blog for employers

blog for employers

Why Are Great Candidates Bailing On Your Job Interview Process?

Does this sound familiar? You get two thirds of the way through your interview process, and all of a sudden that high-quality candidate accepted another opportunity? Or, even worse, you get through the entire process and present an offer letter, only to have the candidate decline?

Unfortunately, this kind of scenario is no longer the exception. And, as we learned in our last article, the greatest tragedy in hiring is losing your ideal candidate!

You have heard the cliches before – this is a fast-paced world; we live in the digital age; attention spans are getting shorter. Gurus of all kinds, from philosophy to business to marketing, will use these cliches as an explanation for why your approach to life’s (or work’s) challenges must change, and change quickly. Perhaps unsurprisingly, recruiting and hiring is no different!

In the next few paragraphs, we will explore why your available candidate pool may be dwindling, and how to find and hire the right candidate – before they bail.

Your Expectations Exceed The Role

If you are hiring for entry-level to early-career candidates, one of the most beneficial things you can do before beginning your interview process is put yourself in their shoes.

An interview process that involves more than 2 face-to-face meetings, excessive testing or screening, or working interviews may all lead candidates to drop out of the interview process.

This is not because candidates are uncommitted or lazy about their job search. In fact, it is usually quite the opposite. The candidate is working hard to find a step up in their career, while trying not to drop the ball on their current obligations.

Try to remember (or imagine) a time when you earned anywhere in the range of $12-17/ hour (under $36,000/ year). Think about the idea of looking for a new job, and what that would entail. You likely do not have a large savings account to lean on while you search. You are also not likely able to take excessive time off to attend multiple, lengthy interviews.

You Fail To Focus On The Gold

If you are panning for gold and find a beautiful gold nugget, you stop sifting through the dirt and focus on the gold! You rinse it off, look for indications it could be fool’s gold, and then you put it in a safe place. The same holds true with candidates. When you find an amazing candidate, turn your attention to getting them through the process quickly.

While the first point, “Your Expectations Exceed the Role,” is about the volume of time you require in the interview process, “You Fail to Focus on the Gold” is about the length of time you require. The reason you may lose candidates in this situation is not because you are asking too much of the candidate, but because the candidate reaches their end goal – a fabulous new job – more quickly with someone else.

You Play Games

Just like in life, playing games will often backfire.

Starting someone’s pay lower than the role deserves? That is a game you are not likely to win if you are in a market where anyone else at all wants to hire the same candidate. If the candidate does accept an offer lower than they should be earning, you may need to ask yourself if you are really making the right hire.

Advertising a position as if it offers more than it really does? Again, this is likely to backfire in the form of turnover. You might convince a candidate to accept your offer, but how likely are they to stay when your promises all fall short?

These Three Tips Will Help You Overcome The Challenge of a Candidate’s Market

Diversify Your Outreach Strategy

Unless you are hiring for a highly specialized role, targeting diverse professionals who could be a potential fit for your job opening will help increase your candidate pool.

The more candidates you have from which to select, the more likely you will find a top performer.

For example, successful Opticians may come from a variety of backgrounds. While some practices may not have the time or staff to train inexperienced Opticians, those that do may benefit from high-quality candidates from outside the industry.

Consider what backgrounds may be relevant to your job opening, and position your advertisements with language that shows them how they might fit!

Remove Screening Redundancies

If you have ever felt the sting of a wrong hire, you may be tempted to overcompensate in hopes of preventing another bad hire in the future. There is no fault in learning from your mistakes, and improving your screening process. However, be cautious about overdoing it.

For example, if you ask candidates to complete a skill test online and you have access to their score, leave that question out of the self-reported skills questionnaire.

The best way to remove screening redundancies is to ask yourself, “Do I already collect this information elsewhere?” When preparing for an interview, review all the information you have, such as the resume, questionnaires, assessments, and skill test scores. Use the interview to explore anything that remains unclear.

Now you have made better use of the candidate’s time, and your own!

Compare, Compare, Compare

If you find yourself losing candidate after candidate, it may help to evaluate your competition for talent (which may be different from your competition for business). Even if you are limited on time, spending an hour or two on some research will save you days, weeks, or possibly even months of continually starting over on the interview process. Make the investment now and save yourself the agony!

You should compare:

  • Application process
  • Interview process (to the extent possible)
  • Pay ranges
  • Other benefits and perks
  • The job ad itself – is yours as enticing as it could be?
  • The candidate pools targeted

Once you have a deeper understanding of how you stack up against others with whom your talent pool may apply, you can refine your strategy to improve results.

Do you need additional help finding and hiring the right talent for your organization?

Visit for more helpful tips, or to engage our services for your next search.