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3 Ways To Avoid Non-Starters During Recruitment

3 Ways To Avoid Non-Starters During Recruitment

Non-starters can be hugely disappointing and disruptive for your business - here’s how you can avoid the issue and successfully onboard new hires. 

You might assume that a new hire is locked-in once they accept a job offer - but unfortunately, this isn’t always the case.

It’s not unheard of for prospects to reject an offer after their initial acceptance, or leave in the early days of a probation period. In fact, a survey found that 67% of UK HR professionals have seen new recruits quit before they even start. 

A prospect might have been tempted by a counteroffer from their current employer, or perhaps their new role isn’t meeting expectations. Whatever the case, this is known as a ‘non-starter’ situation, and it can be extremely frustrating to experience.

If you want to avoid non-starters and ensure a seamless onboarding process, there are a few best practices you can follow - here are 3 tips for retaining new hires. 

1. Stay in touch with candidates 

The period between a candidate accepting a job offer and starting at your company is incredibly important - but it’s overlooked by a huge number of businesses. 

According to research, 45% of non-starter candidates claimed they needed more contact before a job started, while 31% cited ‘poor or no follow-up’ as their reason for quitting. 

The key here is communication. Keep in touch with prospects as much as possible, whether you’re sharing contract updates or introducing them to other team members. The more you can engage candidates while they prepare for their start date (i.e. welcome emails, onboarding instructions, check-ins) the better your chance of retaining them. 

If there’s radio silence from your company, it can be a major opportunity for competitors (or existing employers) to poach your hires. 

2. Create a detailed onboarding schedule 

By setting up a clear onboarding plan for new hires, you can keep them engaged with your company, excited about their new role, and focused on their upcoming schedule. 

Start by plotting out and sharing a plan for the first two weeks on the job. 

Pencil in any training sessions, HR meetings, manager chats or company events that a prospect should be attending. Not only will this help them to prepare for onboarding, but it will also show that you’re excited about their arrival. 

You might also introduce them to a ‘buddy’ or mentor that you’ve assigned, which is a brilliant way for a new worker to hit the ground running. 

A buddy can help a candidate to find their way around the office/site, socialise with colleagues, or even just chat about life at the company. This is all hugely important for making someone feel welcome in your business. 

By pulling together a clear schedule for a new hire, you can help them to feel supported and valued by your company. It can also make the role feel more ‘real’, reinforcing the commitment a candidate has made by accepting your job offer. 

3. Combat imposter syndrome 

Finding a new role can be a nerve-wracking process for prospects, and while you might assume that a job offer will relieve all of this stress, that’s not always the case. 

The time between accepting an offer and starting a job can be very daunting. Many candidates find themselves grappling with ‘imposter syndrome’ in the run up to beginning a new role. 

Individuals can often begin doubting themselves, worrying that they’ve set expectations too high with a new employer. Starting a new job is an exciting time, but it also comes with a lot of pressure that can cause people to question their own competence. 

This pressure can be so overwhelming that candidates may even reverse their decision and reject an offer to remain in a comfortable work environment. 

To combat this, make sure you’re regularly communicating with new hires and letting them know that you have total confidence in their abilities. A few words of encouragement can go a long way with new starters!

You should also ensure that you’re giving candidates space to settle and acclimatise in their first few weeks - while you always want to help a new hire to hit the ground running, they’ll also need some time to familiarise themselves with your business and processes.

Having conversations that establish clear and achievable milestones will help a candidate to feel more confident about starting a new job, increasing their enthusiasm and helping to stave off imposter syndrome. 

By maintaining positive communication with new hires, creating an engaging onboarding process, and actively combating imposter syndrome, you can significantly decrease the likelihood of non-starters in your business. 

If you’re looking for expert advice on engaging candidates, delivering seamless pre-start communication, and preventing cold feet, don’t hesitate to reach out

Our recruitment specialists can help you to manage every stage of the hiring process to avoid non-starters and retain the best talent available in the industry.


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