There’s been a 20% increase in job seekers dropping out of the hiring process over the past year, according to the Washington Post. That’s a major shift and makes one thing abundantly clear — in a tight talent market, candidates can afford to be picky and aren’t afraid to shift gears quickly.
To help you avoid candidate drop out, we’ve put together a list of common reasons candidates leave the hiring process — plus simple strategies to keep them engaged.
1. Your job titles aren’t resonating with candidates
Just because your company calls the job one thing, that doesn’t mean other companies call it by the same name. Spend some time searching for similar job titles and noting any variations that come up frequently in the results.
And before you reach out, take the time to read the candidate’s profile to ensure they match the requirements, not just the job title, to improve your chances of a positive response.
It’s also worth considering that some candidates may not want to move into an identical role at a different company. Many people take a new job to move up, not sideways. Depending on the needs of the role, it may be worth searching for staff in more junior positions — they’ll likely be thrilled to be considered for a loftier role.
2. You’re not looking past the first few pages of your search results
Think about it: Your competitors are probably searching for the exact same keywords that you are. And since no one has the time to sift through 100 pages of results, they’re reaching to the same people that you are — the people they come across first. Those candidates may be sick of hearing from recruiters at this point, which can hurt your response rate.
Luckily, there’s a simple fix to this problem: skip a few pages. In fact, sourcing master Glen Cathey recommends “starting from the bottom” — begin with the very last page of results and work your way forward.
3. Your job posts are missing the information that candidates care about most
Too many job descriptions are focused solely on what the company wants from its candidates. But hiring is a two-way street — and candidates want to know what they’ll get out of the role too. If the job description doesn’t do this, they may not bother to apply.
LinkedIn research found that the parts of the job description candidates care about most are details around compensation and benefits. They also want to hear what the day-to-day experience will be like, of course. But first, they need to know if the salary will be financially feasible for them.
Sharing a salary range on your job posts helps set expectations up front. This can ultimately increase the likelihood that a candidate will accept an offer, since there’s no chance of them being caught off guard by a salary that’s lower than they expected. It can also show your company’s commitment to transparency and ensuring fair pay, which can build trust among historically underpaid candidate pools.
4. Your emails are too vague and don’t clearly explain next steps
Avoid the temptation to send vague messages like, “we’ll be in touch soon.” Without establishing a clear timeline and next steps, it’s easy for candidates to become disengaged — making them more likely to drop out of the process or accept an offer elsewhere.
Be proactive. Instead of asking the candidates when they might be free for a chat, suggest a few times that could work to keep things moving. When you can’t give them an answer right away, tell them they’ll hear from you within a certain number of days — and keep your promise.
By keeping the candidate informed about what will happen next, you incentivize them to stick around.
5. You’re not gathering feedback throughout the hiring process and learning from past mistakes
To continuously improve the candidate experience and keep people engaged and invested in the process, it’s essential to keep track of what candidates are saying about you.
Read your reviews online, and have honest conversations with new hires to learn about their experience. You should also try to gather feedback from all candidates who go through the hiring process, not just the people you eventually hire. This will make it easier to spot areas for improvement, helping you address them before they can become bigger problems.