Building a relationship is a two way street. It is easy as the employer to assume that candidates are queueing up to work at your company, why wouldn’t they want to work there?!
Even if you are the greatest company in the world, it is important not to ask too much from candidates right off the bat. Yes, you want to separate the time wasters from the cream of the crop. But remember, with the vast majority of senior roles, you have approached them. You have carefully selected them, they are not actively job hunting. If you start making them jump through many hoops to gain an audience with you, they won’t hesitate to turn around and walk away.
All too often we see companies sourcing the best talent, candidates who would fit the role like a glove, only to sabotage the relationship by assuming the candidate would go to any length get the job.
With lockdown still a reality for most of us, the recruitment process has had to adapt, and this has added extra challenges and minefields for both candidates and clients to avoid.
Here are the main five reasons that we see candidates pulling out of the recruitment process:
1. A misleading job description.
A clear and concise job description is vital to attracting talent. It is the first tangible contact between the candidate and the company. It needs to relay the requirements of the role whilst demonstrating the culture and brand of the company.
Yes, this is a lot to ask of an A4 piece of paper, but it should never be overlooked. As a hiring manager, you obviously want to attract the very best person; so there can be a tendency to exaggerate the roles responsibilities to sell the opportunity to someone that is potentially over qualified. Equally, you need to be clear on what experience you view as essential.
Inaccuracies will always come to light at an interview and then you have just wasted your own time interviewing someone not right for the role, and the candidate’s time by mis-selling the opportunity.
2. Interview scheduling nightmares.
It’s never easy finding a time that you and however many other Directors are all available to interview a shortlist of candidates. But bear in mind that you aren’t the only busy person in this process.
It is very rare that a candidate for a senior role will be sitting at home waiting for you to invite them in for an interview. More likely, they will also be in stressful, demanding jobs with very booked up diaries. Offering a single one hour slot for the next 4 weeks is not going to cut it.
Block off dates for interviews right at the start of the process and inform potential candidates that these are the interview dates during initial discussions. This gives everyone plenty of warning to make themselves available, even if you don’t end up progressing with that candidate.
Streamline the process. Do five different people need to interview them before they make it through to judge’s houses? The more people and stages involved, the more challenging it becomes logistically and the more chances the candidate will back out. We would suggest no more than three separate interview stages.
Likewise, rescheduling interviews, particularly at short notice, looks unprofessional and disorganised. Candidates may have gone to some lengths to rearrange their diaries to accommodate the meeting and rescheduling can leave a bad taste.
3. Making them wait.
The current climate has completely changed the interview process. Companies and candidates have had to learn very quickly and adjust to virtual interviewing.
Many companies have had to pause recruitment temporarily, or seek further approval to continue, and candidates will expect a reasonable delay to the process.
However, candidates don’t like to be left hanging. Long delays between first and second interviews or after final interview, are a sure fire way to lose your preferred candidate, particularly if they have other offers on the table.
If delays are inevitable right now, then make sure to put a phone call through to your preferred candidate after a week or so to explain the situation and reiterate the position to them. This keeps your company fresh in their minds and lets them know you are still keen if their interest is wavering.
Although there is a lot of uncertainty in the market at the moment, companies who are decisive and act swiftly will attract the best talent.
4. Bad interview experience.
Getting the candidates to the interview is only half the battle. Once they are in the meeting, you have one chance to impress them.
Be prepared so you can make the best use of the time available. One of the most useful pieces of feedback we have received from candidates during lockdown is that companies aren’t scheduling enough time for virtual interviews.
Since we have shifted to video interviews, clients are assuming an hour will be plenty, rather than the hour and a quarter that would have often allotted to hold a face to face meeting.
This couldn’t be further from the truth. With virtual meetings, it is harder to communicate as effectively or as fast as you would in real life, therefore you can’t cover as much ground in an hour.
Add to this the inevitable 5 minutes of technical issues at the beginning and you’re looking at a very rushed interview.
In the interview, make an effort to show that you are interested in them and have read their CV thoroughly prior to the meeting. You would expect the candidates to have researched the company so you should show them the same respect.
Don’t dodge questions posed to you, give the best answer you can or relay the question onto someone who can give a better answer. Ensure the candidate meets interviewers who are positive ambassadors for your business.
The interview experience should demonstrate your company’s culture to the candidate, you can’t undo a disjointed interview so don’t make that the lasting impression your candidate walks away with.
5. An unrealistic offer
Even if you have nailed the recruitment process, all of your hard work can be so easily undone by making an unattractive offer to the candidate.
Recruiting managers or executive search firms such as ourselves will have discussed salary and benefits packages with candidates prior to this stage so the package required to motivate them to move shouldn’t come as a shock.
Quite simply, if you don’t have the budget agreed to meet their requirements, don’t pursue the candidate. You will just be wasting everyone’s time.
Money is rarely the main motivator and most candidates will be slightly flexible (if they are sold on the opportunity) to a certain extent, but you must take into account their current full salary package; including pension and annual bonuses and be able to offer something realistic, if you stand a chance of winning them over. Generally expect to offer a 10-20% increase for the candidate to move. Any less and you risk losing them to a counter offer from their current employer.