How do companies prevent a great candidate from slipping through the net?

We are lucky enough to work with incredible clients and candidates on a daily basis. In most cases, the process run smoothly. We receive a mandate, apply our search and selection expertise to find the best-fit candidates for the role before providing the client with a shortlist of three. The client is then in a strong position to meet, interview and select the right person for the job, with our continued support.

However, recruiting is a two-way street and involves so much more than getting people in for an interview. We have spoken to many candidates who have had no choice but to walk away, before the client has had a chance to put an offer on the table. Or worse still for the hiring company, accepts an offer elsewhere.

This outcome is not only disappointing for all parties concerned but can result in a lot of time and resource being wasted. The client is back to square one and a fantastic candidate has slipped through the net. So what could be behind the candidate’s change of heart and is there anything that can be done to prevent it?

1) Make Sure the Mandate is Well Defined

Prior to commencing the search, make sure the remit and objectives of the role are clear and well thought through. Think of it like a sales pitch to a customer. Enticing enough to attract the best whilst remaining realistic, so expectations are managed from the off. This will not only make it easier to find the right person but also avoid delays occurring further down the line. Especially, if you then realise that what the company needs actually differs to the mandate provided.

2) Treat Candidates Like Customers

Make time at the start to really understand the process. The more you can think of your relationship with your consultant as a partnership and treat candidates as customers, the smoother the process is likely to run. Particularly in skill shortage areas or more senior positions, candidates will have a choice of who they work for. They will not think twice about turning their backs on an organisation whose conduct and culture is misaligned with their own.

3) Engage the Key Decision-Makers

Deciding who to offer the job to is rarely the decision of one person alone. Therefore, it is vital that all decision-makers are on-board and available when required, to conduct interviews or meet informally with the candidates. Co-ordinating diaries can be difficult – meetings, annual leave and sickness – are all unavoidable factors. However, by ensuring everyone is on the same page and all treating the hire as a priority, should help avoid unnecessary delays and significantly improve the candidate experience.

4) Communication is King

From speaking to our candidates, one of their biggest bugbears is the lack of communication from the hiring company. From providing timely post interview feedback to keeping everyone fully informed as to when a decision will be made, is general good practice. Poor communication simply leads to frustration and a candidate losing confidence in the hiring company. Be open, honest and upfront to ensure the relationship with the chosen candidate starts as it means to go on.

5) Make Paperwork a Priority

Once you’ve decided who you are offering the role to, don’t delay with getting out the required paperwork. The candidate could have other offers waiting on the table and a long-drawn out negotiation process could be a deal-breaker.


There are obviously external factors beyond all of our control that can cause a hire to be delayed or put on hold temporarily. Right now, issues such as Brexit, IR35 and other economic uncertainties are playing their part.

However, when you do find the ideal candidate, don’t risk losing them to a competitor due to the avoidable reasons we have addressed above. If you want to attract ‘the best talent’ in the market, treat them like a customer. Your recruitment strategy has a major part to play in the candidate’s decision making process. Company’s who delay unnecessarily or communicate badly, undoubtedly risk losing the desired candidate to a company who moves quickly and treats them better.

Greybridge Search & Selection are specialists in the recruitment of Change, Transformation and Strategy Management professionals.