4 Reasons Why You’re Losing Top Candidates – and How to Retain Them

Alessia Fulache
August 12 2022
Stories

Most employers today will be familiar with the frustration of losing the perfect job candidate to a competitor with a better offer, or of having high-performing applicants quit on them in the middle of the screening process. In today’s increasingly competitive job market, even seemingly small setbacks can derail successful hiring. The best recruiters will take pains to continually fine-tune their hiring practices and ensure that they don’t lose their grip on top talent.

While job hiring can be challenging for any employer, revisiting and revising your hiring practices will improve your chances of scoring the best candidates. Below are four main reasons your business might be losing out on high-performing applicants and what you can do to change this.

1) Your Application and Screening Processes Are Too Lengthy


Companies have historically justified long application processes by arguing that they help weed out unmotivated applicants and that skilled applicants who are invested in the job will push through. Many studies have found, however, that job candidates tend to be turned off by difficult job application procedures regardless of their skills, personalities, and levels of investment in the opportunity.

Furthermore, jobseekers tend to feel the same way about excessively long and complex screening procedures. Employers that impose extra requirements, such as presentations or work samples, without a clear reason are unlikely to find favor with candidates. Applicants that endure an extended screening process but don’t receive an offer are also that much more likely to burn bridges with the involved companies.

Most companies add these additional steps to their hiring procedures to get the clearest possible read on their candidates and lower the risk of a mishire. It’s important, however, to evaluate the necessity of every step in your application and screening processes. You need to be sure that candidates clearly understand why you need these practices to ascertain their potential for success in a particular role. Eliminate superfluous steps, such as requiring candidates to create online logins they’ll never use again or asking them to supply you with information already on their resumes. 

2) You Wait Too Long to Make Job Offers


Many employers make the mistake of waiting too long between interviewing a candidate for the final time and actually offering them the position. The reasons for these delays vary from company to company, but in many cases it comes down to employers wanting to see additional candidates to compare their fitness for the open position.

Employers that take too long to make offers run a high risk of losing good candidates who may also be in demand at other companies. They may also develop a reputation for indecision or inefficiency, particularly as unhappy job candidates today are more likely to speak out about their unfavorable application experiences online.

In general, it’s best to contact a candidate with your decision no more than a day after their final interview. One workable rule of thumb is that each day you make a candidate wait for your offer makes them 10% less likely to accept it.

3) You Don’t Offer Workplace Flexibility


In recent years, technology has expanded our ideas of how, when, and where work can be done well beyond traditional working hours and office spaces. Employees today, particularly those of the younger generation, are highly unlikely to have spouses or domestic partners exclusively attending to housework and other daily obligations. Given this, it’s high time for employers to embrace the necessity of offering flexible working arrangements to job applicants and incumbent employees alike.

Most employees today now consider flexible work setups a major point in an employer’s favor, regardless of the type. You can offer compressed work-weeks, part-time work, a fully work-from-home setup, or something else depending on your industry and the nature of your particular business. Prioritizing workplace flexibility sends the message that you value your employees’ time and energy and want to give them the opportunity to work in the ways that are most productive and engaging for them.

4) You Aren’t Transparent about Salaries


The ubiquity of the internet and digital technology have shifted the ways people look for and apply to jobs, with increasing trends in the direction of online job boards and predominantly digital screening processes. Job candidates also have more ways to research potential employers than before. In many cases, they’re able to uncover salary information, market ranges, and reviews from prior employees and clients with unprecedented speed and accuracy.

Jobseekers today prize data transparency. They also know what they’re worth and consider that seriously when applying for work. Hence, it’s important for you to be honest with your candidates about how much you’re willing to pay them, even before the offer stage. Consider placing a salary range in your job ads so your applicants know what they’re signing up for upfront, or bringing it up as early as the initial interview.


At the end of the day, communicating clearly with and showing genuine interest in your candidates can make all the difference in your hiring process. If you show potential applicants that you appreciate their interest in your company and respect their time, they’re more likely to give you their very best in return.

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