HR Wheel for Recruitment Services from Strategic HR Business Advisors.

How Can I Stop Candidates From Ghosting After Accepting an Offer?

Last Updated on October 12, 2022 / Recruitment

Image of a Hiring Manager looking confused and frustrated because a candidate ghosted him.

HR Question:

It’s a tough market right now! It feels like every time we find the right candidate and extend an offer, candidates will accept the offer but then ghost or decline before their first day. What can I do differently to ensure my candidates stop ghosting after accepting an offer?

HR Answer:

So, your offer was accepted and a start date for your new hire has been established – congratulations! Unfortunately, the phenomenon of candidates ghosting or changing their minds before a start date has become even more frequent in today’s market. Despite accepting an offer of employment, candidates are still entertaining counteroffers and continue to interview even though they may have signed an offer letter and completed a background check and drug screen. “Yes” no longer means “accepted” until a new hire shows up on the first day.

In recent years, Indeed found that 65% of employers surveyed said that they had candidates accept an offer and fail to show up for their first day – proving that a signed offer letter is certainly not the definitive and final stage of recruitment. So how are hiring managers and recruiters supposed to reduce the chance of a candidate ghosting after accepting an offer?

Prepare to Spend the Time (and Money)

With the current labor shortage, employers are competing for many of the same candidates. Since we are faced with a candidate-driven market, employers have to think about how to engage with new hires (pre-start date) differently.

What does that mean? Most likely – more time and more money. But before you click away from this article, consider this: a recent benchmarking analysis from the Society for Human Resources Management (SHRM) found that the average cost of a hire is $4,700, but when factoring in time, the impact to productivity, the emotional toll on the team, and the cost of competition, the true cost of hiring could be up to three or four times the employee’s salary.

By investing in building and nourishing the candidate’s experience with the company, recruiters increase the chances of acceptance of the offer, reduce the time and money costs to the team, and create a hard stop on the job search front. Small up-front costs, like a welcome basket with company swag sent to the new hire’s home prior to the start date or taking them out to lunch or dinner to meet the team ahead of time, can be a welcoming touch to encourage staying on board.

Welcome Them to the Team

Nobody wants to join a team where they’re not wanted. Make it abundantly clear to your new team member that not only are they welcomed, but they’re also an exciting addition to the team! Some ways to do this are sending emails or notes from team members ahead of time welcoming them and sharing tips for success as a new hire. Or maybe, it could look like asking the team member to share details about themselves so that current employees can find common interests to share with the new hire, making them feel like they’ve got a built-in network with easy topics to talk about from the beginning.

Don’t Be Afraid to Overcommunicate

While your initial response may be to hold back in order to not scare the candidate, the more you can communicate, the better and calmer they’ll feel. Consider sending the itinerary for the new hire’s first day in advance so they know who they’ll be meeting and how the day will flow. Company newsletters or videos of top management media or milestones may help them feel clued in and in the loop. Encourage them to settle into the company and the industry by inviting them to participate in networking events or company gatherings prior to starting so they feel like they have a leg up.

Adopting an engaging strategy to prevent new hires from ghosting after accepting an offer is critical. Regular communication with a candidate during their transition period (typically, as they give their 2-to-3-week notice) will help them feel they’ve made a great decision.

At the end of the day, it is the candidate’s decision. But employers can make the decision to stay an easy one by building an attractive and encouraging engagement process from acceptance to the first day. From there, it’s on to onboarding!

Special thanks to Tracy Walker and Sammie Kelly for contributing to this edition of our HR Question of the Week! 

Strategic HR Business Advisors provide a variety of resources to help you find the help you need. We offer outsourced recruiting or contract assistance. We can create a plan that’s custom fit for your specific recruitment needs. Please visit our Recruitment page for more information.