Why Did Your Applicant Drop Out?

Goodbye Dream Candidate – Why Did Your Good Applicant Drop Out?

Picture the scene: you’ve found a great candidate (or your recruitment agency has), you think it is all going well – they have responded to your advert, performed really well in the interview, and you look all set to offer them the position.

Then the worst happens: you experience the cold shoulder, no replies to your emails, and before you know it, that ideal candidate has officially dropped out of your recruitment process.

But why did it happen? Was it the role? Or worse still – your candidate experience?

When your staff recruitment doesn’t go as planned, it can dramatically impact your company as you wait to fill your vacancy.

For many recruiters, the reason why the candidate dropped out is not always clear. It can be a common situation for some jobseekers to simply provide a generic reason why they didn’t want the job; whilst others fall off the radar completely, leaving only good guess work to find out what happened.

Here at Webrecruit our in-house team of Account Managers and Resourcers work closely on a day-to-day basis with candidates and as such, have spotted a few common trends amongst the reasoning behind candidate drop-outs.

In this blog we look at three common situations where a candidate may drop-out of the recruitment process, and advise what you can do to your own process to ensure you minimise this risk.


Type 1: Before Interview


Application forms

Lengthy application forms can be a serious hindrance for busy jobseekers. We often see clients (especially in the public sector) asking candidates, who have already applied for a job with them, to complete an additional application form containing questions they have already received the answers for.

Application forms provide an excellent way to collect candidate data in a structured and uniformed way, and their relevancy and how user-friendly they are, must be considered (and balanced) when collecting applicants’ data.

Tip: prior to launching your recruitment campaign with your recruitment agency it is important to always remember to audit your application form from a candidate’s point of view.


Lack of acknowledgement

Everyone likes to be acknowledged. After all, the effort it requires to invest time in crafting a CV and run through an application form can be considerable.

The theme of acknowledgment in recruitment is always a much debated subject, and a simple acknowledgement email can make all the difference to a candidate’s perception of a business. Failing to acknowledge their efforts can leave them feeling like you aren’t all that interested in their application.

Tip: it is important to remember that even if a candidate isn’t right for the role and you don’t wish to take their application further at this time – what is to say they won’t be the candidate you dream of in the future?

We advise to keep them updated with the news that they have not been successful, and communicate to them that they will be added to your talent pool for potential other roles.


Misleading Job Advertisement

Making your job as desirable as possible is important, but with this being said, it is important to also ensure your job advertisement is factually correct. Steer clear of vague job titles, loosely explained day-to-day duties and unclear requirements in order to manage expectations.

There’s a saying: job adverts sell and job descriptions tell, but this doesn’t mean up selling to excessive levels. Over-selling your role in a job advertisement might result in a high volume of applications, but when your candidates find out the truth about what the role really entails, this high number of applications is likely to go hand-in-hand with an equally high number of dropouts.

When launching your staff recruitment campaign, ensure your recruitment agency has an in-house copywriting team. The copywriters will be highly skilled in conveying an enticing, but factually correct, overview of your role.


Type 2: After Interview


First impressions go both ways

There is little point in hiding the fact that employers judge candidates on first impressions. But with this, hiring managers should keep in mind the expression that people who live in glass houses shouldn’t throw stones. Your first impression given to your candidate should be as well considered as theirs is to you.

How do you leave a positive lasting impression? Simple tips include looking smart, ensuring your candidate’s name is front of mind and not going into too much detail of any office politics.


The small print

Candidates who drop out will often do so due to finding out the job is not as they had imagined based on the information advertised. When a candidate attends an interview this is when they find out, in a lot more detail, the intricacies of the role.

This is why honesty is important from the get go. Avoid getting carried away with such things as up selling the office environment (a couple of plants and a red sofa does not lend itself to be described as a creative and vibrant workplace). When your dream candidate arrives they will see it first hand, and this simple detail can cause an instant negative impression.


Delay in feedback

Speedy feedback post-interview is imperative for successfully snapping up a desirable candidate. If there is a delay in progressing a candidate through the stages of an application, keep them updated of this. Remember, these candidates might be attending numerous interviews which could mean you run the risk of a competitor offering them a position before you.

Remember the more updated your candidates are, the less chance there is that they will lose interest.


Type 3: Offer Stage


Plan for the future

It is at this final hurdle that you want to ensure you have thought about how you can come out on top to your candidate. Remember you could likely face multiple competition from other companies offering them a new role, as well as their current employers fighting to keep them.

Consider the longevity of the role you are advertising, ensure you can offer your candidate a clear progression route and the opportunity for training and development within your company.


Aim high

If you want the best for your business and you feel this candidate is the best, aim high. Consider giving yourself some wiggle room from the get go by budgeting in advancing the salary, or benefits if needs be.

A big no in staff recruitment is advertising a role and then offering it at a lower salary, this is likely to greatly insult candidates and make them instantly feel undervalued.


Play it cool

If the negotiations start getting tough, don’t forget to play it cool. This is likely to be a difficult decision for the candidate: change is daunting and people will often choose to stick to what they know so at this stage, don’t push your offer too strongly and never put your dream candidate on the spot.

Present your offer to them clearly and let them go away and take some time to think it over. Also, ensure to relate to them that you understand how difficult this is for them and how much you want them to make the best choice for them; be patient. At the end of the day if you push them into choosing you then you greatly increase the changes of losing them down the line, by which point you will have spent time investing in them and you will end up back to square one.



Throughout the stages of staff recruitment, there are numerous measures that can be taken to keep your candidates informed and engaged but, ultimately when it comes to preventing candidate dropouts, 3 things are key: courtesy, transparency and honesty.


Suffering from a high rate of dropouts? The team of resourcers here are Webrecruit can help; our highly trained team work closely with clients at all stages of the recruitment process to keep candidates engaged and help to minimise candidate dropouts. Request a brochure of Webrecruit’s recruitment services today.

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