So you’ve just completed your recruitment process, found a strong cohort, hit your diversity targets, and the team are starting to wind down for a well-earned break.

But not so fast… due to family reasons, a change in circumstances, or an unexpected relocation to Lapland, some of those candidates who you’ve worked tirelessly to get placed over the past six months start reneging on their previously accepted offers. You know the emails, “It’s not you, it’s me” – where it’s definitely you.

Frustrating right? Well, you’re not alone. The ISE have previously found that over 50% of leading UK companies fail to fill all of their graduate vacancies, something that was largely a result of candidates reneging on previously accepted offers.

The fact of the matter is that we are currently living in a candidate-driven market and it’s not unusual today for top talent to go around collecting offers, keeping them in the back pocket and continuing the job hunt in pursuit of something ‘more appealing’.

And before we blame it all on changing candidate behaviour, it’s also worth recognising that all companies tend to work to different time frames, making it somewhat challenging for candidates, who ultimately have to put themselves first.

Whatever the reasons may be, it’s worth spending some time thinking about strategies to keep these emails to a minimum so that you’ve got a full training room on day one of the job. We’ve highlighted five essential actions to help with this…

1. Make Candidates Feel Good about their Decision

Once a candidate accepts your offer, immediately make them feel like part of the team. Send them a welcome pack with some company swag and a personalised card signed by the team. This doesn’t require much effort but will leave them feeling highly valued and connected not just to the company but also to their future colleagues.

2. Keep Selling Yourself

This is especially true in the early-careers space where some candidates can find themselves waiting almost 12 months from signing a contract until starting a role. Send the candidate company newsletters and emails which highlight important updates and successes, subtly reminding them of the reasons they wanted to work with you in the first place.

3. Start A WhatsApp Group

If you are making multiple hires, get candidates talking to each other. The more personal connections they have built up, the more likely they will be to start the role. WhatsApp groups are great for this as individuals will be getting notifications right to their phone which will maximise engagement. You can also use these groups to post regular content in line with the previous point.

4. Regular Contact With The Team

Assign a future team member to each candidate so that they can build a more personal relationship through regular calls and if possible, arrange a couple of days where the candidate can come to the office and get more face time with their future colleagues. Not only will this make the candidate more comfortable when starting in the role, but it will also create a sense of belonging.

5. Hope For The Best But Plan For The Worst

Sometimes you can only do so much and given that reneging tends to happen later on in the year, it’s likely that you won’t have enough time (or resource) to start a recruitment cycle from square one. We therefore recommend having a reneging plan in place should any of your cohort decide that you’re not what they’re looking for.

In summary, the work doesn’t stop when the contract is signed and you should be doing as much as possible to keep your company at the top of a candidate’s wish list right up until they are sitting in the training room on day one.

If you’d like to look at how the Final Stage talent network can help navigate reneging season, get in touch with a member of the team who can talk about our reneging passes.