Increasing Rejection Rates of Job Offers in the M&A Market

Causes and Recommendations

Article by: Jannes von Lintel, Dec. 2023

Why are rejections of job offers on the rise in the M&A market?

As is widely known, the M&A market has been turbulent for some time, with fewer transactions also noticeable in the M&A job market. To position oneself strategically for the future, not only is the preservation but also the strategic growth through hires a fundamental component.

However, there is fierce competition for M&A professionals and executives capable of meeting these challenges. Status and monetary aspects have long ceased to be the primary motivators for employees. Company values, sustainability (ESG), and the alignment of professional and personal life goals are now equally important parameters.

Especially in smaller M&A consultancies and departments, resources are limited, and an extensive HR department is not available. Process adjustments occur gradually. While this challenge can be improved with external support, it should also be considered a forward-looking concern.

Increasing Rates of Rejected Job Offers

Anyone involved in or responsible for recruiting activities within a company is painfully familiar with the following scenario:

A suitable profile comes into the company through various channels (job portal, employee referral, headhunter, etc.) and meets the requirements of the advertised position. After the interview process, it is determined that a contract offer should be extended. After a few days, feedback is received from the candidate – the rejection of the job offer.

What was once considered a rare exception in the process has now become a regular standard. Depending on the study consulted on this matter, rejection rates for created contract and job offers are approximately 33%. Understanding the reasons behind this trend and the actions companies can take to counteract this rate are crucial questions.

Reasons for Rejection and Possible Recommendations
Positive Applicant Management

- According to a Stepstone study*, about 50% of applicants do not receive qualified feedback after 45 days.

- By internally defining and structuring the recruiting process, it can be ensured that no applications are overlooked or left unanswered. Through an automated system, companies manage to provide suitable feedback to all applicants within 5 working days.

Raising Recruiting Awareness

It often happens that application documents are not solely retained in the recruiting department but are also forgotten in functional departments or at the level of managing directors/partners.

Especially during significant deal preparations, the issue of new hires is often postponed to a later date. However, it is crucial that recruiting and the processing of applications have a high priority at all levels of the company, as these matters are pivotal to the company's future.

Reviews on Platforms

In today's world, transparency, especially regarding recruiting, has significantly increased through platforms such as Kununu and others. Applicants have the opportunity to evaluate companies and their application processes, duration, salaries, working atmosphere, etc.

This transparency requires serious attention, as a significant number of rejected job offers can be attributed to uncertainties arising from negative reviews of the company on such platforms.

Conclusion and Outlook

The candidate market has undergone significant changes in the past, and these have equally significant effects on the M&A market. It is crucial to create awareness at all levels of the company to identify and retain the right employees in the long term.

A recommendation derived from my consulting experience with various companies in the M&A market is a holistic implementation of the recruiting and application process. The clear definition and consistent handling of this issue lead to M&A consultancies leaving a positive impression on the market and thus positioning themselves for the future.