Why do candidates drop out of the recruitment process?

We uncover why candidates drop out of the recruitment process and how you can avoid this from happening to your business.

Your job advertisement has gone live and you are getting lots of enquiries. You may even receive early applications. But, all of a sudden, the interest is waning, strong candidates are withdrawing, and you’re left scratching your head as to the reasons why. As frustrating, costly and time-consuming as this may be, it also presents you with an opportunity to refine your recruitment processes.

According to Hadleigh Fischer, Consultant - Executive Search Finance at Sharp and Carter “candidates will often opt out because of a lack of understanding,” so here are some tips to help you develop clear recruitment processes, a friendly communication model and efficient timelines not only to attract the best talent but keep them interested.

Make sure your ads add up

First impressions count and just like you would no doubt rule out a candidate with an error- ridden resume, candidates will be turned off by ads with spelling errors, incorrect contact details or information about the company that is just too bland.

A good ad will sell the benefits of the role and your organisation, so make sure your job description highlights all the best aspects of the job by listing “the most exciting role criteria at the top and the more day-to-day tasks at the bottom,” Fischer remarks. While often an exciting drawcard, it’s not all free food and pool tables so be mindful of providing key details about the size and scope of the organisation and the reporting lines of the role you are advertising.

Limit lengthy recruitment timelines

Protracted hiring processes are possibly the most common reason why someone will drop out. If you’re managing the recruitment drive at a turtle’s pace it will invariably do one of two things:

  • Leave candidates thinking that you are not interested.
  • Leave candidates thinking that your company is disorganised.

Either way, the outcome is the same. Strong talent will pull out before they waste more time, particularly if they are applying for other jobs with swifter practices. Application processes need to be online and mobile-friendly (especially if you want to attract today’s savvy talent pool), interviews need to be well-timed and senior interviewers need to be ready and informed about the processes, “otherwise you simply lose people,” Hadleigh adds.  The same goes for roles that include additional testing - “they should be completed in the leadup to final round interviews, or at least concurrently.”

Communication is key

In today’s competitive climate, prioritising a customer service mindset will hold you in good stead, so work towards embedding organisation-wide protocols that offer candidates an enriching experience.

You don’t want to turn people off before they have even been interviewed so make sure you clearly articulate time estimates for each phase. Also leverage interest by acknowledging a candidate’s application and offer details about next steps. 

Following first interviews “make a quick call to say how they fared and whether you are still interested,” Hadleigh implores.

Only interview when necessary

To prevent drop-offs, particularly for top candidates who are being pursued by numerous organisations, it is important to move quickly through the interview phase. 

One way to achieve this is to reduce the number of interviews. As a rule of thumb, Hadleigh advises that “two interviews are standard and for more senior roles perhaps a third meeting with a senior stakeholder.” Schedule interviews on a single day and make sure staff are adequately trained to provide positive interview experiences that really draw out a candidate’s full-picture compatibility.

Don’t miss the opportunity to sell your brand

In today’s ultra-competitive market, you’ll stand out if you offer applicants conditions that other organisations don’t, so use the recruitment process to showcase the benefits of your brand. If you can, set up engaging communication tools like recruitment blogs or social media platforms, and celebrate all the entitlements and opportunities that the organisation will provide the successful candidate.

This may be as simple as flexible work policies regarding start and finish times or working from home options. Being able to offer the preferred candidate some bargaining power when it comes to salary will also work in your favour, especially if they are receiving other propositions.