Candidate Withdrew - Timing

Advice from experts · 5/10/2023 · 1 min read

Candidate Withdrew - Timing

Navigating the unpredictable landscape of recruiting can be daunting, but one crucial aspect can make all the difference: timing. In this blog post, we delve into the significance of timing in the hiring process, share an all-too-familiar candidate-based story, and unveil the strategies expert recruiters employ to tackle timing challenges.

The timing component in recruiting is crucial, and learning how to navigate it can prevent organizations from negatively impacting the experience of hiring teams and candidates alike.

Timing is relevant because it proves recruiters work with people. We're people working among ourselves.

And managing timing doesn't only mean reaching out to candidates who are coincidentally wrapping up a contract or those disappointed by how their employer handled the last reduction in force.

Let’s start with a short story on candidate-based timing:

The part-time opportunity the recruiter offered Jami had every ingredient of a meaningful move: good pay, only a few billable hours a week, and a cool company wanting to convert her to full-time in the short term.

The process was relatively enjoyable and, despite some inconveniences and unanswered assumptions, all parties were initially in agreement.

But the weekend before deciding on the offer, Jami ran into an old acquaintance from back home at a pub, and they nostalgically started catching up.

One detail of the acquaintance's tale resonated with her, and she was suddenly sent on an enquiring, introspective journey. Later that weekend, and upon some more reflection, Jami concluded that taking on more hours and a side hustle wasn't what she really wanted.

So now the client wants to ramp her up quickly to have those hot deliverables ready in time, but the truth is Jami wants to spend more time with her nieces, and maybe finally visit Prague.

"Sorry, but I'd like to respectfully withdraw my application at this time, for personal reasons." Happy Monday.

The recruiter then marked Jami as "Candidate withdrew - Timing" in their system and moved on, with understandable frustration.

This outcome is painful from different angles:

  • The company’s business side is alarmed. Deliverables won’t be ready in time unless priorities are shifted around, and the coming update to shareholders probably won’t sound as convincing. Someone might work overtime this month.

  • The hiring team is annoyed, and their trust in Recruiting tanked. “How can they let this happen? I didn’t even want to flex on the location requirement in the first place.” A hardened relationship at this time can only hinder success.

  • The recruiter, who probably got the worst part, feels defeated and needs to start over. And this time under tightened circumstances, as they probably feel the heat by now.

Jami perhaps moved on the quickest of all, and we’re happy for her.

So what can we do as recruiters to prevent these things from happening? We can't, really. We work among people, and people normally have things going on. It would be impossible for anyone besides those in Jami's circle to remotely anticipate a scenario like this one.

But this story is unsettling… is there anything companies can do to be prepared? Actually, there is.

When skilled recruiters take on searches, they manage to reduce timing complications to a minimum. They achieve this mainly by:

Implementing a comprehensive sourcing strategy, from scratch.

Consulting recruiters run thorough market research and team up with hiring teams way before thinking about interviewing. They are happy when an intake program outlines tactics to iterate on.

Some of these include:

  • Curating challenges being tackled by the hiring team

    • The closer they collaborate, the juicier the content gets

  • Raising aspects of the client’s brand as enticing

    • Spoiler alert: they won’t be LinkedIn polls about ping pong tables and fruit

  • Combining channels, personalized messages, and timed touchpoints

    • Opened, replied, and pass-through rates are scrutinized and discussed weekly

Top-tier recruiters attract not only those disgruntled or in between jobs but also those inadvertently thinking about something new. By the way, each of the bullets above calls for a blog post of its own, but for the sake of focus, let’s leave them as such.

Genuinely partnering with parties involved.

These recruiting specialists have consolidated a brand of their own by now, and they know that genuine networking and relationship-building pay off in the long run. A “no thanks” from a candidate and a “yes thanks” from a hiring manager can change tomorrow to their advantage, so they are transparent with both and know how and when to push.

True, maybe they couldn't have guessed the outcome of Jami's encounter with her old soccer mate, or that the hiring team's headcount was going to be reduced. But they don't stress over what they can't control. They focus on having more than one candidate in the final stage of the process and on knowing what other teams are hiring out there. Because, you know, "things happen."

Being in the game for a while has taught them that timing can be either a friend or a foe, and also that there is no way around it.

Considering timing factors in the (unfortunately) long list of potential hiring constraints.

This allows recruiters to create aggressive yet achievable estimates and to report back on these as the search progresses.

Strong recruiters don’t take prioritization lightly and juggle many factors when strategizing and bouncing off ideas to one another. Needless to say, they earned the golden badge for resilience long ago and know how to keep their focus sharp.

In sum, timing in recruiting plays a central role, and it seems to be more so than ever in this cooled economy.

So, once the market turns and growth is around the corner, those who implement a thoughtful yet determined hiring strategy are likely to win the talent battle. Surrounding your teams with recruiters that know what they're doing will greatly reduce the risk of these types of hiccups and will allow them to focus on the important: onboarding the talented Jamis out there.

And the beauty of it all? At RocketPower, we embed in clients’ teams and ramp up & down super fast because, well… we get it.