Photo courtesy of Shutterstock.

Posted May 29, 2019 by

Why are more students reneging on their job acceptances?

A recent discussion in a listserv moderated by the National Association of Colleges and Employers was about an upward trend that some employers are seeing in the number of candidates who are reneging on their acceptances for both internship and entry-level jobs. One employer shared that they typically see four to five percent renege but this year that has jumped to more than eight percent.

Another employer helpfully shared that they’re also seeing more reneges and speculated that students “seem to be accepting offers as a back-up plan and then continuing the recruiting process throughout the year”. That employer is getting a much higher number of reneges within a week of the scheduled start date, blamed the students, and expressed hope that career services would start counseling students more about why they should not renege on job offers.

A third employer confirmed that they too are seeing higher renege rates but offered the following ideas: “(1) it continues to be a hot job market, (2) more companies are putting focus effort on early career talent, and (3) rapidly advancing / evolving technologies for employers and students are bringing more awareness efficiency (arguably) to the campus recruiting market.”

Another factor that I suspect is playing a role in the increased percentage of candidate reneges is the very long-time — and sometimes increasingly long — between when the candidate first meets with the employer and receives a job offer until the date when they actually start work.

It wasn’t all that long ago when the bulk of on-campus recruiting was late September through mid-November with offers taking weeks to be made. Now, it isn’t at all unusual to see employers interviewing at the beginning of September, making offers of employment in the interview room, and demanding a yes/no decision within days. Backed into a corner, a student would be irrational to decline this “bird in the hand” offer in favor of maybe getting a better offer days, weeks, or even months later a/k/a two in the bush.

Then, accepted offer in hand, some employers will essentially go radio silent and have little to no substantive contact with the student for months. Maybe the occasional email here or phone call there, but the intensity of the relationship goes from passionate to what is minimally required, and sometimes even less. Is it any wonder that the student loses their excitement and is open to reconsidering their acceptance?

To the employers who are frustrated by the reneges, let’s get creative about the entire process. What is within your control? Does your recruiting cycle really need to be driven by a fall/winter schedule that has existed since the 1950’s? Would it make more sense to look at alternative means to engage with, extend offers to, and continue to engage with students? 

Put another way, if an epidemic or other such natural or even manmade disaster were to prevent your team from flying out to college campuses around the country, how else could you recruit your next generation of leaders? Maybe look at those contingency plans — or create some — and then put them into place on a pilot basis. Maybe, just maybe, some of those contingency plans will deliver better candidates faster and for less money than the process many organizations have followed since “I like Ike” was a commonly heard campaign slogan.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

We believe that every student and recent grad deserves a great career. Get a personalized proposal for how best to reach your target candidates by entering your info here. We will respond within one business day.

Thank you for submitting your request to College Recruiter for a proposal for how we can help you hire students and recent graduates of one-, two-, and four-year colleges and universities for part-time, seasonal, internship, and entry-level opportunities.

We will likely respond within a couple of hours and definitely within one business day. Should you need assistance even faster, please call us at 952.848.2211 or email us at [email protected].

Posted in Advice for Employers, Economic Indicators, Retention Strategies, Workforce planning | Tagged Tagged , , ,