down job offers:

  1. Negative Interview Experience
    • Some candidates reported that their interviewers sometimes appeared unprepared or uninterested, which reflected poorly on the organisation.
    • Some candidates felt that the job role was not clearly explained before the interview and that when attending the interview those expectations were different.
    • Several candidates noted they did not feel a personal connection with their interviewers, which made them doubt their potential fit within the company.
  2. Inadequate Compensation:
    • Some candidates attended an interview without clarity on the remuneration package, which did not meet their expectations once clear. This is a widespread issue with employers who choose to use the ‘competitive salary’ approach over a transparent salary.
    • Beyond salary, some candidates reported that their decision to decline seemed from the overall benefits package, primarily lack of sufficient health insurance or pension plans.
  3. Company Culture:
    • Some candidates relied upon further research into the perception of a company’s culture, often gleaned from online reviews in their final decision to not proceed. Negative reviews or a reputation for poor work-life balance can be deterrents.
    • Candidates increasingly prioritise finding a company culture that aligns with their personal values and working style. Several candidates reported that the interview demonstrated a different culture to their expectations.

How To Reduce Turn Down Rates

1. Negative Interview Experience

  • Interviewers need to be well-prepared and professional. Candidates often judge the company based on their interaction with the interviewers. A well-structured interview process reflects positively on the organisation, making candidates feel valued and respected.
  • Clear communication about the role, salary, expectations, and company policies can alleviate many concerns candidates might have. Transparency during the interview process builds trust and sets a positive tone for the candidate’s potential future with the company.
  • Building a personal rapport with candidates can significantly enhance their perception of the company. Interviewers who take the time to connect on a personal level and demonstrate genuine interest in the candidate’s background and aspirations can create a more welcoming and attractive environment.

2. Inadequate Compensation and Better Offers Elsewhere

  • Offering a competitive and transparent salary is fundamental in attracting and retaining talent.
  • A robust benefits package should be considered and made clear to candidates from the outset. Benefits such as health insurance, retirement plans, and additional perks such as flexible working hours or remote work options can make a significant difference to candidates based on their circumstances.

3. Company Culture

  • Maintaining a positive company reputation is crucial. Companies should monitor online reviews and social media feedback to address any negative perceptions promptly. Proactive reputation management can prevent potential candidates from being deterred by negative comments (often candidates increase their level of research as their interest through the process increases – so this may be something which only surfaces toward the latter stages of a recruitment process).
  • Communicating the company culture during the recruitment process helps candidates determine if they will fit in. Sharing stories, values, and employee testimonials can give candidates a realistic view of what working at the company would be like. This is an increasingly important area and so you should consider some specialist culture development support to understand the current state and what is possible.
  • Building an inclusive and engaging work environment where employees feel valued and supported can enhance the company’s appeal. Initiatives such as diversity and inclusion programs, team-building activities, and professional development opportunities can significantly improve company culture.

Practical Steps for Employers

To mitigate the risk of candidates turning down job offers, employers can implement various strategies, such as the following areas for consideration:

  1. Ensure that interviews are structured, professional, and engaging. Provide training for interviewers to improve their skills in conducting interviews effectively and making a positive impression on candidates.
  2. Regularly review and adjust compensation packages to ensure they are competitive within the industry. Consider the total benefits package, including non-monetary perks, to make the offer more attractive.
  3. Invest in building and maintaining a positive work culture. Promote this culture during the recruitment process to attract candidates who are a good cultural fit.
  4. Be clear and transparent about the job role, expectations, and company policies throughout the recruitment process. This helps build trust and sets a positive tone for the candidate’s potential future with the company.
  5. Use testimonials and success stories from current employees to showcase the company’s strengths. Authentic and positive employee experiences can significantly influence a candidate’s decision.
  6. Conduct surveys and gather feedback from candidates who turn down offers to understand their reasons. Use this information to continuously improve the recruitment process and address any recurring issues.


Understanding why candidates turn down job offers is crucial for employers looking to refine their recruitment strategies. Proactive measures such as enhancing communication, promoting company culture, and regularly reviewing compensation packages can make a significant difference in attracting and retaining the best candidates.

CJPI Insights
CJPI Insights
CJPI Insights Editor

This post has been published by the CJPI Insights Editorial Team, compiling the best insights and research from our experts.

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