Don’t Lose Your Preferred Candidate

We're not seeing a glut of active job-seekers right now.

It was an issue before Brexit and the pandemic, but is more problematic now than ever before, with no sign of it making a magnificent improvement with economic uncertainty ahead.

So when you do have success attracting someone suitable for your job vacancy, it's important you do everything within your power to get them through the entire process without losing them!

And we mean the entire process.

Once an offer is made and accepted, there is a tendency for the hirer to relax a bit. Job done.

However, that period between the offer and start date, and then again to the end of the probationary period can be when things go very wrong.

Failure to make every effort to keep that person engaged until they start and nurturing them when they arrive means they will be far more receptive to the other approaches and offers they will be receiving.

Or taking an about-turn and staying put.

Here we're going to share five things you can do to reduce the risk of losing your perfect new hire.

Reassure them they've made a good decision

If it's not you making the offer, but another person in your organisation or an external recruiter, once the offer is accepted, you should call them to congratulate them and tell them you are looking forward to working with them.

This should not be a simple "Look forward to you starting next month" but an engaging conversation.

Talk about all the things that motivated them to move and what they have to look forward to when joining you. Maybe that is career development or the flexible working hours they need so much.

This reassures them that you've heard them, that you're going to deliver on promises and, often forgotten, reinforces their needs and reason for leaving their current job.

"John, HR just told me the good news, that you've accepted the offer and we're expecting you on x date.

"We're all looking forward to you joining the new team and giving you the support you need to work towards your qualifications.

"I bet you're pleased to be working so close to home and having that flexibility to pick the children up from school ...."

Helping them with the resignation process

"When are you handing in your notice?"
"How do you expect your employer to react?"

"How will you handle that?"

These might all be questions that, until now, they hadn't considered.

And if you imagined they'd simply tell their employer they are leaving and call you straight back with a start date, you're mistaken.

Because if they are valued this is where it gets tricky. Especially if all those above questions had not been considered until they'd accepted your offer.


This might be the first time their employer knew they were unhappy, in fact, so unhappy they are leaving. And negotiation is likely to start.

"Why are you leaving us?"
"Can we do anything to change your mind?"

Expect that they will be counter-offered and how they'll manage that. It will probably be a whole lot better if you talked to them about it beforehand.

"How do you expect your employer to react when you hand in your notice?"

"They'll probably offer me more money"

"I'm glad we were able to offer you an uplift on your current salary and the promise of a salary review on completion of your three-month probationary period.

"But, more importantly, you're going to get that study support you've never received and a clear career path so you can reach your professional goals"

Put in place a schedule of actions

The time between the offer and the person starting work is likely to be weeks, sometimes months.

The rapport that they felt with interviewers can wane during that time and what may have felt like a welcoming atmosphere to them can quickly feel remote and make them nervous about their decision.

It's during this time too that their colleagues make them feel special and valued and the guilt can kick in.

"Sarah, someone told me you're leaving us next month. That's such a shame, you'll be greatly missed. Who's going to organise all our social events?"

"You've been here so long, how are your team going to cope without you?"

Start sending your new colleague non-sensitive information and updates to make them feel like part of the team and perhaps even schedule a time for them to come and join their new colleagues for a drink.

Structure their start date

The first day with a new employer is always a little unnerving.

A couple of weeks before they start, reduce uncertainty by providing your new hire with a plan for their first day – where they should be, at what time, who they will meet and what the plan will be for those first few days.

Put in place follow-ups

Onboarding is as critical as the recruitment process itself if you want your hire to be successful.

Decide on appropriate milestones to catch up and schedule time in your calendar to check in, formally or informally, dependent on the needs.

Making these part of your onboarding process it will make the new employee understand that these meetings are routine rather than an indicator of a problem.

These check-ins might be at the end of the first day, the first week, the second week, the first month and so on.

If you're busy and the first time you look up from your desk to check in is after a month, you've failed to show an interest in the process and settle your new colleague in.

One month in a new job where you don't feel seen, heard, or supported is a painfully long time.

You need to understand how your new employee is settling in and, in the unlikely event there are any issues, ensure those are quickly addressed.

Complete all of these steps, and your new hire will feel they have made the right decision, defend that decision and look forward to their future with you.

If you thought this blog was insightful, you might also like these:

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Clarity Appointments is an independent recruitment agency specialising in accountancy and office vacancies. Situated between St Neots and Cambridge, we work within Cambridgeshire, Bedfordshire and Hertfordshire, with some clients further-reaching due to work won through referrals.

Contact us now for a free, no-obligation chat. Contact Clare here.

Clare Wight is the founder and Managing Director of Clarity Appointments, an independent recruitment specialist. She served as a Regional Director for The Employment Agents Movement, supporting other independent recruiters.

She remains an active member of Recconnect (formerly Members Only), a recruitment leadership network promoting high ethical standards, collaboration, diversity, equity and inclusion.

She believes business owners are more fulfilled and higher-performing when they provide emotional and professional business support to other business owners, even those they deem to be competitors. She does this actively, whilst challenging and updating her skills and knowledge of the recruitment sector, enabling her to offer the best advice to firms looking to make their next hire.