The studies show more than a quarter of candidates end up backing out of a job offer, many times after they had already committed to the position. It’s a frustrating situation for recruiters and companies. How can hiring teams cope when a candidate backs out at the last minute? Is there a way to stay prepared and have a backup game plan? 

Candidate Ghosting is Too Common 

The Ladders recently reported that a national survey showed more than a quarter of job candidates declined their job offers unexpectedly at the last minute. This was after they accepted the position. 44% said they backed out because they received a stronger offer from another company. 27% said their current company made a counteroffer and heard some negative things about the company that had given them the offer.  

Backing out or ghosting a recruiter happens far too often. It can occur when candidates fail to show up for an interview, or worse when they accept an offer and then drop out unexpectedly. Ending all communication abruptly, or ghosting, is so prevalent now that the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) wrote recently about the phenomenon, calling it “very upsetting” for recruiters. It’s a disruptive breach of trust that can be costly, not just on the recruiter’s morale; it costs companies money.  

SHRM says that the labor market with more jobs than employees is driving the ghosting trend. Too, the days of company loyalty are probably over; workers see themselves more as free agents. In this kind of environment, how can recruiters protect themselves from a no-show—or can they? 

To help ensure candidates don’t back out, recruiters should work hard to create a bond with candidates so that it’s harder for them to leave you high and dry. While texting is all the rage these days for candidate-recruiter contact, it’s probably harder for a candidate to walk away if the majority of your interactions are in person or by phone or videoconference. Keep this in mind when building your bond and rapport with a candidate.  

Preventing Recruiting No Shows 

For entry-level jobs, double booking candidate interviews are one way to shore up a recruiting funnel. For high-volume turnover industries, like restaurants or hospitality or retail, the no-show rate may precipitate some interview stacking. You could also consider mass cattle call events liking career fairs.  

For any job, however, internal hiring teams can take a lesson from staffing agencies that never stop building their networks proactively. Shoring up against the possibility of a ghost candidate requires a constant recruiting effort to keep the funnel full. Keep interviewing, keep talking to candidates, and keep networking to keep stable employees in the mix, even when the company isn’t hiring. It’s a good insurance policy and best practice for recruiting teams, no matter the industry. That way, even if a late-stage candidate backs out, you have a possible backup. 

Also, make your communication as transparent as you can. If the hiring stage is taking too long, and the candidate hasn’t heard from you recently, it’s more likely they’ll be willing to walk away. If you have a way of shortening the hiring process, which is a time when candidates are vulnerable to other offers, do it. If you can’t, make sure you’re talking regularly to the candidate and giving them feedback on the interview process.  

The bottom line is that the recruiter must work to build the relationship with the candidate so that hopefully there is enough loyalty that the candidate at least is willing to turn down the job without ghosting. Staying in touch with a candidate throughout the sourcing and hiring process is crucial.  

Looking for Top Talent?

Technology and automation can be used to help streamline what is a potentially laborious process. Tools like Exelare can automate consistent messages to candidates throughout the hiring process. A modern applicant tracking system (ATS) can stretch a recruiter’s time, reduce mundane tasks, and keep them focused on the more human side of recruiting instead of busywork. Contact Exelare to find out more.