Accepting the offer but not joining, how irresponsible?! Or is it?

Over the past few weeks I have been speaking with several HR leaders to find out what are the challenges they face. While attrition continues to be challenge,

Everyone expressed their frustration about candidates not joining after accepting an offer.

Obvioulsy they are perplexed. The candidate attends several rounds of interviews,accepts the offer, says he’s joining and then bang on the date of joining he doest show up. To make matters worse he stops answering calls. Reactions vary from:

“It bloody beats me, I just don’t get it”

“Very irresponsible, this new generation”

“Wonder what we are doing wrong”

“Its causing me a lot of grief and my expenses to hire are sky rocketing”

“We have to stop this, there has to be a way”

What they do agree on is that this cant go on like this. Its too damaging.

My heart goes out to all the recruiters out there who spend insane amount of time sourcing relevant talent, then spending a lot of energy in trying to improve the candidate’s experience, only to be left dejected and having to start all over again

AceNgage conducts Renege analysis / Post offer follow engagements, and this is what we have found:

Broadly 43 % of the reasons for not joining are controllable, ie Organisations should have either not hired them or shoud have spent more time in ensuring that the candidate is clear about the role and the advantages of joining the Organisation.

Are you selling the company enough, it’s a sale after all !

So what can companies do differently:

Quality of the interview process:

Irrespective of whether you make an offer or not, all candidates should walk out with a ‘Wow’ feeling. They should feel convinced that this is the kind of company they would like to work at and these are the people they would like to work with. Their interactions with everyone matter.

The candidate should feel that people in the Company genuinely care.

While Salary is important, I am of the firm belief that it’s the role that finally matters. Recruiters should spend a significant amount of time discussing the role, impact on the overall business and the future career prospects. All 3 are equally important.

During our attrition analysis we find that close to 80% of employees who leave within the first 3 months, leave due to an expectation mismatch at the time of recruitment. Being absolutely clear about the role and other details may significantly reduce early attrition.

You’d rather not have the candidate not join, than join and leave!

Candidate engagement

Normally there could be anywhere between 1 to 3 months from the time the offer is given to the time the candidate joins. This part is very critical. High engagement is required to address any ambiguities in the minds of the candidiate.

Rather than wait for the candidiate to reach out to us, it helps to be pro active

Keep the engagement going with the candidate to address any issues.Look for signs and signals of disinterest. They are normally very evident, There could be other tricks that you could use to check if the candidiate is still scouting for offers.

Continuously sell the Organisation. Reiterate the advantages of joining and the opportunities that exist. Let the candidiates feel that you genuiunely care and you very much want them to join. Increase ownership. The candidates should know that they matter. Some organisations even go to the extent of keeping the candidates informed of all thats happening at the company along with key product updates in the post-offer stage. This adds significant value as the candidate now feels like they are part of the team even before they join.

Some other things that you could consider are:

  • Inviting them over to the office to get a first hand experience
  • Sending flowers home, speaking with family members
  • Meeting with their Manager to increase comfort levels and use the opportunity to discuss the role too
  • Invite them over for any company events and functions

Having a well implemented candidate engagement program has 3 major advantages.

  1. Ambiguities in the candidates mind, can be addressed proactively
  2. Early knowledge of the candidate not joining
  3. All things considered equal, candidates pick up companies who engage better

Its not a lost case yet and we should ensure that it doesn’t become one. Please drop a note to let me know what you think and share your own views, experiences and suggestions on how we can improve joining ratios