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"It's not show friends, it's show business."

--Bob Sugar in Jerry Maguire

You've been there before, but then you forget.

You recruited and signed a great candidate and generally crushed it in your role as a world-class recruiter.  Your hiring manager's happy, the candidate's happy and you're happy.  You close the open position and in a bad reference to an old hip-hop song, move on to the next one.

10 days later you get the call.  The candidate's decided to stay where they are at.  

Rat bastard.

The nerve.

The humanity.

You forgot because it hasn't happened to you in the last year.  Candidates have options and the more talent a candidate has, the more people at their current place of employment are going to come after them in an attempt to turn around the resignation.

That's why you should always have a plan in place to keep them warm and keep your own form of pressure on great candidates who have accepted offers with you.

Here's 5 things you can do between offer acceptance and start date to keep the candidate warm and make it harder for them to bounce, in order of severity, impact and you looking like a general a**:

1. Have a schedule in place to check in with the candidate on onboarding items. Yes, you can send them that all at once.  Go ahead and do that for the Call Center Rep.  The .Net developer?  You want reasons to talk to them - both by email and by phone.  The transactional items give you a reason to touch base, check their emotional stability and you can keep the pressure on.

2. Set up a schedule for them to start talking to people on their team at your company.  Harder to bounce away from the offer once the emotional connection has been made.  A quick touch base every 3-4 business days should do the trick.

3. Work the spouse or significant other. If you've got the budget, it's a great idea to send something to the spouse to thank them for their support and welcome them to the team.  It's harder to screw you and your company if the spouse feels the love and can remind the candidate they're bailing from a commitment to good people.

4. Give them a template for a resignation letter.  One of the biggest reasons people stay after accepting your offer is some folks are conflict avoidant. Give them a handy template to write their resignation from.  It's one less thing they have to do to get to the big moment of resignation.  Offer to role play the verbal conversation that proceeds the letter most of the time if they need the help.

5. Announce the signing.  One of the greatest lies the devil every told the world is that once an employee resigns, they're coming you to your company. You can jack up the pressure by getting the candidate to agree to let you announce his/her decision to the world - LinkedIn updates are a good place to start.  This comes with some danger - you look weak if they still pull out of the decision to join your company - but a public announcement puts pressure on the great candidate to live up to their commitment.

At the end of day, all you're trying to do is make a connection, remind the candidate of their commitment and be harder to walk away from.  Use some or all of these ideas to protect yourself from the nasty surprise that is a candidate pulling out of an accepted offer to stay at their current company.


Matt Landrum

This is gold, KD. My company does only 2 (maybe 2.5) of the 5.



Some awesome advice. As a startup we always competition from bigger players when hiring and there a quite a few people we've missed out. Hopefully applying these tips might help us recruit better.

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