What’s there in a job?


Organisations today are grappling with job offer rejections which severely impact business. What are the factors responsible for candidates to turn down seemingly attractive jobs?

Animesh Nair was super excited. He had just received a call from a top engineering company. After having interned with one of the best construction companies, the 25-year-old civil engineer was looking forward to a new job and an exciting start to his career. Although he had bagged the job, the compensatory package was far below his expectations. Disappointed, Paul did not know what to do. It was a globally reputed company alright, but surely he deserved a better package?

After much consideration, Paul turned down the offer and accepted an appointment with a smaller company, but which offered him a better pay package.

Forty four year old Hrishikesh Mohanty, on the other hand, took his last career plunge and chose a big company with a marginal pay hike, over the job of a CEO, with a multinational organisation. The reason was family. His earlier job and other offers required him to go on tours frequently. With his children in high school and old parents, Mohanty wanted to be with his family as much as possible. He, therefore, turned down plum offers and chose a job which allowed him more family time.

Sandeep Krishnan

The instances of Nair and Mohanty are not isolated cases. Professionals today do not hesitate to reject attractive offers. The reasons are as varied as the brand of the organisation to family issues. According to a research done by People Business, a global HR and leadership consulting firm, while some reasons are common across the various levels of management, with changing priorities in a professional’s life, certain issues take priority. The research was spread across more than 2000 offer rejects across 10 organizations from various sectors. 

For instance, at the junior level, the reasons of job offer rejections range from compensation and benefits to quality of interview and role clarity. While the lack of adequate compensation and benefits constitutes 48 per cent of job rejections, the brand of the organisation constitutes 42 per cent. This is followed by the lack of proper touch point post offer, quality of interview and role clarity and alternate opportunities at 33 per cent, 30 per cent and 28 per cent, respectively.

At the junior level, most Indian candidates expect a quantum jump rather than a percentage hike and anticipate negotiations in salary.

While a single offer reject at the junior level can not only set back a company by Rs 50,000, it can also hamper production, customer service, business growth and sales. At the middle levels, employees, who are either managers or senior managers, and one level below the functional heads, expect a standard hike, joining bonus, and hygiene aspects such as relocation and family, and benefits beyond CTC. According to the research, the reasons for middle-level employees rejecting job offers range from brand of the organisation, long stint, role clarity, relocation and family, with quality of interviews and compensation topping the list with 40 per cent of the rejects.

Rejections at this level have serious repercussions. They can lead to team management issues, senior management getting involved in more operational issues, and also delays in implementing many critical business programmes. Moreover, the company, in its bid to hire the right person can incur a cost of up to Rs 1,20,000.

The research states that job offer rejections at the senior level can cost a company up to Rs 2,00,000 with an indirect business impact of 10 times the direct costs, per month! At senior levels, job offer rejects can severely hamper the setting up or sustenance of business. The reasons why employees at that level reject offers are mostly due to the lack of the right compensatory package (44 per cent), brand of the organisation (40 per cent), role scope and clarity (35 per cent), relocation of family (30 per cent) and quality of interviews (28 per cent). Employees at this level, look at benefits beyond CTC and also the scope for benefits linked to organisational growth.

In an employee-driven corporate world, organisations are wisening up and have realised that it makes sense to invest in the recruitment process and branding. To find the right candidates and convince them to join can bring rich dividends to the organisation.

Employees want clarity in terms of the value proposition of joining an organisation. What is there in it for them? Why should they accept the offer? Will it enhance their careers? How can they contribute towards organisational growth?

These are the questions recruitment partners need to answer while making offers. There is a need to make the organisation look attractive. They have to spread out all their cards before the prospective employees. The potential worker must want to join the organisation not just for the monetary benefits.

According to Sandeep K Krishnan, director and practice leader, employer branding, at People Business, “Training and capability development of hiring managers is important. Recruitment partners would also like to make the organisations attractive by selling beyond compensation and benefits. The deficiency of hygiene factors, like lack of proper coordination, timely response to candidates, and touch points post offer and joining can drive a lot of offer rejections.”

Organisations should be as wary as the prospective employee when it comes to recruitment. It is important to make the job so attractive that the candidate just cannot refuse.


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Prajjal Saha is the editor and publisher of HRKatha, which he founded in 2015. With nearly 25 years of experience in business journalism, writing, and editing, he is a true industry veteran who possesses a deep understanding of all facets of business, from marketing and distribution to technology and human resources. Along with his work at HRKatha, he is also the author of the Marketing White Book. Thanks to his extensive experience and expertise, he has become a trusted source of insight and analysis for professionals across a wide range of industries.