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Caroline R.03.04.20239 min read

Losing Candidates in Recruitment? 10 Creative Ideas to Stop the Loss

Losing Candidates in Recruitment? 10 Creative Ideas to Stop the Loss

"Left, left, left..right, left, RIGHT, it’s a MATCH!"”

That Tinder profile’s quite got something! You instantly start wondering what they might be like in person. But should you write first or wait for them to start the chat?

Dating apps, like Tinder, make the user somewhat like a recruiter: assessing the qualities of the candidate and making a great first impression on your romantic vis-á-vis. After all, even the most promising match runs the risk of petering out.

It might be due to a lack of communication from both sides, an overwhelming choice of offers, the non-binding nature of the format, or something they wrote that put you off. But just like in the rapidly paced dating world, recruiters have to employ the most subtle tactics to avoid losing candidates in the recruitment process. Not losing candidates along the way is among the most challenging endeavors for recruiters facing the ongoing war for talent.

On the other side, 73% of job seekers say that the process of looking for a job is one of the most stressful events in life.

Thus, why not change the process into an exhilarating happening?

What's more, the candidate’s experience throughout the recruitment process will determine the overall company image; this, in turn, affects their decision to accept the job offer or the way they speak about the company to friends and family.

Leaving candidates with a bad impression has two effects:


Keep your candidate on board with these 10 action steps:


greased lightning


1. Move like Greased Lightning!

A swift recruitment process makes all the difference.

According to Dr. John Sullivan, an HR thought leader based in Silicon Valley, top candidates are off the market within 10 days, while the average time to hire is 27 days --depending on industry. In AI and nursing, even a one-day hiring custom is evolving. With these statistics, it’s clear top candidates will be long gone if you don’t speed up the recruitment process above the average!

Remove speed bumps from the process, like busy hiring managers by setting up a “hire by date”. Or back-and-forth scheduling of interviews by employing a self-scheduling software. It might be worth risking a glimpse over to your colleagues from the sales department, who already apply such tools. Or implementing a process map that identifies the average time required at each step; then focus on steps that take the longest and consider automation.

Besides a fast recruitment process, 66% of candidates want to hear more from employees, while 83% of candidates also state it would greatly improve the overall experience if employers provided a clear timeline of the hiring process. Give updates along the process, such as a simple email saying "Hi, we’re currently checking the state of your application. We’ll report back to you by noon tomorrow.". Or create a digital progress meter denoting the candidate’s position and the time left within each stage. There’s many creative ways of letting your candidates know where they stand. Most important is you let them thrive on information.

2. Treat candidates like customers

In times where well-accomplished professionals are so charmingly wooed, you might wish to rethink the way you “contact your matches”. Sullivan advises treating candidates like customers --coining the term “white glove treatment”. This could include a CRM process adapted for your candidates. Most importantly, it could mean a personalized treatment of the following:

  • Your correspondence should be on eye-level and your interview exciting. As the importance of a first impression works bidirectionally, your interview should be more like a professional conversation between equals where you spend half the time selling.
  • Don’t miss a chance to emphasize how they will contribute to the company. Showcase how their work will make a difference-- which reveals to them how much you value them as a candidate. Let a senior member make the call for the final job offer or introduce the candidate to other team members to hear “the real story” of your company culture.
  • Give fast, personal feedback and ask for theirs. This way, the candidate feels valued. And what is more, you learn which parts of the recruitment process require improvement.

3. Keep it simple

Applying for the right companies is complicated and stressful enough, so don’t make it more of a maze! Keep it simple and intuitive. An aesthetically appealing job posting with essential information, a user-friendly online application form, and a welcome email lowers the threshold to apply.
Something else to consider: the candidate application rate goes up by 34% when a job post includes a video.

In such, you may present the office and team and address applicants personally. You can easily upload it on YouTube and link it in your job post or install it directly on your website.

When creating the job posting, try to recall how often you postponed a task only because the process was unnecessarily complicated and confusing ---like showing up at the residents’ registration office.

