Why you may be losing the perfect hire before they even start...

hiring offers recruiting


The last two years have been upside, down and back around again when it comes to the job market. One aspect of the market has only grown more obvious: it’s a candidate’s market no matter what the unemployment rate or open job rate looks like. 

Even though hiring may be slowing down as we hit the end of the year and large tech companies experience lay-offs, there are still plenty of opportunities and less and less candidates who are interested in them.

Hiring is a process and finding the right person is hard. What’s even harder is getting the candidate to the end, getting the offer signed, and having them start. 

Just because a candidate signs an offer, doesn’t guarantee they will start. 

Read that again. I’ll wait. 

“But they signed!” There are no laws that say someone must start a job because they signed the offer. There are also no laws that say a company has to have someone start because they signed the offer. It goes both ways. I’ve been involved in one too many situations where offers were signed…and the role was cut before the person’s start date. Neither of these situations are ideal. Just as much as the company might have a need to cut the role, the candidate might also have a need to cut and go somewhere else.

So why are people backing out? 

  • Just because someone signs an offer doesn’t mean they stop other interviews. When a candidate is interviewing with you, you can guarantee they are interviewing with at least 2 other companies at any given time. If you’re smart, you’re checking in on their other interview activity at each step in the process to understand their timeline and overall job search activity.
  • We are in a different world post the onset of COVID. Priorities have shifted. Jobseekers are picky. If a candidate feels they have the best sense of your company at every step in your interview process, they will continue to opt-in if what you’re offering aligns with their values. Give them a candidate experience that makes it so hard to refuse you, they can’t!

What does this mean for employers? 

  • Run a strong and timely interview process from start to finish. That means quick responses, candid feedback, time for interview prep, and always leaving time for their questions at every step of the process. 
  • Recognize that recruiting does not stop after the offer is signed. Build touch points into your process after the offer is signed - a virtual coffee the week before their start date, or in-person if that’s an option, emails to check in, phone calls or texts to say hi depending on that person’s preference (which you know because you checked on this at the beginning of the process…right? right??).
  • Candidates keep their options open and so should you. Recruiting doesn’t stop until the person starts. If you have other candidates in process when an offer is made, don’t stop, keep moving. Even if your first choice works out, you may realize you need two of this role, or the person you’re interviewing could work for another hole on the team.

All of these things take time, and time is money. If you have an in-house recruiting team, give them time to do all of the other stuff that isn’t just finding and interviewing candidates. The hiring manager should be heavily involved in the post-signed offer recruitment process. If you don’t have a hiring team this falls completely on the shoulders of the manager and/or their team. It takes effort, but for the long-term success of your new hire, and therefore your company, you have to put the work in to keep them engaged and excited from that first phone call to the end of their time at your company…which is hopefully many, many years from their start date.