Are you losing candidates between acceptance and start date?

The period between offering a top candidate a job and their start date can be a risky time. Here are four top tips for keeping candidates warm after you’ve offered them the job.

After an arduous and expensive hiring process you have finally made an offer to a top candidate. While you wait for them to start they may very well be searching for other roles or even considering other offers.  And, nothing is certain until they walk through the front door on their first day. 

According to Clare Vague, HR Manager, Adelaide and Melbourne at Channel Seven, the chances of keeping candidates engaged are increased if you have “a strong EVP upfront and a robust recruitment process that represents your organisation well”.

Throughout the standard four-week period between offer and start date, it is important that employers are proactive in building their relationship with their candidates to ensure they don’t fall away before the start date.

Get the offer out quickly

Competition for top talent is fierce so it is vital keep the lag time between a verbal offer and the official paperwork to an absolute minimum, ideally less than 48 hours. The more time it takes to complete the hiring process, the more time candidates have to find other jobs.

According to Randy Wandmacher, HR Lead, Accenture Australia & New Zealand, it is important to streamline recruitment timelines to reduce any possible delays.

“Our internal approvals are received ahead of a verbal offer, ensuring that there are no significant delays between the two,” he says.

Keep candidates motivated

In many cases, after the hectic recruitment process has been wrapped up, employers will shut down communication channels.

Changing roles is often a big deal for candidates, so it’s not only important to make the successful candidate feel comfortable, but also to stay on their radar. 

At Channel Seven, key touchpoints are built into the onboarding process to maintain a level of light communication with soon-to-be new employees.

“There are key timelines that trigger engagement with the new employee including a text message from the hiring manager the day the official paperwork is sent asking them a number of questions about themselves including what their 3pm munchie is,” she says.

Offer enticing touchpoints

Building a personable relationship will make all the difference to new employees, so it’s important to quickly transition from candidate dialogue to employee dialogue once a candidate has accepted the role. Not only does this make the candidate feel valued, it also keeps them motivated not to jump ship.

Simple gestures like invitations to team meetings, meet-and-greets with key staff or even sharing your latest Annual Report will help them to gather insight into how your organisation operates.

At Accenture, graduate candidates are encouraged to form groups and maintain engagement via social media. In addition to this, Accenture will also be piloting a ‘buddy program’ to foster engagement.

“The buddy program will pair up graduates with mentors at the point which they accept offer,” Wandmacher says.

Build your brand

When a top candidate hands in their resignation, their current employer may offer a competitive counter-offer, which is why presenting a strong brand is important during the recruitment process.

While salary and benefits are appealing, also showcasing your business’s unique offerings, such as career progression or flexible working arrangements, could be just the thing that persuades your top candidate from backing out at the last hurdle.

Vague said Channel Seven really prioritises dialling up what makes Channel Seven an employer of choice.

“How we represent ourselves in the external market (is important) to ensure we are an organisation that people talk about and want to work for,” she says.

Likewise, at Accenture, “the hyper-personal interactions the candidate has during the recruitment process is often what they will remember when they are making a final decision,” says Wandmacher.