Is there anything more frustrating in recruitment than candidates dropping off after an offer has been made? According to one distraught Director of HR, candidate backtracking can cost a team months of effort. Not to mention the cost of the 'almost hire'.
Cost of 'almost hire' = actual cash pay-out like sourcing cost + assessment cost + background verification cost + opportunity cost*.
*This starts accruing right from the time when a position falls vacant though the hiring process till the time the recruited person becomes fully productive for the company.
In many cases, recruiters go through the arduous process of sourcing relevant talent, and spend hours improving the candidate’s experience, only to be left empty handed.
We wanted to find out why this kept happening. So we dove into all offers made via Belong where candidates chose not to join, between Oct'15 and Jan'16, to find out the various reasons these offers weren't accepted.
Here's what we found.
We found that 55% of candidates decline offers based on a mismatch of expectations that are in fact, completely preventable.
Understandably, there are some things that even the best recruiter can't control - a candidate's loyalty to their current company, restrictive M&A terms, personal reasons that don't allow them to move to a new location, etc.
But how do HR teams improve their processes to avoid the preventable drop offs?
We spoke to a couple of our top performers, Siddharth Varman, Senior Manager Talent Acquisition at DailyHunt and Nishanth BS, Talent Merchant at Ola Cabs to find out the secrets behind their high Offer to Joining Ratios, and here are the key takeaways.
1. Start With The Role
This may seem like a no-brainer to most HR professionals, but the way that this is approached by Ola and DailyHunt are truly what makes all the difference. According to Nishanth of Ola Cabs, ensuring that the candidate understands their role within their respective team as well as within the larger organization works better than simply explaining the technicalities of the role itself.
DailyHunt's Siddharth Varman takes it one step further.
It’s a mercenary market out there and each candidate wants to know that they will have an impact in any role they choose to join, so that’s what we highlight.
- Siddharth Varman, DailyHunt
Very often, the role is described to the candidate, but rarely is their impact addressed.
Siddarth took his cue from Motorola, saying "When Motorola took potential candidates out on the street to find people using mobile phones, it helped candidates understand the end result of all their hard work - they were making people’s lives easier. And that’s the most powerful way to engage with a candidate."
2. Set Expectations At The Earliest
When candidates drop off at later stages because of basic mismatch in expectations, it should raise a red flag in your interview process. This means that vital information about the job like salary, leave policies or appraisal practices are either not being communicated, or are being miscommunicated leading to confusion later.
Nishanth stressed that the team at Ola are quick to clarify certain policies at the outset, including their fixed internal title heirarchy and their increment structure, and this acts as an immediate check on a candidate's expecations. The candidate is given a deep understanding of the Ola culture - this could mean everything from work styles, employee culture, release cycles and even work timings!
3. Identify Inefficiencies In The Interview Process
When Siddharth joined DailyHunt, they had a respectable offer to joining ratio that varied between 40% - 50%. It now sits comfortably above 60%, and this is in no small part due to Siddharth's efforts to fix some parts of their interview process. The most important was the duration of the interview itself. He found that the longer the interview process, the higher the chance of drop off.
So they took proactive steps to minimize the disruption in any candidate’s life by cutting time off this process. Sometimes long notice periods can cause confusion in a candidate’s mind and give their employer time to make a better offer. The shorter interview process can help some candidates make quicker decisions.
If your HR team has a consistently low joining ratio, it's probably time to re-evaluate your entire interview process. Identify recurring points of candidate drop off to understand 'gaps' and inefficiencies in the candidate experience. Small improvements to your candidate's experience can make all the difference when it comes to getting a candidate hooked.
4. Give Them A Sense Of Ownership
Speaking of getting a candidate hooked, there is no better way to maintain a candidate's interest than offering them a sense of ownership even before they join. DailyHunt incorporates this concept in their interview process, asking direct questions like:
- What impact will the candidate have on the product and user experience?
- What user challenges can the candidate identify and fix?
- What are some of the ways through which the candidate would improve the product?
In fact, they contact candidates and encourage them to download the app and take it for a spin before the interviews begin.
At Ola too, the team keeps candidates informed of company news and product updates in the key post-offer stage, so they feel like they are part of the team even before they join.
5. Communicate. Communicate. Communicate.
The hottest HR buzz word of 2015 was candidate experience. As Nishanth succintly put it - ensuring great experiences is not a new phenomenon, and it's not rocket science.
At Ola, we try to make a series of personal interactions that add up to a great experience.
- Nishanth B.S, Ola Cabs
For example, if there is any tech or program used by the team that the candidate is unfamiliar with, information is sent over to give them a seamless transition when they join.
In DailyHunt as well, the team makes sure to keep an open line of communication with the candidate through their offer to joining period. Actually, multiple lines of communication! They encourage various members of their team to reach out and welcome the candidate, keeping it informal but helpful.
Instead of staying inert and hoping traditional methods would produce better results, both companies have adapted their interview process to suit the mindset of the modern candidate.
It's clear that the main differentiator for a high offer to joining ratio was the level of thought behind the interview process. Instead of staying inert and hoping traditional methods would produce better results, both companies have adapted their interview process to suit the mindset of the modern candidate. While improving candidate experience has been a hot trend across the industry, these interviews gave us a unique insight into how companies are now going big and small to close these hires.
Whether it’s showing candidates the big picture - the vision of the organization and the candidate’s own impact in furtherance of that vision, or small gestures - finding accommodation and having multiple points of contact - it’s understanding the candidate’s ambitions and struggles that can make all the difference.