How to Ensure A Candidate Accepts Your Job Offer

Candidate experience is a modern concept that encompasses the entire set of activities, feelings and experiences a candidate goes through during their job search. But which of those experiences contain the key moments that can compel a candidate to reject or accept a job offer? Those defining impact points are of high interest to any organization seeking to make an immediate impact on one of the most telling recruitment metrics: offer-acceptance rate.

On Average, Over the Past Year, What Percentage of Extended Offers Were Declined?

The main challenges in providing excellent employee experience are consistent in Brandon Hall Group research and have been noted in other Strategy Briefs and stem from the inability to look at the hiring process from the candidates’ points of view.

What Are Your Greatest Candidate Experience Challenges?

No one wants their time wasted and no one wants to feel deceived, yet those are the experiences many organizations give to their candidates because of the most common challenges in their recruitment process.

It’s reasonable to assume that organizations have plausible explanations for these problems: a large number of applicants, multiple decision-makers in the hiring process, shifting job responsibilities, etc. However, that assumes the employer point-of-view and does nothing to ease the burden of the hiring process from the candidate’s perspective, which has significant implications.

Recruiting is often looked upon as a numbers game; “If x number of applicants are in y stage of the pipeline, then we will have z number of hires.” But this is an antiquated way of looking at it. Specific candidates can mean the difference between achieving your desired business results or not, especially as the talent market becomes specialized and average tenure drops.

The consequences for not hiring the talent your organization needs goes beyond not achieving your immediate business goals. It also has ramifications for future endeavors, innovation within the company and increased agility, and also means there is a high likelihood that your biggest competitor did hire that candidate.

Determining which aspects of the candidate experience to fix first is an important question, but not the first one that should be asked. The first issues every organization should consider are:

• How can technology help create a better candidate experience — or how is it currently standing in the way?

• How are you assessing successful candidate experience now and what are the correct interventions to change those metrics?

• What improvements could be made to integrate of all aspects of the candidate experience?

• How does your internal candidate experience compare to your overall employee experience?

Brandon Hall Group research revealed the major inflection points for where candidates make stay-or- leave decisions, but beyond the specifics, there are best practices in recruiting that will serve any company, regardless of size or industry:

SOURCE YOUR SOURCES Look beyond the traditional areas candidates are found online. The talent market is competitive, so identifying new markets can reduce competition, especially for businesses that can’t compete on salary or benefits. Look for new areas where candidates can be found, whether geographically, by industry, experience levels or other websites or platforms.

MAKE THINGS EASY ON THE CANDIDATE Whether through technology or process, make sure the candidate feels they have both agency and value.

Agency is their ability to have a sense of control over the recruiting process, which means being able to get information when they need it, setting preferences for contact information and methods, and being respectful of their data.

Ensuring candidates feel valued means closing the feedback loop. If they have a comment or suggestion, make sure that it is responded to even if an immediate change can’t be made. Be timely in responses, which will go a long way toward alleviating an especially long interview process if that can’t be avoided.

MAKE SURE YOUR BRAND IS REFLECTED IN YOUR EMPLOYEE EXPERIENCE No matter how positive the employee experience is, most candidates will not get the job. They may, however, be possible future applicants or customers. Be certain the experience they had during the hiring process is both one that would make them accept the offer — because that means they are likely to apply again when they are a better fit — and speak favorably of the experience on social media and “in real life” (IRL) or use your company’s goods and/or services at a later date.


Brandon Hall Group Strategy Briefs answer the critical questions learning, talent, HR and business leaders must address to manage their human capital. To tackle these critical questions in more detail, we built tools, frameworks, research summaries and business builders based on up-to-date research and case studies for you to implement best and next Human Capital Management (HCM) practices. To gain access to these valuable resources, contact [email protected].

Leading minds in HCM choose Brandon Hall Group to help them build future-proof employee-development plans for the new era. For more than 27 years, we have empowered, recognized and certified excellence in organizations around the world, influencing the development of over 10,000,000 associates and executives.

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Mike Cooke



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Mike Cooke

Chief Executive Officer of Brandon Hall Group Mike Cooke Prior to joining Brandon Hall Group, Mike Cooke was the Chief Executive Officer and co-founder of AC Growth. Mike held leadership and executive positions for the majority of his career, at which he was responsible for steering sales and marketing teams to drive results and profitability. His background includes more than 15 years of experience in sales, marketing, management, and operations in the research, consulting, software and technology industries. Mike has extensive experience in sales, marketing and management having worked for several early high-growth emerging businesses and has implemented technology systems to support various critical sales, finance, marketing and client service functions. He is especially skilled in organizing the sales and service strategy to fully support a company’s growth strategy. The concept of growth was an absolute to Mike and a motivator in starting AC Growth, in order to help organizations achieve research driven results. Most recently, Mike was the VP and General Manager of Field Operations at Bersin & Associates, a global analyst and consulting services firm focused on all areas of enterprise learning, talent management and talent acquisition. Tasked with leading the company’s global expansion, Mike led all sales operations worldwide. During Mike’s tenure, the company has grown into a multi-national firm, conducting business in over 45 countries with over 4,500 multi-national organizations. Mike started his career at MicroVideo Learning Systems in 1992, eventually holding a senior management position and leading all corporate sales before founding Dynamic Minds. Mike was CEO and Co-Founder of Dynamic Minds, a custom developer of software programs, working with clients like Goldman Sachs, Prentice Hall, McGraw Hill and Merrill Lynch. Also, Mike worked for Oddcast, a leading provider of customer experience and marketing solutions, where he held a senior management position leading the company into new markets across various industries. Mike also serves on the Advisory Board for Carbon Solutions America, an independent sustainability consulting and carbon management firm that specializes in the design and implementation of greenhouse reduction and sustainability plans as well as managing the generation of carbon and renewal energy and energy efficiency credits. Mike attended University of Phoenix, studying Business Administration and Finance. He has also completed executive training at the Chicago Graduate School of Business in Chicago, IL.