4. Choose your job description carefully

Your job description will be the first “applicant filter” in the process. Thus, make sure not to filter all the applicants by only including minimum requirements and additional preferred factors. Don’t choose unnecessarily high-experience levels as prerequisite; they don’t predict new-hire success, but actually decrease diversity.

Sacrificing some time and thought to the job description will help avoid reopening your search at a later time in the process -- as this can be a massive time killer.

Your description should contain unambiguous information, a valid task preview and showcase company’s values (strong employer brand via e.g. social media and website). Also, be aware of tailor-made wording when attracting a certain candidate group --as words like dominant, assertive and ninja will likely turn away female applicants.

5. Accept initial applications

Stay competitive by considering initial applications and keeping in contact with top candidates via LinkedIn or Xing. Also, employ a tool that seizes such initial reach-outs, as more than 73% of job seekers today are only passively looking for a job. If you are certain to have found a top candidate, be also willing to “change the job” by customizing it. Maybe tasks originally envisaged for the open position can be taken over by in-house employees and others directed to the new candidate. Most important is you stay open to suggestions and alternative ways of applications.

6. Tell candidates what they get paid

Frankly, there’s probably few exceptions to the rule that people just don’t like asking for money. Even fundraisers have multiple strategies to avoid the actual question of how much they’re getting paid. Furthermore, top candidates usually know what they’re worth. Thus, recruiters should necessarily avoid bargaining on their worthiness --as it is essentially equal to bargaining on their pride.

So try to be transparent about the respective job payment from the beginning and start by considering attractive counter offers your candidate could be lured away by. If your company just can’t afford to raise resources for employees at the time being, be understanding towards your candidate and offer alternative compensation:

"We know it might be somewhat less to what you were getting paid in your last job, but we would very much value having you on the team and will renegotiate with C-level after probation [or giving non-financial benefit]."

7. Highlight employer benefits

Sure, reasonable payment is the basis for attracting top candidates. But which benefits --beyond money-- do convince candidates to choose your company?

A survey by the American Express Small Business Monitor reveals that 70% of employees care for flexible working hours (40% for work-at-home options) and 31% for career development opportunities. Moreover, candidates consider company team events, pick-your-own-project or health insurance benefits. Just as everyday rewards like gym options, snacks and coffee. All in all, candidates want to feel valued holistically. This includes body, mind and soul. And a respect for their individual desires. Zen.


8. Initial contact via email

No one likes being called by their prospective employer while sitting down for a beer with friends or -worse even- being in a meeting with their current boss.

So for initial contact, just stick to the written format of a good old email. The advantages of such being a location-independent delivery and fast response time as well as no required immediate action -so you can be sure not to stress your candidate beyond reason.

9. Gather candidate experience

Data, data, data. It’s all about the numbers in order to stay competitive. And so even in candidate experience. Just like in user experience and sales, don’t miss a chance to gather feedback from your applicants and new hires by using a Candidate Experience Survey.

Ask for applicants feedback proactively and anonymously after having passed through the recruitment process, as well as for potential reasons for dropout. This will not only make candidates feel valued, but certainly provide a data-based approach for a recruitment strategy that is both sustainably efficient and adapted to your applicant target group.

10. Employ an effective onboarding process!

Last in the process of recruitment --but certainly not least-- is the onboarding of your candidate. Such starts when the offer is accepted and lasts until the end of the notice period. Thus quitting within the notice period, even after having accepted the initial job, will still mean losing your candidate before safely joining the company.

To avoid this, keep onboarding exciting and interactive to allow candidates to feel engaged and valued. Start feeding information about in-house structure and responsibility before the first working day. Put a mentor by their side and make them feel welcome on the team. An employee that has to for everything---from where the toilet and coffee machine are to the location of relevant files---is both arduous and ineffective. So, have the drop on your candidate in showing them and thus making sure they get the good start they signed up for.

In summary, by following these 10 action steps on Tinder:

...respond quickly, highlight your gains, make contacting you easy, learn from feedback, choose your account description with care and accept "initial applicants" (outside those solitary evening hours)...

You will soon be sipping piña coladas in a sparkling pool of matches.

[Maybe though, you should save steps 6 and 8 for recruiting only...]

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