5 Reasons Your Candidates Decline After Interview

October 24, 2018
by Melissa Porter
Woman in interview, being interviewed by three people

It’s no secret that there is a nationwide skills shortage across all industries, which is leading to many employers improving the benefits and incentive packages to attract and secure top talent.

So why is it that your candidate has declined your offer, even after being presented with an excellent opportunity?

The answer could well lie within your own interview process.

If you’ve had candidate decline after an interview, here are 5 reasons why things could have gone wrong.

It was an interrogation, not an interview

Interviews are conversations, and a two-way process in which the applicants learn about the role and the business, and vice-versa. So if your interviews are made up solely of competency questions, how is your candidate expected learn about the role, and all the other important aspects such as environment, team fit, and the business itself?

For the best results, ask open questions, listen to your candidate, get to know them, respond to their answers, converse and engage with them, and most importantly, give them a chance to ask questions of their own.

First impressions were bad

Psychologists have reported that it only takes a tenth of a second for someone to have a first impression, which is why it’s just as important for employers to make an effort during the interview as it is for the candidate.

If you expect your candidates to turn up on time, smartly dressed, and having researched your company, you better make sure you do the same, as these points are among the most popular for candidates receiving a negative first impression.

You didn’t sell the role

You might have explained to the candidate what they’ll be doing on a daily basis, you know they can do the job given the experience on their CV, but did you sell the role?

Simply reeling off a long list of skills is not selling the role. There’s so much more to a job than the black and white skills on the job description, all of which are important factors when it comes to making a new career move.

So if you didn’t sell the role, you can bet your candidate isn’t sold on the opportunity.

You had no passion for the business

During an interview, hiring managers are always looking for their applicants to sell themselves and demonstrate why they are suitable, which is why it is equally important for you to be passionate about the business.

If you can’t be excited about your own company, why should candidates be excited to work for you?

You asked irrelevant questions

No matter how “quirky” you think those curveball questions may be, these can be an instant turn-off for many candidates.

Not only can these questions be irrelevant to interviews regardless of your reasoning behind them, beware that some questions could be perceived as invasive or even a basis for discrimination.

Unless you’d be happy being asked these questions yourself, stick to talking about the role.


So the next time you have a candidate withdraw their application after interviews, try to obtain interview feedback from your candidates following their interview and listen to them if they say they had a bad experience.

Candidate experience is king and, if there are flaws early on in the process, finding the perfect candidate for the role will rely on much more than just an attractive benefits package.

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