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How to Decrease Your Renege Job Offer Rate

November 8, 2021
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Ben Siegel
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Imagine this: you're a hiring manager and searching for a new hire to fill an open full-time position or an intern. After sorting through job seekers, handling the multiple rounds in the interview process, you narrowed down to the final candidate in the hiring process.

After communicating a verbal offer and an offer in writing, the candidate accepted your offer. But, a week out from the first day, the new hire sends an email saying they have decided they will be going a different direction and no longer joining your company. not be working for the company.

What is Reneging

The definition of the word renege is, "to go back on a promise or commitment." In the job search context, reneging means, "when a person accepts a job offer (via email, phone, or signed contract) but later rejects for another opportunity."

Reneges have always been a thing that exists in the recruitment space. Traditionally, reneges occurred due to personal issues. Examples of those issues that cause reneging are a spouse moving and cannot take the job. Now in the context of The Great Resignation and a hot job market, reasons for reneging are changing.

Reasons for Reneging

We know that reneging has increased over the last 5 years. The National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE) hosted a discussion where companies discussed their reneging rates going from four to five percent, to now over eight percent. Why are these rates doubling?

1. Accepted the job offer as a backup plan

A common trend with college students is accepting an internship offer and continuing their recruitment processes with other companies. Right now, there are more opportunities than ever!

In a Scholars LinkedIn survey, we found that 56.2% of respondents said they were still open to talking to other companies after accepting an internship offer. Another 17.8% of respondents said maybe they would still be open to talking to other companies.

In internship programs and entry-level roles, candidates accept the first offer but continue their job hunt. This is not a job-hunting strategy in the first place. Because it is risky to end up on companies' blacklist and typically lose career services access at colleges.

2. Another company made a better offer

Especially right now with The Great Resignation, other companies are offering candidates better offers. This may entail a better salary, lucrative benefits, etc. If new hires have a low loyalty to the company, going with another company is a no-brainer for them.

3. Their dream company offered their dream job

In a job hunt, a candidate will throw their resume and cover letter in an application for their dream company. Frequently applying to dream companies is a great idea! However, when a new hire hears back about that dream job after already accepting your job, easily results in disinterest in your job!

4. The time between the offer and acceptance deadline was too quick

If an offer letter is given and an offer acceptance due date is too soon, it can create hasty decisions. Then, later on, the new hire will regret their decision and renege on your offer. Ensure that candidates do not feel rushed, can propose counter-offers, and feel comfortable with accepting this new job.

5. The time between the hiring date and start date was too long

When the hire date and start date end up being months and months apart, there can be minimal communication between the new hire and the company.

Most college students want to hear from an employer 4-6 times before the start date, but most students are hearing 1-3 times before the start date.

When there is a lack of communication, there can be a growing disinterest in the role. It allows for more time for other recruiters to reach out to them. The best way to prevent this is by communicating frequently and in a personal manner.

Strategies to Implement

Reneging is a stressful event, but there are ways to prevent reneging with long-term strategies with new hires.

1. Build loyalty & trust

When a new hire is familiar with the company beforehand, know their future co-workers and managers, they are less likely to renege on a job offer.

Building loyalty can be tricky when virtual, but not impossible! Introduce new hires to their team, the leaders of relevant employee resource groups, and if they are an intern, introduce them to their cohort of interns.

2. Be responsive

Be proactive and responsive to any and all questions. Have a dedicated space or time for them to ask questions as they come up. Since it can be nerve-wracking to ask the questions right away, build a place for frequently asked questions and answers.

3. Give an outline of what to expect from the offer and onboard

Every company has a different onboarding process. Give them a heads up early on about what their specific onboarding experience will be.

Provide a list of milestones and dates they are expected to complete specific tasks. Include all tasks from meeting specific people, tours of important locations, and human resource tasks. Do not leave the new hires guessing what the process will be like.

When new hires are kept aware of expectations and future plans, they are less likely to renege on an offer. They feel more involved in the process and are engaged in the experience.

4. Get the new hire excited

A new hire has a good experience accepting an offer and completing onboarding tasks when they are excited.

Most new hires get excited during the recruitment process, but it can be done during onboarding as well.

Do this by sharing...

  • More information about the team and the projects that they are working on
  • What impacts they will have on the company?
  • What does a path of growth look like?

In getting new hires excited, make sure they feel valued and it is a big deal that they are joining the company. Especially with interns, they can feel like their role is insignificant and at the bottom of the chain. Show them that they are important and necessary for the companies success.

Keeping Track of Reneging Rates

Track your renege rates to understand the patterns of reneging. Gather 3 to 5 years of data to understand the full picture of your company's renege rate. However, if there are multiple internship programs, it can be a shorter range of time.

Be aware of reneging well before it happens. Lead a proactive program by understanding how engaged each candidate is before they start on the first day. If you want to understand more about engagement metrics, speak to an expert (us!) about it.

Budget for those reneges and don't let your budget get drained by it! Always be aware so the work doesn't pile up on recruiters and hiring managers, leaving them scrambling.

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“Abode provides a solution that allows us to better connect with Gen Z talent in a way that is engaging to them. It offers a way for Elevance Health to enhance our brand and coin ourselves as an employer of choice for college students and graduates. Working with Abode is an easy and seamless experience.”
Brooke Smith
University Relations Manager, Elevance Health (fka Anthem)