Helen Wilson, Sales Director, GPRS Recruitment

The ‘Cold Feet’ Epidemic Sweeping Recruitment

Research by staffing firm Robert Half has found that ‘more than a quarter of workers have backed out of an offer after initially saying yes’.

After days or even weeks of building up to this point – probably encompassing multiple interviews – it’s a disheartening and frustrating experience for the employer and the recruiter when a candidate changes their mind about accepting a job offer.

This is a problem because of the current candidate-driven nature of the market – with a large volume of job vacancies out there, candidates can afford to be picky and pass up on opportunities.

That being said, there are steps employers can take to make sure that they hire the right candidate who isn’t going to change their mind at the last minute:

  • Be transparent – promising things that are above and beyond what you can offer e.g. implying that the salary or holiday allowance can be increased, will only end in the candidate being disillusioned and potentially getting cold feet.
  • Move the process on swiftly – with so many jobs out there for candidates to apply to, you need to make sure that their application for your role doesn’t get forgotten – aim for a quick turnaround between receiving the application, interviewing the candidate and making an offer.
  • See what the competition are offering – make sure that you’re offering a package that’s equally as attractive as what’s being offered by your competitors – if you’re offering a lower salary for the same position, you won’t find the same calibre of candidate. Even if you do find an ideal candidate, they may change their mind if they find the same role for more money.
  • Remember that candidates hold the power – ultimately, if you find the ideal candidate you need to entice them to accept your offer rather than another employer’s. Remember that there are a lot of roles out there, so the candidate’s experience of the selection process needs to convince them that you’re the employer they want to work for.

‘Ghosting’: Not Just Limited to Dating

Most of us have probably experienced the situation of potential new employees getting cold feet after accepting a new offer of employment, but some may yet to experience the latest challenge currently facing the recruitment industry.

‘Ghosting’ is a term that’s familiar to many of us in 2019 – it refers to the practice of bluntly ending a personal or romantic relationship without any explanation, and ceasing all communication without warning.

However, it seems that this disheartening phenomenon has now entered the recruitment world. Research conducted by staffing firm Robert Half has shown that an increasing number of employers are being ‘ghosted’ by candidates after attending an interview, or even accepting a job offer. This can be in the form of not responding to calls or emails, or just not turning up on their first day.

Some candidates may see ‘ghosting’ as an easy way out if they have cold feet about accepting a job offer, without realising the extra work and stress they’re causing. That’s why it’s important for both employers and recruiters to be as transparent as possible throughout the whole process, to ensure that candidates know exactly what they’re getting into before accepting a job offer.

It’s crucial that if you’re involved in the recruitment process, you ensure that you maintain consistent communication with candidates, so that you’re upholding your side of the deal – candidates will be more likely to keep in touch if they are already invested in a dialogue with a recruiter or employer.

It’s unclear what the immediate solution to the ‘ghosting’ problem is, but candidates need to be aware of the potential impact of not going through the proper process when leaving a job/changing their mind about a job offer – ‘ghosting’ an employer or recruiter could put a permanent black mark next to their name and hinder future job prospects.


Helen Wilson, Sales Director, GPRS Recruitment

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