How to Reduce Reneging Offers

Posted by Ollie on 4 Jan 2019

Reneging offers cost the early talent recruitment industry £5m a year. Yes £5m! RMP’s Co-founder, Ollie Sidwell, shares his thoughts about why they’ve become a growing problem with his top tips on how employers can combat this trend.

Reneging is becoming an increasingly used word in the early careers space. It means to ‘go back on a promise, undertaking, or contract’ and is increasingly used by early careers recruiters when they hear a brilliant candidate - one they’ve spent months interviewing, assessing and made an offer to - suddenly turn down the offer they had so lovingly accepted. It can be incredibly frustrating.

We ran a presentation at the excellent AllAboutSchoolLeavers Conference in October on this topic, highlighting an estimated £4.9m is spent each year on effectively, nothing. All the time and effort spent in attraction and selection, all equates to nothing. And… you still have the role to fill!

And what’s worse… it’s a growing problem. The ISE reported that 5% of candidates reneged across the industry last year; this year it’s increased to 7%. 

Why are rejections and reneges becoming more common?

Results day

For schools recruitment, results day in August is huge - especially if you have a September start date. If candidates have performed better than they expected, they may be accepted into universities they didn’t expect to get into.

When the good news arrives, the influencer advice from parents and schools staff to accept the university offer can quash their prospective apprenticeship application that you saw so much promise in.


Generation Z is here

Our audience has changed. Post-millennials, or Gen Z have grown up in a digital age and are far more aware and considerate of the world, which also makes them choosier when it comes to employment.

They see themselves as global citizens and more than previous generations, are aware of environmental and social issues.

This recent Iceland Xmas advert showing their support for critically endangered orangutans is a great example from the wider market of supporting environmental concerns.

The TV advert was deemed “too political” to air on TV, however it has caught the hearts and minds of people with over 6 million views on YouTube in seven weeks.

Buyers market

As Rebecca Fielding eloquently detailed in her recent blog“employment data has shown consistent growth and job creation in professional (often graduate) level jobs, far out-stripping the number of graduates we are producing each year”. 

Demand for young people is on the rise… yet the supply of young people in the UK is retracting.

I’m sure there are many other reasons supporting the reneging trend, but more importantly, how can we combat this trend?

Challenge what’s important

You might think salary is the most important factor. Not for Gen Z. With health and wellbeing becoming increasingly prevalent in today’s society, perks and benefits are so important.

TfL acknowledge this and lead their communications with ‘2 FREE Oyster cards and 75% discount on National Rail -two perks that are completely unique to them.  Your organisation may not boast its own travel network, but what can you offer that will be important to Gen Z?Screenshot (6)

Smash their expectations!

If they don’t start until September, getting back in touch in August to check they’re engaged is the perfect way to lose candidates! What can you do in the lead up to their start-date to keep candidates warm?

Here’s a range of ideas that have worked:

1) Arranging pre-joining days or evenings to allow them to see the office and meet others on their cohort 

2) Setting up a Facebook or WhatsApp group for them all to chat and organise any accommodation

3) Assign them a pre-joining buddy, someone currently in the organisation they can reach out to for questions

4) Inspire them with ‘success stories’ of those who have preceded them 

5) Send them a welcome pack! In the Tech & Innovation’ Early Careers podcast, Alex Parkes from AIA shares the success Accenture saw from distributing welcome hoodies to pre-joiners.

Educate and nurture

Technology has facilitated the nurturing process, enabling efficient, personalised and branded communications - from emails to SMS - to candidates you’re engaged with.

This data-led approach requires adhering to GDPR regulations and to provide a 100% compliant approach, we’ve built RMP Connect to ensure organisations can build, communicate and report on their talent pipeline.

Forward-thinking 21st century employers now have a content portfolio that educates, inspires and nurtures candidates regarding the organisation, their values and success their peers have had in similar roles.

If these suggestions don’t work… You can always over-offer. It’s natural young people’s situations will change, especially if they accept your offer early and months before they’re due to start.

Have candidates prepared and ready to take their place; hiring two years in advance allows you to reach out to any candidates who were looking to have a year out, to see if they’re able to start earlier than planned.

To summarise, our three steps to reducing reneges are:

  1. Understand- your audience, brand, perceptions...

  2. Be proactive- individualise the experience

  3. Nurture- show them you care

If you’d like to hear more about the ISE report mentioned above and hear further insights on this topic, listen to the 'Rejects & Reneges' Early Careers podcast where Jack from AllAboutGroup and I discuss the topic in more detail with Tristram and Tomas from ISE.