How to reduce the risk of candidate reneges


12th August 2022

Read Time

5 minutes

Reducing recruitment pain points by introducing mentoring

We recently published a post that discussed reneging in the workplace and the reasons why this is currently on the rise.

As a quick reminder, reneging is defined as when a candidate who has accepted a job from an employer decides to take an alternative position with another company.

Sometimes, a candidate may even accept a position and then fail to turn up on their allotted start date without even telling an employer that they have made other plans. This phenomenon is called ghosting and is also increasingly common.

In this post, we look at the costs that businesses incur when a candidate reneges on a job offer and the steps employers can take to streamline their recruitment processes and reduce the risk of reneging. These steps can help businesses save time and money, and ensure vacant positions are filled as planned.

What are the most common recruitment costs?

According to UK job board Monster, the average recruitment cost of filling a vacancy, using internal or external recruitment methods is thought to be around £4,500. Writing job specifications, advertising vacancies, reviewing applications, and CVs, and organising interviews are all important steps in the overall recruitment process and these take time and this translates into money.

It can take businesses weeks if not months to fill vacant positions and after this time-consuming and costly work, this is what makes reneging so painful for everyone involved in the process.

Although many businesses take care of recruitment in-house, some may also use agencies. Recruitment agency fees vary but typically these will average between 10% and 30% of a recruit’s base annual salary and a business may still be obliged to pay even if an employee reneges. It’s important to check contracts for clauses relating to reneging.

Taking legal advice during the recruitment process can also be costly and this may be needed for everything from background checks to identifying non-compete clauses and restrictive covenants in a recruit’s existing contract which may prevent them from joining a company. A business is highly unlikely to be able to recoup legal fees if a new employee reneges.

Ensuring recruitment best practice

So, what can HR do to ensure the effectiveness of its recruitment programmes and processes, attracting and engaging high-quality candidates who want to work for a company?

  • Communicating a company’s cultural values has never been so important. Incoming, younger cohorts commonly want to work for organisations that are community and socially motivated as well as being driven by the need for growth and commercial success.
  • As job descriptions are often the most visible part of the hiring process, pay particular attention to these and assess for gender neutrality and actively encourage applications from people from all backgrounds. Again, younger recruits are prioritising organisations with strong social values. Diversity, Equality, and Inclusion (DE&I) is an important aspect of this.
  • What does the scope for progression once a recruit has joined a company look like? Providing someone with an idea of what opportunities potentially lie ahead helps people think about their longer-term futures and not just the initial phase of a new job.

Think carefully about pre-boarding and on-boarding

To reduce the risk of a candidate reneging, businesses are paying increasing attention to providing support to candidates in the time between a formal job offer having been accepted and a recruit’s first day. Although this needs to be done carefully to avoid overwhelming a recruit before they have even started, there are various tactics to consider. These include:

  • Be proactive – individualise the experience and always ask for feedback following each stage in the recruitment process. You won’t know if you don’t ask, and you may find out something which reduces the number of reneges quickly and simply.
  • Arrange pre-joining days or evenings to allow them to see the office and meet others in their cohort.
  • Set up a Facebook or WhatsApp group, enabling recruits to chat.
  • Assign new employees a pre-joining mentor, someone currently in the organisation they can reach out to with their questions
  • Inspire them with success stories of those who have preceded them. Storytelling, role-modeling, and mentoring are all powerful tools for recruitment and retention. Help your recruits find people they can relate to and make it easy for them to connect with each other.
  • Send them a welcome pack. This can contain work-related items but also more fun things such as games, a water bottle, or branded apparel to help build a sense of community and positive feelings about a company and new employee’s team.

To find out how Connectr can transform your candidate journey, chat with us.