Losing Top Candidates? Optimise Your Hiring Process

We’ve talked before about how the skills shortage in business transformation is driving a war for talent, and mentioned a variety of things that companies can do to attract and retain the best people in the market. However, there’s a crucial element that we haven’t yet discussed: your hiring process. If you’re losing top candidates, you might want to take a closer look at how you’re handling them.

Once you’ve attracted top people to your role or project, the following stages are some of the most important. Extra care and attention must be paid to the candidate experience – a convoluted process or lack of communication can give them a bad impression, and ultimately push them towards your competitors.

When thinking about your hiring process, you need to keep 3 things in mind:

  • Clarity

  • Engagement

  • Momentum

Strive for these 3 qualities and you’ll minimise the chance of people dropping out. In this article, we’ll take a look at the ideal hiring process, and what you need to do along the way.

Create an optimal job specification

Job specifications are not to be undervalued; it’s really important to set time aside to focus on the fundamentals. Your in-house recruitment team or recruitment partner will be able to advise you on how to craft a compelling description to attract the best people.

Candidates want clarity, so it’s vital that you’re being transparent about what the role entails, what will be expected of them, and what the responsibilities of the position are. Beyond that, any details that you can share around opportunities for progression or hybrid working will help your offering stand out from the rest.

Establish clear timelines

Define how long you expect the hiring process to take from receiving a CV, through multiple interview stages, and ultimately to making an offer. If you don’t know, then the candidate will be left in the dark. That uncertainty will make them more open to other offers when recruiters or HR managers come knocking.

Once you’ve established timelines, you can communicate them with prospective hires, so they know what to expect and when. Most importantly, it demonstrates that your business is organised and you’ve taken their time into consideration. This is especially true for senior appointments, where it can be difficult to free up time for long recruitment processes.

Make sure that all stakeholders are aligned

If you have multiple interview stages with different stakeholders, everyone needs to be on the same page about what the ideal candidate is. It can be off-putting if the interviewee is getting mixed messages from each line manager about what traits they should display or which skills they’ll need.

A survey by Cronofy (image below) showed that over half of senior UK candidates are frustrated by scheduling delays. The same survey showed that 43% of candidates globally have dropped out of a hiring process because of interview scheduling delays, so it’s crucial that you align all stakeholders. A lack of availability will inevitably cause you to deviate from the initial timelines that you’ve set and could increase dropout rates.

Set clear objectives for the interviews

Consider what you want to gain from each stage of the interview. A deeper look at the candidate’s work history, an investigation of their skills perhaps? I’ve had candidates finish interviews and call me, explaining that they think the interview went well but that they’re not entirely sure what would be expected of them, or what the key success criteria are.

To avoid any confusion, state the objective from the get-go and give more insight into the content of the role, key challenges, and progression. Painting a clearer picture of the role can set you apart when a candidate has been approached with multiple opportunities. Contractors are often more comfortable ambiguity, but permanent employees are making a long-term commitment, and more information will give them greater certainty about their choice.

Be enthusiastic and authentic as an interviewer

People buy into people. A candidate should be welcomed by an enthusiastic interviewer who seems passionate about the company. Enthusiasm is transferred between people, so if you come across excited about the role, chances are they will too. There’s no need to be overly formal; you’re more likely to strike up a rapport if you’re being your authentic self.

I receive great feedback from candidates when the company really makes them feel wanted. Your organisation is more likely to be a top choice if you can stoke that kind of feeling within your candidates.


Don’t lose communication between interviews

At the end of the interview, candidates need to know what the next steps are and how long they’re likely to take. Engaging candidates between interviews is almost as important as during the interviews, as it keeps the momentum up between stages. A positive interview could easily be for nothing if there is no communication afterwards.

Remember, just because they’ve interviewed with you, it doesn’t mean they don’t have other companies talking to them as well. Candidates are approached quite often in a candidate-short market like we’re in now, so there’s no time to waste.

Manage the offer respectfully 

Once the interviews are done, it’s on the employer to keep momentum high so that the candidate doesn’t lose interest. The worst thing you could do is to offer under the salary which was originally listed. The days of being able to lowball candidates are long gone and doing so will stop the hiring process in its tracks. Offer over the listed salary if you’re really set on a specific candidate and want to show them how valuable you think they are.

Offers may take longer to arrange in bigger organisations with more processes to go through, so communication is key. If it’s going to take 5 days, then reach out and articulate the offer to them while the paperwork is being sorted. It’s always appreciated when line managers contact new employees directly to give them an overview of the start date, onboarding, and other next steps.

To discuss how Deltra could help you optimise your hiring process and find you the best candidates around, get in touch. Contact me directly for a chat to speak more about our offering at richard.archer@deltragroup.com or 07771 257 520.

26th May

From the Experts Industry Insight