Making offers they can’t refuse: Quick job offers yield higher acceptance rates

Topic: Staffing
Publication: Personnel Psychology
Article: The Effect of Job Offer Timing on Offer Acceptance, Performance, and Turnover
Authors: W.J. Becker, T. Connolly, J.E. Slaughter
Reviewed By: Ben Sher

Congratulations, you’re hired!  … Wait, where’d you go?

Have you ever found that your extensive, meticulous, and rigorous process of filling positions identifies applicants who are no longer interested in working for you? If so, you are not alone.

Research by Becker, Connolly, and Slaughter (2010) suggests that applicants who receive job offers soon after their final interview are more likely to accept them than those who receive delayed offers.

The study analyzed hiring data from a major company that filled salaried positions with both experienced employees and college students, and found that both groups were more likely to accept offers made shortly after the final interview. They also found that hires who were given quicker offers did not go on to receive lower job performance ratings  or have higher turnover rates than those who received delayed offers.

The authors suggest that job candidates who do not receive quick offers may make negative attributions about the company. For example, they may think that the company runs inefficiently, is unfair, or is disinterested in them, and is therefore not a good place to work. On the other hand, when candidates receive fast job offers, they may assume that the organization is very interested in   them, and that they can  make their decision to accept the job offer without uncertainty, which may lead to more favorable attitudes toward the organization.

Becker et al.’s findings suggest that organizations should make quick offers to qualified
candidates.  This will likely increase the chance of offer acceptance, and is also a cheap and easy way to cut high costs associated with employee recruitment and job vacancies. Also, employers should not fear that this haste might lead to worse job performance or increased turnover.

Becker, W.J., Connolly, T., & Slaughter, J.E. (2010). The Effect of Job Offer Timing on Offer Acceptance, Performance, and Turnover. Personnel Psychology, 63, 223-241.