Here's How to Protect Yourself From Candidate Backouts

You’d think flaky candidates are a thing of the past now that we’re in a job-short market, but unfortunately, backouts are even more common now than before the Covid-19 crisis.

With fewer opportunities on the market, candidates are applying to every job they see – even the roles they don’t care about. And because they don’t want to lose out on a single opportunity, they’re more likely to tell you what you want to hear, rather than admitting that your job isn’t their first choice.

So while you might think they’re 100% committed, in reality, they have another role or five on the backburner – and could backout at any time.

So how can you protect yourself from candidates right now?

Look for early warning signs

protect-yourself-from-candidate-backoutsThere are likely to be red flags that indicate your candidate isn’t as committed as they claim to be.

For example, if they don’t know much about the company they’re applying for or they’re not returning your calls so quickly, they’re clearly not really that excited about the position. Look for these warning signs and call out a candidate who doesn’t seem to be as dedicated as you’d expect.

One survey found that almost 40% of candidates have lied to get a job in the past. Keep your eyes peeled for any signs of deception from a candidate – it could save you from heart break later down the line.

Don’t be scared to pull a candidate from the process if you’re spotting any red flags. This candidate-heavy market means finding people with the right skills is easier than before and it’s important to go with a candidate who you believe is 100% committed.

Ask tough questions and probe the answers

To discover if your candidate is a back-out risk, you need to dig into their reason for applying to your job in the first place. The more you dig into a candidate’s motivation, the better chance you have of finding out how keen they really are on the role.

Ask your candidate why they applied, what other jobs they’re applying to or interviewing for and what is their preferred opportunity and why.

You need to do this throughout the entire process (not just at the start), so you can detect if they have another job opportunity as early as possible.

Consistently questioning your candidate keeps them accountable throughout the process too. If you’re asking your candidate whether they have other opportunities on the table on every call, it makes it difficult for them to spring a surprise offer on you at the last minute.

Keep selling the job to them

signs candidate is uncommitted_bad_rejectCandidates might be telling you they’re 100% committed to your job but in reality, they have some doubts.

So make time to keep selling your job to the candidate throughout the process. Remind them how it fits what they’re looking for, so you’re constantly reassuring them that the job is the right fit for them.

Focus on factors that are important to candidates in an unpredictable market like this one. For example:

  • Job security
  • The company’s financial stability during Covid-19
  • The company’s future plans to rebuild after Covid-19
  • The growth opportunities in the role.

Candidates are feeling insecure right now, so consistently reassuring them that your job is a good (and safe) choice will prevent cold feet.

Move quickly

You know the saying - time kills deals! Don’t give your candidate time to shop around for other options. Push the process forward as fast as possible so you can lock down great candidates quickly.

A fast process not only means that you can place a candidate before they get a chance to apply to any competitors, but it also flatters candidates, making them more likely to accept your job!

You need a strong candidate sourcing strategy in place - even in this candidate-short market. Download the eBook to learn how to source the best, most-committed candidates.

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Alan McFadden

Alan is the Associate Director of Growth at Firefish. An agency recruiter in a former life, he loves helping recruiters find ways to recruit smarter.

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