You’ve looked at dozens of applications, gone through several rounds of interviews, and sent your top candidate an offer. The process is almost done! But just because you’re nearing the finish line doesn’t mean you can rest on your laurels. In iHire’s State of Online Recruiting report, 46.8% of employers said “unresponsive candidates” is a top recruiting challenge, and that applies even after an offer is accepted. If that’s happened to you, you know how frustrating it can be to start over again. Is there anything you can do to combat candidate “ghosting?”
In this month’s Ask an HR Pro, we asked Chrisanne Bowden, iHire Senior HR Consultant, how to keep candidates engaged after an offer is accepted. She provided her top candidate engagement ideas to ensure everything goes smoothly and the new employee shows up on their first day.
“Making the offer – from an engagement perspective – is just the start,” Bowden said. “We need to make sure the offer is accepted, and the person stays engaged until they join the organization and beyond.”
Bowden recommended making a contingent verbal offer as soon as you know which candidate you want, even if you’re not quite prepared to send an offer letter. In a candidate-driven market, letting the prospective employee know that an offer letter is coming can put you ahead of the game. It also gives them more time to consider the opportunity.
Unless they completely reject the job out of hand, you then want to send them an official offer letter as quickly as possible. Don’t underestimate the importance of the offer letter. It provides the candidate the information they need to make an informed decision, especially if they’re considering multiple jobs. In addition, not receiving an offer letter in a timely manner can affect how they respond.
Congratulations, they’ve accepted your offer! You’re likely just days away from the employee joining your team, but remember, you could still get ghosted. At this stage, getting the hiring manager involved is key, Bowden advised. Having them contact the candidate directly and keeping the lines of communication open will benefit both the candidate and the company in case something comes up.
“I recommend that you have the hiring manager reach out to the candidate once the position has been accepted,” Bowden said. “That will allow them to form a relationship, and the hiring manager can answer any questions or make clarifications if necessary.”
You should also be prepared in case the prospective employee requires a longer period of notice. In most cases, two weeks is all that’s needed (less if they’re not currently employed). However, for some higher-level positions, that may be pushed back to three weeks or even longer. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, though, and you should do as much as possible to accommodate their request.
“In most cases, I think you should honor that,” Bowden suggested. “It shows you a lot about their sense of personal responsibility, and being too strict about their start date could negatively affect how they perceive you.”
To keep candidate engagement high during a longer period of notice, you can schedule informal chats, either virtually or in-person over coffee or lunch. Again, this will provide opportunities to build relationships and allows the prospective employee to learn more about your organization and ask in-depth questions.
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Engagement doesn’t end when the employee starts at their new position. To make sure they stick with your organization, Bowden said it’s a good idea to arrange informal team gatherings and one-on-one meetings to acclimate the new hires to the company. Going a step further, you can designate a current employee as a peer partner to help them get settled, too.
“At iHire, we assign a ‘buddy’ to the individual who serves as an extra resource or mentor,” Bowden said. “Not as a manager, but someone who can help with questions and help them feel comfortable.”
Going that extra mile to ensure the new hire is secure in their new position will set them up for success and give you peace of mind that they’re more likely to stick around. For more candidate and employee engagement tips, head to our Employer Resource Center.