A business contact (let’s call him Matt) recently shared a recruitment experience with us that speaks volumes about the chasm that sometimes exists between candidates and employers. Matt received a call from a Head of HR after turning down a job offer. The call went like this:

HR: I’m calling as we are surprised you turned down our job offer.

Matt: Thanks you for the offer but I felt I couldn’t accept.

HR: But the job paid £10,000pa more than you currently earn, did you get a counter offer to stay where you are?

Matt: No I didn’t, I’m staying with the company at the same salary. It’s not about money, as I explained during my interviews.

HR: Then I don’t understand. After we invested in a written assessment, two telephone interviews, two face to face interviews and call with the CEO, I would have thought an offer of a position paying £10,000 more was an easy decision.

Matt: As I’ve said a few times, it’s not about the money.

HR: I don’t understand.

Matt: The recruitment process you invested in took over six weeks. One of the telephone interviews was put back twice and when I turned up on time for the second interview I was kept waiting for over 30 minutes. I was told to expect to find out about an offer within 5 days but heard nothing for another two weeks when I got the call to speak with your CEO. The job offer came another week later.

Apparently the head of HR went on to explain that the CEO was very busy and they had to take time to be ‘sure’ Matt was the right person. From Matt’s point of view the head of HR was just digging bigger holes.

Some employers still fail to understand that candidates have choices and that the way they are treated throughout the recruitment process says lots about what a company might be like to work for. Lack of respect, a drawn out time consuming process and slow decision making are cited over and over again as reasons why a good candidate turns down a job offer.

It seems that often it’s the employer who is hung up about pay, when the potential employee is looking at the whole employment package.

Tricia Hay and David Tovey