Recruitment Blog

Why your top candidates withdrew and how to fix it

Sarah Linney
Content Marketing Manager at JobAdder

So, you found a great candidate for a position, but the candidate withdrew unexpectedly? If this happens frequently, it may be time to look more closely at why your top candidates withdraw their applications and come up with a solution to fix it.

It can be frustrating and disappointing to lose a candidate just before closing the deal. It implies that all your efforts to find them were in vain. When this happens on multiple occasions, there could be something wrong with how candidate engagement works during your company’s hiring process. So, we’re going to take a look at some of the reasons why.

Hiring managers work very hard to get the best candidates to apply for their positions. Unfortunately, they don’t always have an understanding of why they withdraw. This presents a huge problem because they need to know why the candidate withdrew to improve the hiring process. Without this understanding, the process of getting more qualified candidates in the door could be flawed.

There are several steps your company can take to reduce candidate withdrawals like improving your careers page, revising your job postings, reviewing your job application process and hiring process and implementing candidate feedback. Read on to learn more about why candidates might be withdrawing and what you can do to address these issues. 

WATCH NOW: Discover vital tips from recruitment expert Barbara Bruno on overcoming talent shortages

Why do candidates withdraw during the application process?

Job candidates should be treated like clients. Candidates are interviewing your company just as much as you are interviewing them. Ensuring your hiring process sets a good impression of your business is essential.

Candidate withdrawal can occur for many reasons. The candidate may be offered another job or they may have discovered that your company or the role doesn’t align with their needs. Some other reasons include:

  • The hiring process was too complicated
  • You took too long to get back to them
  • Poor interview experience
  • Resonating with another company’s values and work environment

Reducing candidate withdrawals from the hiring process

Getting qualified candidates in the door in a tough talent market can be a significant struggle. When you end up with a few candidate withdrawals from the application process, it can be a big setback. While you cannot entirely prevent this from happening, there are things you can do to help reduce candidate withdrawals, including:

  • Improving your careers page
  • Reviewing your job descriptions and minimum qualifications
  • Simplifying your application process
  • Changing up your interview questions
  • Collecting candidate feedback on the hiring process

Does your careers page need improvements?

An on-brand and easy-to-navigate careers page is vital for getting the best candidates to apply. When you ask for candidate feedback, be sure to ask how easy it was to find the job and understand what the position was about and how straightforward your website navigation was.

Candidate experience starts from when they first see your website. They get to see your company’s branding, values and culture. If you’re not actively engaging with candidates, they will go to your competition. Job postings need to be revised regularly to stay fresh and interesting to candidates.

Candidates need to feel connected to your brand and company before they’re willing to take the time to complete the application process. An easy-to-navigate careers page is the first step to increasing overall applicant flow and ensuring that they move through the hiring process.

Review your job descriptions and qualifications

Reviewing your job descriptions and qualifications is a great defensive line in reducing applicant withdrawals from the hiring process. It’s essential to be transparent with job expectations, candidate experience and other minimum requirements and qualifications when addressing candidate withdrawals. Job seekers should clearly understand the qualifications and description of the open position.

Applicants don’t want to feel under or overqualified for the position they’re applying for. Ensuring the qualifications and requirements are realistic will increase overall applicant flow and retention. Additionally, streamline your candidate experience with feedback and effective communication.

When candidate feedback is not incorporated into the hiring process, it can take a significant toll on companies. You need to be continuously learning from candidates about how you can improve and streamline your job descriptions and requirements. 

Review your application process

A lengthy application process is a big part of what deters candidates from finishing applications effectively. The actual job application also plays a significant role in an applicant’s first impression of your company. Simplifying the process by asking for less information or making the questions more relevant to the position can help encourage candidate completion.

Requesting that candidates upload their resume and cover letter instead of filling out a form can help you get more applications. If you have a complicated application process, you might miss out on qualified candidates who are unwilling to sit through an unnecessarily lengthy application process. If you require lengthy answers to questions, a cover letter, and a background check, candidates might be more likely to leave an incomplete application. 

If you do require a background check or cover letter, you should try to keep your application questions short. It’s safe to say that your hiring teams can thoroughly read a shorter application better than they could a lengthy one. Additionally, the importance of updating the application status of your candidates frequently is underestimated. This will help them stay involved in the process instead of constantly waiting on an answer.

Consider changing up your interview style

It’s vital to review your interview style to ensure it reflects your company’s brand and values. One of the significant reasons a candidate will withdraw from the application process is because they had an unpleasant interview experience. It’s essential to ensure that your interview process is welcoming, engaging and straightforward. If you’re receiving a lot of candidate withdrawals after the first interview, it’s time to change up your interview style.

Morale is critical to the success of your interview style. Hiring teams should leave candidates feeling excited about the position at the end of a first interview. You never want to leave a bad impression. Sending an email or giving your candidate a phone call before the interview to let them know any relevant info or details will help them feel more welcome and prepared.

If you’ve got recruiters or hiring managers who don’t like where they work, they won’t spread company cheer that will excite candidates. Consider who is conducting the interviews and how they present the company and its culture.  

Additionally, giving candidates directions to the office (or Zoom call) and letting them know who they’ll be meeting in the interview is a good idea. There are so many small actions you can take to get your candidates excited about moving forward to the offer stage, so review how you conduct interviews and the hiring process to ensure you’re delivering the best experience.

Collect candidate feedback

Candidate feedback is the most important element of the candidate experience. Candidate feedback is powerful because it provides insights into why your top candidates withdrew from the process. When you receive candidate feedback, take action on their requests and suggestions immediately. If a candidate has expressed interest in working for your company but was upset by something during the interview process, fix this issue immediately!

After the selection process is complete, you should reach out to all of the candidates to see if they have feedback for you. Feedback is the gateway to gaining more critical insights into your hiring process by asking previous candidates about their experience. Consistently improving your hiring process is necessary to reduce the number of applicant withdrawals in the future. 

Ask questions such as: “was there anything dissatisfying during the interview process?” and “how would you change our hiring process in order for it to go smoother?” Also, candidate surveys are a great way of obtaining great feedback on improving the process. Candidates who are dissatisfied with the application process but want to work for your company will openly share their feelings.

Streamline your hiring process with JobAdder

Though candidate withdrawals are a problem, they do offer an opportunity to find ways to reduce the number of people who drop out of your hiring process. JobAdder can help you reduce candidate withdrawals by automating your hiring process, improving the candidate experience and streamlining candidate communications.

JobAdder helps you keep the best candidates engaged throughout the entire hiring process by sending automated emails and updating their application status frequently. To find out more, speak to our expert team.

Barbara Bruno reveals her tips for overcoming talent shortages in our free on-demand webinar.

Advice and how tos
The right to disconnect: Implications for recruitment agencies

Work-life balance is about to become a protected right in Australia with the introduction of the right to disconnect. It …

Advice and how tos
Crafting exceptional candidate experiences through data analytics

To excel in the competition for top talent, proactive workforce planning is essential. Traditional methods struggle to adapt to evolving …

Advice and how tos
Cold  calling is dead: How marketing can resurrect your sales strategy

The art of cold calling has been around for decades, and has served many recruiters well over the years. However, …

There are no results to display. Please try a different keyword or reset the filters to see everything.
Ready to get started?

Talk to one of our friendly team members

Want to know more?

Learn why others are
using JobAdder