Rejection Is a Challenge You Can Overcome When You Understand Why

As a talent acquisition professional, you’re probably used to rejecting candidates, but in this tight labor market, are you the one who’s now being rejected?


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Record-low unemployment means jobseekers are calling the shots, and if your company doesn’t have what it takes to woo candidates, you’ll be the one getting a rejection letter, not the other way around.

New data released from BlueCrew—an on-demand staffing platform—rank the top five reasons hourly job offers get rejected by jobseekers. According to the data, pay is not the number one reason hourly workers accept or reject jobs.

“The access to flexibility with the gig model has shifted the paradigm for hourly workers and employers across all kinds of industries—including manufacturing, hospitality, and retail,” says Adam Roston, CEO of BlueCrew, in a press release. “In this incredibly tight labor market, businesses have to compete for hourly workers who have more options for flexible work than ever before. Our data shows that when actually deciding whether or not to take a job, workers value location, control, and flexibility above all else, which we believe reflects a broader trend of work fitting around their schedule instead of their schedule fitting around work.”

BlueCrew’s data show that over a third of hourly jobs offered on its platform (38%) are rejected due to employer location, and only 10% of jobs are rejected due to pay. BlueCrew analyzed more than 10,000 job offers that were not accepted on the company’s platform. Using the findings, BlueCrew determined the top five reasons jobs get rejected:

#1: Location

Despite the popular belief that pay matters most, hourly workers actually lean toward accepting lower-paying jobs if the commute is shorter or closer to public transportation. According to BlueCrew’s 2019 data, 38% of jobs are rejected due to employer location.

If your company is constantly being rejected because of its location, offer candidates relocation benefits or travel stipends, and make sure you prominently display this information in the job description and on your company’s career website. When jobseekers are aware that you’re willing to accommodate their location, they may be less likely to decline your offer.

#2: Schedule

Schedule came in a close second, with a quarter (26%) of workers rejecting an offer of work because of the hours. BlueCrew’s survey revealed that flexibility has become an important factor when deciding whether to accept or reject a job.

Thanks to the rise of gig platforms and the growing ability to access hourly work on demand, hourly workers across traditional job categories (including manufacturing, hospitality, and retail) at established businesses—not just gig workers—are expecting to choose when and how much they work to accommodate their busy schedules.

If you want to win over top talent, make sure to highlight the flexible arrangements your company is willing to offer. Work/life balance is an important perk for all workers, so be sure to include these arrangements on your career’s page when showcasing your company culture.

#3: Job Type (Workers Can Afford to Be Picky!)

Workers are quick to reject jobs that they might not like. In a record-tight job market and flex-oriented economy, workers can afford to be selective and choose the job function they want, as well as when and where they desire. Nearly one in four (24%) jobs was rejected due to job type.

Unfortunately, you can’t do anything about the job type you’re hiring for, but you can be open and honest in the job description. By detailing all the major (and sometimes minor) functions of the role within the job description, candidates will know exactly what it is they’re signing up for before turning down your offer.

#4: Pay Rate

Only 10% of workers actually rejected jobs due to wage. BlueCrew’s data revealed that pay rate is actually much more impactful on retention than job acceptance. A small difference in pay can keep the best employees at the same company for substantially longer.

“Wages will, of course, always matter, but we see this more so when it comes to retaining workers—not hiring them,” says Roston. “For example, in the industrial sector where companies are struggling more than ever with hiring and retention, a worker can be easily lured by another employer with only moderately higher pay if they’re based in the same general vicinity. Many times, we’ve seen employees walk across the parking lot for a small raise.”

If you’re discovering that pay is a major deal-breaker for candidates, negotiate other benefits to entice them to accept the offer. Is the candidate worried that he or she can’t afford to pay for child care with the rate you’re paying? If so, offer the candidate some form of childcare support; whether it’s a stipend or fully paid, this will demonstrate that your company offers other benefits besides one flat pay rate.

Additionally, be up front about promotions and performance increases. If you offer a 6-month pay increase after the probationary period, tell that to the candidate during the interview so he or she may be less inclined to decline the offer.

#5: The Company Counts … Rarely

According to the research, only 2% of jobseekers pointed to the company itself as a reason they rejected jobs. As you know, company culture has become increasingly important to workers across every industry. One way to confirm whether your company has a great culture is by reading the reviews on websites like Glassdoor.

Bad reviews are an immediate sign that the offer will be rejected. Work with your current staff to find out what needs improvement, and rectify these issues as soon as possible. Not only will candidates start accepting offers, but you’ll also retain your current workforce longer.

Avoid rejection today by focusing on the candidate experience! To succeed at recruiting, it’s important to pay close attention to how candidates perceive your organization and what their experience is throughout the process. Learn the latest—and greatest—ways to create a candidate attraction strategy that’s engaging, easy to use, and stands out to candidates, when you join Kristy Nittskoff for the RecruitCon session: Getting Candidate Experience Right: Find and Fix Mistakes That Could Be Sabotaging Your Recruiting Efforts. RecruitCon will take place during the larger HR World Conference in Nashville, Tennessee on November 14-15, 2019. Click here to learn more, or to register today!

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