If you are interviewing a great candidate, it’s almost certain that you will face stiff competition from the market for their service with the likelihood that they will receive multiple offers at the end of their job search. If you make an offer and the candidate accepts, don’t pop the champagne just yet. Despite the efforts put into sourcing, screening, and interviewing candidates, without a thorough onboarding process and multiple touch points, there's always a very real possibility of candidates dropping out before their start date.  

Once your candidate begins the resignation process, their current employer is very likely to pull out all the stops over the course of their notice period to counter your offer, as they calculate the rising people and financial cost it takes to replace that staff member. For example, time to fill is increasing due to a crowded marketplace and it can cost an organisation up to £25,000 to replace a Senior Software Engineer in agency fees.
So, when extending an offer to a great candidate, here are a few things to consider in order to gain buy-in and prevent any pre-start date drop outs.

Pre-empt the counter-offer.

Great candidates are likely to receive a counter-offer from their employer as well as improved offers from other potential suitors (they will fight their corner too). Don’t just assume they have ended the interview process everywhere else after a verbal acceptance. Make sure your salary is the best it can be or else you could find yourselves on the backfoot if this situation occurs.

Some wise words from our favourite Greg Savage: "The secret to countering the counteroffer is to take the candidate to the resignation discussion, explore the likely response, and get them to turn the counteroffer down before they have even got one!"

Create a pre-onboarding process that begins on the date that the candidate formally accepts the offer.

Make sure your onboarding process involves the hiring manager, the team they are joining, HR & Talent as well as People Services. Ensure that your business establishes regular touch points throughout their notice period and ensure you open up the lines of communication in the lead up to their first day. 

Invite them to meet the team, include them on any company socials, involve them in work collaboration meetings, as well as offsites, and virtual coffees. Agree on hardware and discuss their home office set-up. Sending creative swag packages can build an emotional attachment to your brand. You should also consider giving early access to the company intranet so they can start to consume relevant content during their notice period.

Remove any unnecessary delays.

Agree strict SLAs with your people services team around PO approval and contract generation. Get contracts out asap and try to negotiate an earlier start date. Make sure you’re fully prepared for their start date. Explain expectations and logistics, ensure that their equipment is sent out a week or two before they start (build the excitement). 

Help your future starter prepare during their notice period.

Send any digital assets that might help them prepare for the work they’ve been employed to do e.g. tech blogs / GitHub / Stack Overflow / Notion pages / Company structures to show what your team are doing and help make them feel involved and part of the team straight away.

At Burns Sheehan, our relationship with a candidate doesn’t just end once they accept our clients offer. As technology recruiters and consultants we work closely with our clients to build out 4–12 week pre-onboarding programmes that helps keep candidates excited and engaged until they join. That’s when we celebrate our success! 🍾