Imagine this scenario: You’ve spent over 4 weeks recruiting for a brand new role within your organisation. You sit down with your Hiring Manager and try to understand every aspect of this new vacancy. You create the job description and advert to match, then tirelessly explore every available resource to find the perfect candidate that lives up to the values of the company and the requirements of the role.

From the very first contact to arranging the interview (sometimes even 3 or 4 stages), there is a significant investment of time and effort from both the company and the candidate to finally reach a job offer and acceptance.

Then, the dreaded phone call: “Hello, I’m really sorry but I’ll no longer be starting with you next Monday. I’ve been offered another role last minute and I really can’t turn it down.”

The Recruitment Process

The recruitment process definitely doesn’t stop after the candidate has accepted the job. In fact, the period between the candidate accepting the offer and their start date is usually the time of greatest risk.  Many recruiters, including myself, have fallen victim to believing that, once the candidate accepts a position, it’s a foregone conclusion that they’ll be there on the first day. Unfortunately for recruiters, this is definitely not always the case.

So much can change overnight and that’s why the most important factor to keep in mind is to stay close to your new recruits during their notice period.

Move fast

No one wants to come across as overzealous. In an ideal world the candidate will feel wanted and important, but you also want them to feel aware that there are other, strong candidates to pick and choose from. Once a decision has been made, send the offer and contract ASAP! It oozes efficiency and organisation, as well as showing that your company is committed to getting the candidate on board.

Assume nothing

Never assume that the candidate will not look at other opportunities. Your job offer may have been there for them at the right time when nothing else was; maybe they were made redundant and made a rush decision, or a company local to their home have announced a huge recruitment drive in their area of expertise.

Are they interviewing elsewhere?

Ask! It isn’t forbidden territory, it’s general conversation - plus, we may know some horror stories regarding the place they are about to interview at. Just kidding, but you may be able to glean valuable information from the candidate about what stage of interview they’re currently at, or what attracted them to the competitor.

Current colleagues

The tugging of emotional heart strings can be a deal breaker when it comes to handing your notice in. We’ve all been there - that conversation when your work colleagues hear the news of your resignation and shout “but you can’t leave”. Saying goodbye to people who you have built lasting friendships with can be tough; after all, it’s usually the people you work with that make the job truly enjoyable.

The dreaded counter offer

For the vast majority of us, money is the motivator - it’s as simple as that. If we’ve done our job correctly, we should already know the exact reasons why the candidate is looking to leave their current role. Maybe the culture is unbearable, they have the world’s worst boss or it’s taking 90 minutes to commute there in moderate traffic. You can always discuss some of these earlier concerns at a later date if a counter-offer does occur.

Beware of your other recruiters

Recruitment is a dog-eat-dog world. You’ve searched high and low for the perfect candidate, so it’s likely that at least 10 other local recruiters have done the same.

Family influence

Never forget that the candidate’s other half will usually have a big influence on whether a job offer is right for their family, and if it’s eventually accepted.

Keep the candidate close

Being a recruiter means you’re always busy. Yes, you might have 25 other outstanding vacancies, 5 projects and 10 weekly meetings to juggle, but giving your new starter a quick call fortnightly really adds value to you as an individual and the organisation; something as simple as sending out an anticipation letter will suffice.

Hiring Manager phone call

As much as we would love our Hiring Manager to take over the reigns once an offer has been made, sadly it’s not always the case. Pop a calendar event into their diary a week prior to the new team member joining. An anticipation call to the candidate from your Hiring Manager is always a nice touch.

It starts at the very beginning

The recruitment journey must be slick, as well as easy for the candidate. First impressions count and, from the point at which a candidate first encounters the job advertisement, they must be impressed and compelled to move forward with the application.

Throughout the process, the candidate has to feel that your company is well managed, proactive and capable. There’s nothing worse than applying for a role then being left in the dark and hearing nothing for several weeks. If this happens, it’s likely that another company or a competitor will steal the candidate’s attention.

Candidates definitely formulate feelings about organisations from the way in which the current employees conduct themselves and how seamlessly the process moves along. With this in mind, it’s crucial as a recruiter that we observe the overall recruitment journey from a candidate’s point of view.