Why You’re Losing Candidates During the Interview Stage (and How to Fix It)


You’ve spent weeks finding the perfect candidate and finally get them in for an interview. You’re excited to show them what your company is all about and see if they’re a good fit. But then something happens – they suddenly disappear without a trace. What went wrong? Chances are, you lost them at the interview stage. In this article, I discuss some of the reasons why companies lose candidates during interviews and how you can fix it!


Reason 1 why you’re losing candidates during the interview process: Taking too long to schedule interviews

While it’s understandable that companies need to take their time to find the right candidate, there is such a thing as taking too long. If your organization takes more than two weeks to book an interview or longer than six weeks to fill a position, it can come across as if you’re not taking the job seriously enough or not prioritizing the role. This can be very off-putting for candidates, who may feel they’re not being given enough consideration or that the company is disorganized. As a result, they may withdraw their application or accept another offer. To avoid this, aim to schedule interviews within two weeks of receiving an application and make a decision within four weeks. This will show candidates they are being taken seriously and that your organization has an efficient hiring process.


Reason 2 why you’re losing candidates during the interview process: Taking too long to provide feedback

Unfortunately, some companies take too long to provide feedback to candidates. This can be very frustrating for candidates, who may feel that their application is being ignored. Worse, it can make it difficult for them to assess their own qualifications and improve their chances of being hired. No feedback is almost as bad as negative feedback, and it’s hard to convince a candidate of your interest in them if you’ve taken too long to give them feedback of “we like you, let’s interview.”

To fix this, aim to provide feedback within 24-48 hours after the interview. This shows that you’re still interested in the candidate and value their time. In addition, if you’re unsure about a candidate, reach out to them and let them know that you’re still considering them for the position. This way, they don’t feel like they’ve been completely forgotten about.


Reason 3 why you’re losing candidates during the interview process: Messages from hiring managers are not consistent

Companies need to present a united front to applicants. When a candidate is interviewing with multiple people, they’re looking for consistency in the messages they receive. For example, the candidate will be confused if the job description says that the position is entirely remote, but a hiring manager says that it’s only 80% remote. This confusion can lead to frustration, and eventually, the candidate may decide to pursue other opportunities. It also reflects poorly on the company and can make you appear disorganized and unprepared. To avoid this, ensure all your hiring managers are on the same page. They should all be able to provide the candidate with the same information about the job, the company, and the interview process. This way, the candidate feels confident and comfortable moving forward with your company.


Reason 4 why you’re losing candidates during the interview process: The job description is not the same as what is being explained in the interview

It’s a frustrating experience to go through an interview process only to find out that the job description and expectations were inaccurate. This is often due to a disconnect between what the hiring manager is looking for and what is presented in the job description. Luckily, this is relatively easy to fix! Get clear on your requirements, and make sure the job description clearly outlines this. In addition, make sure that every hiring manager knows this when they interview candidates for the job. This way, you can avoid any confusion, and candidates will be more likely to move forward with your company.


Reason 5 why you’re losing candidates during the interview process: The salary is not what was initially offered in the job description or at the start of the interview

For many job seekers, salary is crucial in their decision-making process. If a position offers less money than was initially promised, it can be a major disappointment or even a dealbreaker for some candidates. This is especially true if the salary is significantly lower than advertised or discussed during the interview. To avoid this, talk with the rest of the hiring team and agree on a salary together. Once settled, ensure that this is represented fairly and accurately in the job description and that every hiring manager is clear on the agreed salary before going into the interview.


Reason 6 why you’re losing candidates during the interview process: The benefits or bonuses are not accurately represented

In addition to salary, benefits and bonuses are also important to candidates. They want to know what benefits they would receive if they took the job, and they may even factor bonuses into their decision-making process. However, if the benefits or perks are not accurately represented – for instance, they are, in reality, much lower than what was listed in the job description – then this can be a real issue. To avoid this, ensure that the benefits and bonuses are accurately represented in the job description from the start. In addition, make sure that every hiring manager is clear on the benefits and bonuses your company is willing to offer before going into the interview.


Reason 7 why you’re losing candidates during the interview process: Hiring managers and others who interview do not sell the company and the position

When candidates come in for an interview, they want to be sold on the company and the position. They want to know why they should work for your company and why this particular position is the right fit for them. However, if the hiring manager or other interviewers do not sell the company and the job, then the candidate will not be convinced it’s the right position for them. By not selling the company or position, those who interview are doing a disservice to both the candidate and the company. So, how do you fix this? Ensure that every hiring manager and interviewer knows how to sell the company and the position to the candidate. Everyone going into the interview should be positive and enthusiastic and should be able to clearly show or explain why someone should consider working for them.

We call it the “sizzle factor” – there are usually several sizzle factors for every job, and it’s important to identify them and tell candidates about them because they are directly linked to generating more interest in the position.  The ideal candidate you want to hire for your job, will be excited to learn of these sizzle factors and it may be enough to tip the scales in your favor if they are comparing it with other opportunities.  Remember, candidates are interviewing you just as much as you’re interviewing them!


Reason 8 why you’re losing candidates during the interview process: Talking poorly of the previous employee or bringing up other candidates at any point in the hiring process

It can be a huge turnoff for a potential employee when their interviewer starts talking poorly about the previous incumbent or brings up other candidates during the hiring process. Not only does it make the company look unprofessional, but it also provides candidates with an inaccurate portrayal of what it’s like to work there. To avoid this, make sure that all hiring managers and interviewers are respectful of all candidates. In addition, remind everyone going into the interview not to talk negatively about previous employees or other candidates.

Like other sections here, all interviewers should present a united front on this subject because if it’s said by one, it may as well be said by all from the candidate’s perspective, and you run the risk of losing a rockstar candidate for no good reason.


Reason 9 why you’re losing candidates during the interview process: Long, complex interview processes

A long and complex interview process can be frustrating for candidates who are eager to start a new role. The process can seem endless, with multiple rounds of interviews, testing, and assessments. At Insight Recruitment, we often hear from our candidates that they’ve experienced companies with five or more interview steps, causing them to lose interest in the role altogether. This is why we’re proud of the fact that our clients are typically able to make a decision on which candidate to hire after one or two interviews.


Concluding remarks

Losing candidates during the recruitment process – especially at the interview stage – can be costly for businesses in terms of time and money. As you can see, there are many reasons why qualified candidates that you want to hire, may walk away from your role. However, by being aware of these reasons and taking steps to address them, you can improve your chances of successfully hiring the best candidate for the job.

At Insight Recruitment, we pride ourselves on our industry knowledge and candidate relationships. We help streamline your interview process by nurturing candidates throughout the recruitment journey. If you’d like to find out more, feel free to contact our team here.

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