When I meet a potential client for the first time and ask them what struggles they’ve had hiring people in the past, they overwhelming tell me the same nightmare scenario over and over: they find a competent candidate with the right skills, the right education, and the right attitude to thrive in the company. The candidate leaves the interview with a smile on their face, excited to receive an offer and join the team. A week later HR delivers the offer and then…crickets.
The candidate never calls back. Maybe they send a one-sentence email saying they’ve taken another position, but most of the time they ghost you like a teenager ghosts their crush from summer camp. It’s hard not to feel a little jilted. It’s impossible not to wonder why.
Why are you losing candidates?
Overwhelmingly, clients tell me they assume (without feedback from the candidate) that they lost the placement because they couldn’t offer enough money. In my opinion, this is fundamentally not true. Candidates don’t turn down jobs because of compensation.
Luckily, I have some research to back me up. A lot of it. A 2013 report from the Harvard Business Review describes a meta-analysis by Tim Judge and his colleagues who studied over 120 years of research on employee motivation. Judge and Co. concluded that compensation is not the primary motivator for candidates or employees. To many of us, this just sounds wrong, but the numbers don’t care. My own experience is consistent with these findings. Compensation is rarely the deciding factor when a candidate accepts an offer.
So if compensation isn’t the motivating factor in why candidates are rejecting your job offer, what is?
Communication is respect
I have worked hundreds of placements and worked with every kind of manufacturing or supply chain candidate from delivery drivers and machine operators to C-level executives. Nothing kills a candidate’s interest like poor communication from the hiring manager, HR, or your recruiter.
Think about this: You’re trying to convince your chosen candidate that despite whatever other offers they might receive, your company is the one at which they’ll feel appreciated and respected. Your company is where their skills and ambition will find a perfect fit. You are the people that will treat them right. But this message is undermined when you neglect proactive communication through the recruiting, interview, and onboarding processes.
Lapses in communication create opportunities to lose the candidate. No matter how attractive the benefits, location, or salary, a candidate’s interest in the position depreciates exponentially every day that goes by without a phone call or an email. The longer a candidate wonders if you want them or not, the more they’ll consider whether they really want you.
When a client tells me they lose candidates at the offer stage I ask how long it took to make the offer. Then I ask how many times they followed up before making the offer. Did they tell all the candidates when they should expect to hear from the hiring manager?
You have one week before candidate interest drops precipitously. If you wait 6 days to call a candidate after an interview, your chances of placing them have decreased by half. If two weeks go by without a call from you, most candidates (even if they take the job) have formed a less than ideal impression of your company. In 15 years of recruiting, I’ve seen this prove true time and again.
The status quo is the enemy of progress
Good communication strategies start at the top and they start from inside. It’s rare that we encounter a single person or department responsible for bad communication practices. Poor response times, lack of feedback, and ill-defined responsibilities are endemic to any enterprise. Without an intentional communication plan, companies fall back to whatever they’ve been doing for years.
So if you’re losing candidates to poor communication practices, how do we turn that around? It’s simple, though it may not be easy. Positive, proactive communication requires investment and accountability from everyone or it won’t work. By developing a communication plan and getting a commitment from team members to follow it, you can set the standards and expectations for communication and have the tools to keep everyone on track and accountable.
It might be hard to see the ROI on good communication, but I promise you it’s there. Losing candidates costs money. Losing candidates costs time. When a project is delayed by a traveling hiring manager or an inattentive HR rep, efficiency plummets. We all understand the value of processes on the plant floor, why should we neglect processes upstairs?
Three key factors for proactive communication:
- A clear, written communication plan for the recruiting project
- Investment from all stakeholders
- Follow-through and accountability
A successful communication plan should help you avoid mistakes that may cost you a superb candidate. It will also help you identify where the process breaks down and how to improve. We work with manufacturers every day who use cutting-edge processes on the factory floor and efficient revenue strategies in the conference room, but neglect this fundamental piece of the productivity puzzle.
Take the time before the project starts to iron out the details of your communication. You’ll discover that your candidates are more responsive, more enthusiastic, and less likely to accept another offer.
Ready to build your own communication plan? Click here to get our Communication Plan Guide and Template