Candidate drop-off is a common challenge for recruiters, especially when hiring for competitive or niche roles.
It refers to the percentage of candidates who start the application or hiring process but do not complete it or withdraw from consideration.
A high drop-off rate can indicate a poor candidate experience, a mismatch between expectations and reality, or a lack of engagement and communication.
To reduce candidate drop-off and improve your hiring outcomes, here are some effective strategies you can implement.
Simplify your application process
Are you asking candidates to fill out an online form with the same information that is already on their CV?
If so, you need to change your approach. This might make it easier for your ATS algorithms to sort through the applications, but it is very annoying for your candidates.
Make life easier for them, not harder
One of the main reasons candidates drop off is that the application process is too long, complex, or cumbersome.
According to a survey by CareerBuilder, 60% of job seekers quit in the middle of filling out online job applications because of their length or complexity.
To avoid losing qualified candidates, you should simplify your application process by asking only the essential information, using clear and concise language, and providing progress indicators and feedback.
You should also optimize your application process for mobile devices, as more and more candidates use their smartphones to search and apply for jobs.
Communicate frequently and transparently
Open & clear communication leads to building trust with the candidate.
When the candidate is informed of the total number of rounds, mode of the interviews, timelines for the feedback of every round & the feedback after every round; the candidate is assured of getting a response & chooses not to “ghost”
Another reason candidates drop off is that they do not receive enough communication or feedback from the recruiters or hiring managers.
A lack of communication can make candidates feel ignored, frustrated, or uncertain about their status and next steps.
To prevent this, you should communicate frequently and transparently with your candidates throughout the hiring process.
You should set clear expectations about the timeline, the stages, and the criteria of the process, and update them regularly on their progress and any changes.
You should also provide constructive and timely feedback after each interaction, and invite candidates to ask questions or share concerns.
Showcase your employer brand and value proposition
A third reason candidates drop off is that they do not see a compelling reason to work for your organization or role.
If your employer brand and value proposition are not clear, attractive, or aligned with your candidates’ goals and values, they may lose interest or seek other opportunities.
To avoid this, you should showcase your employer brand and value proposition throughout the hiring process.
You should highlight your culture, mission, vision, and values, and how they relate to the role and the impact it can have.
You should also showcase your benefits, perks, rewards, and recognition, and how they support your employees’ growth, development, and well-being.
Engage your candidates with relevant content and activities
A fourth reason candidates drop off is that they do not feel connected or engaged with your organization or role.
If your hiring process is too passive, generic, or impersonal, candidates may feel bored, disinterested, or detached.
To avoid this, you should engage your candidates with relevant content and activities throughout the hiring process.
You should share stories, testimonials, and insights from your current employees, customers, or partners, and how they reflect your culture and values.
You should also involve your candidates in interactive and realistic activities, such as assessments, simulations, or projects, that allow them to demonstrate their skills, learn more about the role, and get a taste of what it is like to work for you.
Solicit and act on candidate feedback
A fifth reason candidates drop off is that they do not feel valued or respected by your organization or role.
Actively seeking feedback from candidates who drop off during the process can provide valuable insights into areas that may need improvement.
This feedback can be used to refine the hiring process and address any pain points or challenges that candidates face, ultimately reducing the drop-off rate and increasing the overall success of the hiring process.
If your hiring process is too one-sided, rigid, or insensitive, candidates may feel dissatisfied, disappointed, or disrespected.
To avoid this, you should solicit and act on candidate feedback throughout the hiring process. You should ask your candidates for their opinions, suggestions, and preferences, and how they feel about their experience and expectations.
You should also act on their feedback by making improvements, addressing issues, or acknowledging achievements. By doing this, you can show your candidates that you care about them, appreciate them, and respect them.
Follow up and nurture your candidates
A sixth reason candidates drop off is that they do not receive enough follow-up or nurturing from your organization or role.
If your hiring process is too slow, inconsistent, or unresponsive, candidates may feel forgotten, neglected, or rejected.
To avoid this, you should follow up and nurture your candidates throughout the hiring process. You should keep in touch with your candidates regularly, and provide them with updates, reminders, or tips.
You should also nurture your candidates by sending them relevant and personalized content, such as articles, videos, podcasts, or webinars, that can educate them, inspire them, or entertain them.
By doing this, you can keep your candidates interested, motivated, and loyal.