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Why candidate reneges and declines are on the rise

The surge in competition for the best candidates has made reneges and declines across the hiring and onboarding journey even more painful. So, how can businesses proactively minimise this? Chief Progression Officer at Connectr, Simon Reichwald, explores.

As the race for talent intensifies, engaging, hiring and retaining future hires has become an even more significant challenge for HR leaders, with Glassdoor reporting 55% of employers find retaining staff more difficult than pre-pandemic.

The surge in competition for the best candidates has made reneges and declines across the hiring and onboarding journey even more painful. So, how can businesses proactively minimise this? Chief Progression Officer at Connectr, Simon Reichwald, explores.

Reneges, when a candidate retracts a job offer acceptance, are an expensive cost for businesses in terms of both time and money. Not only does this increase cost per hire and place more demand on already-stretched recruitment teams, but the productivity losses for having to go back out to market are significant.
Similarly, as the candidate-driven market continues, businesses are experiencing a painful rise in the number of offer declines and losing candidates to competitors – leading to similar, costly challenges.
Increasingly, businesses are also experiencing candidate ghosting during the hiring and onboarding journey with an Indeed survey revealing 28% of workers said that they’d ghosted an employer – compared to 19% two years before.
Whether it’s reneges, declines or ghosting – businesses now need to work harder than ever to deliver a hiring experience like no other if they want to maximise and retain their incoming talent.

Why are we seeing a rise in renege and decline rates?
Even during such unprecedented economic times, the market continues to be highly competitive with candidates, especially those with key skills and from under-repreanted talent groups,  having greater choice about where they work than ever before.

Employees continue to move jobs or are considering doing so, and employers are still struggling to fill vacancies with 92% of HR professionals believing the UK job market is experiencing a labour shortage.

What’s more, candidates are aware of their upper-hand and are rightly using it to their advantage – which means employers need to offer more than a good paycheck at the end of the month.

During and since the pandemic, we have seen a significant shift in what employees look for and prioritise from a current or future employer. This includes a new focus on working flexibility, benefits, work-life balance and progression opportunity, and critically wanting to work for a firm where they feel they belong. For many, this falls in equal importance to salary.

If they want to secure the best talent, businesses now need to make clear throughout the hiring process what they can offer candidates in these areas. And with this, they need to deliver an end-to-end, supported, personalised and inspiring recruitment experience so future talent don’t follow their wandering eye.

The cost of reneges to businesses
To effectively launch, manage and deliver a hiring campaign is an incredibly demanding process on internal resource. Sourcing suitable candidates and creating a strong shortlist for vacant roles can take weeks or months, and losing first choices to reneges or declines leads to expensive rehiring efforts.

Recruitment agency fees vary but typically average between 10% and 30% of a new employees’ base salary and a business can be susceptible to fees even if a candidate reneges.
The average recruitment cost of filling a vacancy is estimated at around £4,500. Rehiring raises this cost, plus delays in incoming hires bring with it productivity losses. Understanding the costs of reneges and declines to business is key – find out your result using Connectr’s free calculator here.

So what can businesses do to reduce renege and decline rates?

Be clear, transparent and communicate
Communicating a company’s cultural values has never been so important. Particularly for younger talent, organisations that are community and socially motivated as well as commercially driven are prioritised. Ensure your business culture and mission are clear in recruitment communications so candidates want to work for you from the off.

Critically, share your culture and beliefs in new and engaging ways. Have more interactive content, make it bite-sized and quick to consume to drive up completion rates. Find ways to give candidates authentic insights into your business, teams and roles, so they become more engaged in the business.

It’s about ‘deeds not words’ when it comes to DE&I
Ensure job descriptions are assessed for inclusivity and meaningfully encourage applications from candidates of all backgrounds. Again, younger recruits are prioritising organisations with strong social values. Diversity, Equality, and Inclusion (DE&I) is an important aspect of this.

Look at how you are evidencing your commitment to your values, words are easy, but candidates like consumers are savvy, and see through ‘words’.

Evidence the scope for development & progression for all people within the business. Providing someone with an idea of what opportunities potentially lie ahead helps both incoming hires and existing employees to visualise a progressive career pathway. Set up and promote in your comms a ‘mentoring with purpose’ programme and use tech to ensure it is available to all.

Prioritise the pre and on-boarding journey
The pre and onboarding periods are commonly when businesses lose incoming talent, particularly for longer gaps between offer and start or where there is a long or demanding vetting, referencing process. This is where businesses must proactively deliver an engaging and inspiring experience.

  • Personalise the experience and always ask for feedback so incoming hires feel heard. This is key for flagging any ‘flight risks’ and optimising future hiring campaigns.
  • Facilitate exciting events, either digitally or in-person, to maintain engagement and excitement.
  • Create a digital community where incoming hires can connect with existing employees and start to feel like they belong ahead of Day 1.
  • Assign new employees a pre-joining buddy, someone currently in the organisation they can reach out to with their questions.
  • Share success stories of existing employees of all backgrounds and seniority. Storytelling, role-models, and mentoring are all powerful recruitment and retention tools. Enable incoming hires to identify with role models and envisage their own growth and development within the business.
  • Share learning and engaging content – ensure incoming hires are prepared and upskilled ahead of Day 1, but also inspire them with company insights and achievements.

And with so much working from home, chose tech that will enable you to both bring these actions to life and measure the impact

Keep them on the journey
Crucially, engagement needs to start from the moment a candidate first engages with your brand,  if businesses want to retain and maximise new hires and reduce the risk of reneges and ghosting. The power of peer-to-peer engagement is crucial in ensuring the first 90 days and beyond that to set new talent up for success, so make sure you have clear processes and systems in place to ensure maximum results.

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