You Have an Accepted Job Offer? That’s Great, But Don’t Stop Recruiting!
Have any employers encountered a situation where a candidate accepts a job offer, but then rescinds their acceptance before their scheduled start date? Well, you’re not alone if this is the case.
It is becoming more and more common that candidates accept a job offer, and then back out before starting. Or possibly they just don’t show up on their first day. When this happens, if you have ceased your recruiting efforts for that open position, you have now lost up to a month or more of precious time and are back to square one.
This is not a good position for a company to be in.
In a May 2023 survey of 3,500 candidates by Gartner, Inc., 50% of respondents accepted a job offer over a 12-month period but backed out prior to starting. According to the survey, 35% of candidates reported they received four or more offers during their last job search. And among almost 2,000 candidates who recently accepted an offer, 47% said they were still open to other job offers after accepting a position.
“Competition for talent remains steep – our research shows 59% of HR leaders expect more talent competition in the next three months,” said Jamie Kohn, Senior Director at Gartner. “We are seeing many candidates uncommitted to their new employer and keeping one foot in the job market.”
What Can Companies Do to Increase the Chances of the Candidate Actually Starting?
Although nothing can totally prevent this from happening, the following are some suggestions (aside from the obvious – offering the best possible compensation* package) that may lessen the chances a candidate will accept another job offer after accepting yours. *compensation = salary + bonuses/commissions + benefits.
1. Offer flexibility whenever possible. Hybrid work schedules are increasingly common now and can be a good compromise for both employers and employees. If you don’t offer any remote or hybrid options, you may have job acceptance but – if the candidate is ideally looking for that flexibility – they will most likely keep looking for it, and you may lose them when they find it.
If hybrid/remote work is not possible for your company, is it feasible to implement a “core hour” schedule? For example, everyone is in the office between 9:00 AM – 3:00 PM, but those wanting an early schedule can work 6:00 or 6:30 AM – 3:00 PM, and those who prefer a later schedule can get their 8 hours in starting at 9:00 AM.
The “lunch hour” is also becoming a thing of the past. I have found that when offering people the choice of a schedule with taking a 30-minute or 1-hour lunch, not a single person has chosen a 1-hour lunch. So, why not let your employees leave ½ hour sooner instead of making them “kill time” during the lunch hour? Having some staff work 7:30 AM – 4:00 PM, 8:00 AM – 4:30 PM, and 8:30 AM – 5:00 PM ensures the full workday is always covered.
2. Stay engaged with your new hire after the job offer acceptance and before the start date. Candidates are drawn to companies with a good culture and who offer a sense of belonging. What better way to start demonstrating this than before they even start? Invite them to a company event, or to a lunch where they can meet some members of the team who weren’t involved in the interview process before they start.
3. Be organized and communicate your plan for onboarding and training – well in advance of the start date.
Make sure that all hiring contingencies (reference checks, background checks, MVR, etc.) are completed prior to starting and, ideally, prior to the candidate giving their notice at their current job. Of course, you can make continued employment contingent upon receiving positive results back on those checks, but how awkward would it be to actually have to end someone’s employment relationship after it had already begun?
Communicate with your new hire prior to their start date what the plan is for their first day and for their training schedule. This will make them feel welcomed and more at ease than walking into their first day unsure of what will happen.
4. Keep recruiting! No matter how confident you are that your potential new employee will be there on their scheduled start date, it’s wise to just make it a policy to not let up on your recruiting efforts until your new employee starts. It doesn’t mean you’re pessimistic; just realistic.
ASA Staffing Today, 8/24/2023, “Gartner HR Survey Finds Within 12-Month Period, Half of Candidates Have Accepted a Job Offer – and Then Backed Out Before Starting”. Gartner Press Release, August 23, 2023.
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