Ok, so perhaps ‘horrifying’ is something of an overly dramatic term! But over the years, Team TalentHub have heard all manner of stories about why candidates get ‘spooked’ by their potential new employer and decide not to progress with the opportunity. Here are some of the most regularly mentioned occurrences that may lead your dream new employee to ‘ghost’ you.
Yes, we know it’s very cool to have your own in-house bar, business hammocks, foosball tables and a big fancy conference in a trendy European location each year. But remember that these things are Window Dressing and when push comes to shove, the best candidates can see past the trimmings and will care only about the role itself. (ok, maybe the free food and shiatsu massages will give the edge over another company but only if the actual role ticks all the boxes!)
These ancillary benefits are nice, but a full-on, pushy attitude that conveys the candidate would be lucky to be considered good enough for a company can be very off-putting – we’ve had several instances where a candidate – who otherwise really liked the actual job – withdrew from the process because they felt the company were almost expecting subservient gratitude at the opportunity to play ping pong at lunchtime, or focused too much on ‘look what you get in our building’ rather than on the role itself.
It’s great when the interviewer believes they work for the best company in the world, but don’t expect everyone else to get all starry-eyed about the business at interview stage – the candidate is as much evaluating the employer as the other way around and both will hugely benefit from the opportunity to work together, so keep the dialogue focused on what really matters – a great career progression plan, investment in learning and development and an exciting challenge. Everything else is just a nice to have!
Whilst we understand that certain roles require a minimum technical standard and there is no point in bringing someone into a lengthy process if they do not have the skill set (especially in Technology), it can be off-putting to ask a candidate to jump straight into this before they’ve even had an informal engagement with someone in the business.
In this candidate-driven market, where most candidates need to be actively headhunted by either the direct sourcing team or an external recruitment partner, it is essential to have some sort of chemistry fit at the outset. Even a quick phone call with someone in HR or the Hiring Manager can help get the candidate excited about the job opportunity and inevitably will lead to them performing better in the task, as they feel committed to the opportunity. When the employer is simply a company name to them, its a big ask to expect the candidate to sacrifice evenings or weekends for a task without any emotional buy-in on their part.
And yes, we do know it does happen and not all candidates will refuse, or do it begrudgingly, but it certainly will narrow down the pool of enthusiastic hires – so sparing even 15 minutes to hop on a quick call and get them engaged (and as a courtesy THANK THEM for agreeing to do the assessment or task!) will definitely get the level of interest up!
The larger companies tend to be guilty of this – and we do understand its often necessary – key stakeholders or decision makers can be hard to book into the diary or can be different worldwide locations, but when a process drags on for months, the momentum always suffers.
Imagine you are a candidate – you have just had a fantastic first stage with a business you are seriously interested in, and then its weeks until the next stage, and this process repeats over 4 or 5 stages….the initial bubble of enthusiasm really starts to burst. Candidates may feel that the business is holding out for someone better/less expensive, and a variety of other thoughts go through their heads.
We understand that not all companies have the autonomy to make quick decisions, but if your hiring processes means that there will be long timeframes between stages, ensure you keep the momentum up by regular communication with the candidates you want to stay in the process – and ideally be transparent from the get-go – we’ve placed many candidates into roles that took 4 or 5 months to complete but where the candidate knew from the first briefing that this would be the process and the reasons why. It sets their expectations from the start, and means they don’t find themselves coming up with (negative) theories.
Onboarding is crucial to the employer-employee relationship. Employers need to provide new hires enough support to help them integrate into the new environment and work. If you fail in making newcomers feel welcomed and engaged, they start a new role with anxiety and stress. In addition, you run the risk that they may take a counter offer as in many cases their current employer will be using this notice period to persuade them to stay.
The onboarding process should start right after your candidate accepts the job offer, rather than the first time they meet you again being day one in the job. At TalentHub.ie, we have a policy of inviting our new hires for a team lunch, or informal drinks, once they’ve accepted and are working out their notice. It helps them gel with their new workmates in a relaxed situation and means they feel part of the team when they do arrive on day one. Its also important to remember that handing in notice, working out notice and saying goodbye to their current employer can be stressful and often quite sad, so keeping in regular touch and offering support is very much appreciated.
And as a last tip, good onboarding means that the employee does not arrive on their first day without the necessary equipment and processes in place – if a mobile phone or laptop are part of the job (and remember they may have had to surrender theirs to the previous employer), get these ordered in advance so everything they need is on their desk. If they will be required to travel as part of the job, talk to them pre-arrival about the logistics of this and overall get all the admin boxes ticked so that their first day on the job is focused on integrating them into the team, not walking around the building trying to find them stationary and a spare mobile phone!
Fact! New employees who go through a structured onboarding program are 58% more likely to be with the organisation after three years.
For more tips on how to ensure your hiring processes lead to an engaged, excited and enthusiastic new hire, contact TalentHub.ie
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Author: Ellie Doyle
Ellie brings a pragmatic approach to clients hiring challenges, and believes in the power of asking the right questions. She has a phenomenal network of industry contacts – if anyone knows the person for the job, its Ellie. She is famous for her ability to retain even the smallest detail.