There can be no greater feeling of accomplishment in your role as a recruiter, than finding the perfect candidate for a role and receiving their acceptance to your offer. But with lengthy notice periods, a lot can go wrong in that time. First of all there’s the counter offer: 50% of candidates will receive a counter offer from their current employer, and 57% of those will accept that offer. Then, it’s key to remember that for your candidates, your organisation is probably one part of their wider job search and may well receive offers from other organisations too.

The period between acceptance and start date is probably the largest risk for losing your perfect hire, which is usually a 4-week period. So, within those 4-weeks, it’s important that you begin building a working relationship with the candidate and keep them engaged to help minimise the risk of losing them to a different offer. We’ve outlined a few simple but effective strategies to get you started:

  1. Get the offer out quickly

Nothing can kill the excitement of a verbal offer like waiting weeks for paperwork and confirmation. It’s vital to keep the time-frame here to a minimum before that excitement turns into mistrust and the candidate becomes more likely to accept another offer elsewhere.

One of the most frustrating parts of any recruitment process for candidates is long waits post-interview to find out whether they’ve got the job. Imagine how much more frustrating this becomes when they receive an offer, but everything is moving slowly. It doesn’t reflect well on your employer brand and causes candidates to lose interest fast.

  1. Regular communication

Regular communication allows you to build relationships with your candidates from the off, and also provides a good guide for whether they’re truly interested in the role. If they start to delay their replies or not get back to you at all, it can be pretty good sign that they won’t be showing up for their first day. But when you engage in regular conversation and keep them in the loop about goings on in the workplace, they’ll feel more involved and appreciated from the very start. Not only that, it promotes earlier productivity from your new hires when they’ve come into the business aware of what has been going on during previous weeks.

Keeping in touch also allows you to become aware of any counteroffer or external offers earlier, as the candidate will feel more compelled to tell you. This gives you the opportunity to make any appropriate moves that you wish to take when this happens.

  1. Meet the team

After extending an offer to your candidate, consider offering the opportunity for them to set up meetings with current employees. It creates a chance for the candidate to network and build relationships with their potential future team, making the decision-making process a lot easier.

If the candidate has already accepted the offer, this can still be a useful tool. It helps to keep them engaged when they’re interacting with their new co-workers and will help to eliminate any new-job nerves that come with starting in a brand-new team. It gives them a greater insight into how happy they will be working in that team based on their values-alignment.

This can also work in the form of meetings if there is anything important occurring during your candidates notice period. Offer them to attend, and if they can’t, send them an overview afterwards. Even if they can’t attend, being given the opportunity to do so will go a long way.

  1. Start the onboarding process early

Glassdoor research showed that a strong on-boarding process improves new hire retention by 82%. Your on-boarding strategy should start after the offer has been verbally accepted – so before the contract even goes out. Ensuring that everything is set up for success is key to keeping an employee engaged, as is making sure they have all of the correct information and content to refer to prior to starting their role. The on-boarding process should start at the offer, and end at the end of their probation.

The on-boarding process will be different from one organisation to another, so it’s important that you find a process that suits you and your new hire. There’s no harm in asking the candidate is they have any preferred methods of getting themselves organised for the role, and it shows you’re taking into account their preferred process!

Research has shown that 28% of employees surveyed have backed out of a job offering after accepting. While it’s important to keep your candidates engaged during there notice period, it’s also vital to consider your organisation as a whole. Another reason a candidate may drop-off is if they hear something negative about your organisation and its culture – something which deters candidates from wanting to work in that environment. It’s also necessary to understand that not all offers will be accepted, even when implementing the previous points that we’ve discussed. Sometimes during the application and interview process, something will come to light that makes the candidate realise that the role just isn’t for them – and that’s fine.

How you treat your candidates during the recruitment process also goes a long way in terms of offer acceptance rates. It’s the whole process that counts, so if you’re having trouble with acceptance rates and employee retention, it’s definitely time to look at the bigger picture!