Recruiters: how to stop your top candidates being lured away

Great candidates are like gold for any recruiter. So, in a competitive market for talent, you want to make sure they don’t turn cold or become lured away by another offer. Here are the questions to ask and steps to take to ensure your candidates stay on board for the entire hiring process.

Ask the tricky questions

Putting forward hard questions at the start is crucial to unearthing a candidate’s drivers and circumstances, Matthew Sampson, Managing Director at Aspect Personnel says. “It is essential to understand where a job seeker is at in the process, not just physically, but emotionally as well,” he says.  He explains it’s important to know whether a candidate has updated their SEEK Profile or interviewed with prospective employers, as well as what prompted them to look for work. You should also ask if their current employer could do anything to re-engage them in their role. Sampson says a ‘yes’ answer to this question is a red flag for a counteroffer. “Especially if the solution is as simple as a pay rise or the ability to work from home,” he says.

Know what your candidates want and need

Understanding what factors matter to candidates and tailoring an offer to fit them could stop you from losing them, Paul Hallam, Executive Director at Six Degrees Executive says. “Offers can be won or lost due to seemingly peripheral details that best align the client and candidate requirements,” he says. Hallam says keeping the lines of communication open is also key. “Especially for understanding the progress, likelihood and preference for any other offers,” he adds.

Time is of the essence

Nobody likes an unnecessarily drawn-out hiring process. Keeping things moving at a reasonable pace can help prevent candidates from losing interest. Leaving too much time between interviews could particularly turn candidates cold, Sampson says.

Hallam says communicating at key steps through the hiring process will also help manage candidate expectations around timing.

Be across the market

Knowing the market is key, James Liley, Vice President ANZ at Frank Recruitment Group says, “Your candidate is trusting you as a market specialist to represent them and secure the best opportunity,” Liley says.  “Explain to your candidates how you intend to deliver your service then deliver what you have said you will.”

With information so accessible now, it’s likely candidates will have opinions on prospective employers before they even come to you—so you must have an in-depth knowledge of your clients and their business. “If you want to demonstrate how a client promotes a healthy work-life balance, you need to provide evidence and specific initiatives they’ve implemented to support this,” Sampson explains.

Maintain a professional relationship

Supporting your candidate through their resignation and the onboarding process can be valuable, Liley says. “Keep in touch during their notice period and coach them through any buyer’s remorse,” he says.  The same goes for when they start their new position. “Celebrate their first day especially because your placed candidate is now likely to become a buying client,” Liley says.

Always have a back-up plan

Despite best-laid plans, sometimes there’ll be variables you’re unaware of and circumstances out of your control—particularly if candidates change their mind or accept a role you didn’t know about. Whatever happens, be sure to have a healthy contingency plan.  Liley says if a candidate does accept an alternative role, you should take time to understand why. “Learn from the experience by pinpointing what exactly you missed,” he says.