Have you ever had someone back out of a job offer? 

Often, you may not discover that your new recruit has dropped out until a couple of weeks before their start date or worse, on their first day, when they just don’t turn up! This can cause all sorts of issues including the time and resources spent on the interview process, discussions with teams surrounding a plan for onboarding and the purchase of tech or a vehicle.

Most candidates will have a notice period and therefore there may be a gap of a month or more between accepting your job offer and their first day in the role. For more senior roles, a realistic notice period could be up to three months.

Keeping in touch with your new recruit between making an offer and their start date is often overlooked but this key strategy can prevent that highly disappointing news that means you have to start over. We call this maintaining the motivation to move – this can quickly diminish if comms are stopped altogether.

A lot can happen in a month. Think about how quickly things moved in 2020! 

People change their minds and sometimes they are just too nervous to let you know. More than ever, we’re now finding that people are declining offers that they have previously accepted. Applicants may be at risk of redundancy and therefore panicking about both their financial situation. This is resulting in job seekers making quick decisions to accept an offer that may not actually be the right fit for them. An increasing number are being counter offered by their current employer as a result of changes happening fast, or backing out of a role if they accept a better offer.

Working with a good recruitment agency can help eliminate drop outs between the offer and start date as, ultimately, good recruiters want to find you the right candidate from the get go – they don’t want to be looking for a replacement a few weeks down the line. 

Your recruiter will qualify out applicants in a series of communications over time.  I recently had an experience where, having spoken to a candidate several times, alarm bells started to ring.  I’ve been doing this a long time and my gut instinct is spot on. I spoke to my client to raise my concerns and together, we decided on a course of action which included agreeing on a timescale and keeping other candidates close by should we need them. As it turned out the candidate did as predicted and took another job role where, perhaps, no such diligence was applied. We dodged a bullet.

By maintaining contact you really can ascertain any problems early on and protect your business from being on the back foot.

I suggest keeping in touch at least once a week; this could be a courtesy email to check they have received their contract and see if they have any questions, or a video call to explain what their first day will be like. Let’s face it, their first day probably isn’t going to be the same as it would have been this time last year and this will open up a conversation to cover off any concerns or questions. If you don’t receive a response don’t worry initially, however, make sure you follow up and have a plan B just in case. 

Once your job offer is accepted don’t just sit back and wait. From my experience, communication with your new recruit, right up to their first day is hugely important.

Lilly Chappell, recruiting into the office environment at all levels