Ask Barb: Offer Acceptance

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Mar 21, 2012

Dear Barb:

Since January, seven of my candidates have turned down job offers. I have never had this experience before this year and it’s so depressing. My production for the first quarter of this year is my lowest ever and I know my owner thinks this is my fault. What can I do to make my candidates accept offers?

Judy D., Madison, WI

Dear Judy:

Unfortunately you can’t force your candidates to accept job offers. The current job market is improving and often your candidates obtain more than one offer. That is why it is so important (unless you work retained search) that the minute you book an interview for a candidate, you market them to set up other interviews. The Internet has made it simple for job seekers to conduct their own job search. If you keep them busy interviewing, they don’t have much time to interview on their own.

It’s also important to understand the real reason a candidate is interviewing. Always ask the following questions:

  • What would you change about your job if you were your boss? (This uncovers the real reason they are talking to you. If it is only money and advancement – they will accept a counter-offer and turn down your offers).
  • Why have you made job changes in the past? (People are creatures of habit and often make job changes for the same reasons).
  • What must be there for you to make a job change, today? (This uncovers what is most important to them now).

Don’t have a job in mind when you interview your candidates. Conduct a general interview to see what is most important to them and then match their credentials and requirements to your current opportunities. Also re-ask questions throughout the interview process. During your initial interview, your candidate is only providing information they are comfortable providing a total stranger they don’t trust. As rapport and trust are established, answers become more thorough and accurate.

Barbara J. Bruno, CPC, CTS

Would you like to Ask Barb a question? Email her at Each month in The Fordyce Letter print edition, Barbara Bruno answers questions from individuals in the Recruiting Profession. We will bring you some of these Q&A responses from Barb each week on

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