Rejected, Typewriter

Why Candidates Turn Down Great Offers


Hiring tech talent remains challenging as we move into the second half of the year. Despite the endless news about layoffs and hiring freezes, engineering candidates continue to reel in better and better offers. Companies that are looking to capitalize on big tech layoffs will be disappointed if they are not ready to put up big, competitive packages up front and be willing to negotiate beyond that number.

From Product Managers to Info Security Engineers, job seekers are in a unique position to split hairs and pit job offers against each other even where there is little discernable difference.

Talener works closely with candidates to understand their reasoning for turning down competitive positions that were aligned with their professional goals and interests. This information guides us to help both clients and candidates as they present or consider offers in the back half of 2022.

Nine jobs were turned down by Talener candidates in May. Of the nine turndowns, eight were tied directly to compensation, remote flexibility, and brand recognition.  

Candidates categorically dismissed offers that did not include remote work and top tier compensation, namely RSUs or cash.

RSUs: Four candidates turned down offers that didn’t include RSUs. Candidates are vocal about RSUs being a standard part of compensation packages, rather than the exception. If you cannot offer RSUs, your compensation package must be the most competitive from the get-go and have room to negotiate.

Brand Recognition:  Big tech always wins. Brand recognition (along with their highly competitive RSUs) drives candidates to choose one position over another. Younger, greener engineers are willing to take a risk on a start up passion project. However, more established engineers are banking on big tech to elevate their career status.

Remote: Your offer isn’t competitive unless it has remote flexibility. Hybrid positions are complicated and force employees to juggle their schedules every week. If the work can be done successfully in a remote capacity, include it in your offer.

Follow the Money:  Cash is king. One turndown occurred because a candidate was offered an additional $100k. The same engineer was worth $100k more to one company over another. You cannot assume that the base salary that you are offering is roughly equivalent to that of your competitors. This ignores the tight labor market for in-demand talent.

Determining and presenting offers is nothing short of maddening. Even the most competitive looking offer can be derailed. TA and hiring managers need to assume that their first-choice candidates are receiving similar or better offers at every step of the process.

Understanding why offers are being turned down is one piece of the puzzle when crafting future packages. This data provides TA teams with the leverage to confidently ask for more budget or space to negotiate. Your offers won’t win over every engineer. But it’s encouraging to know that you have a fighting chance before you put a package in front of your top candidate choice.

View our recent case studies and gain an even greater perspective.