How to Lose a Great Candidate in 10 Days

February 2nd, 2011 | Hiring Resources | No Comments »

A recent survey of CIO’s stated that IT spending this year will return to the pre-recession norm, and a huge part of this spending consists of hiring. So, with everyone hiring again, highly qualified candidates now have more options. It’s hard enough to locate and get the best candidates to apply to your organization, so how can you ensure that you don’t lose them?


• If you don’t get back to your candidates soon enough after they apply, they may have accepted another offer. That stack of resumes on your desk or in your inbox may look tedious and intimidating, but if you don’t attack it now, those candidates will be gone from the market before you know it.

• Lack of urgency may be read as lack of interest, causing the candidate’s lost interest. They may have been excited about the opportunity when they first applied, but if you’re not urgent, they’ll quickly move on to other more exciting opportunities.

• After an interview with a candidate, make sure to provide feedback within the same day when possible. Commit to a yes or no and move forward quickly. A lack of urgency in this case will cause the candidate to think you’re unsure about their candidacy, and if you don’t move forward, they’ll move on.


• Resumes can be a bore to read, but make sure you at least review the candidate’s background. Asking an interviewee about their previous responsibilities is fine, but if it’s obvious you have no idea about their background, they may lose interest.

• Plus, if you haven’t reviewed their background, how will you know that they’re applying for the position you have in mind? It may seem like commonsense, but it’s happened before! One interviewer interviewed a candidate for the wrong position, because they weren’t aware of the candidate’s skills sets and experience.

• Have a plan for your interviews. Know exactly what you need. Lack of preparation may make you miss asking the relevant questions and learning what you need to know about the candidate.


• It’s important to really sell the position and your company. Candidates with great technology skills, personality, and work ethic are a hot commodity, so they’re not desperate for any old job with any old company. They need to know why it’s great to work with your company.

• Don’t bad mouth any current employees or the work environment! Again, this may seem like commonsense, but it has happened in the past. Maybe you’re looking to restructure the team with awesome new people, but don’t focus on how bad you think the current team is, as this will really put the candidate off.

Don’t Undervalue

• It can be too competitive to make candidates go through a series of tests, whether technical or personal. If you ask simple technical questions, you may be insulting the candidate’s knowledge. And personality tests can sometimes feel strange to candidates; it’s not like you test your best friend or spouse – you guys just hit it off, so consider giving your candidates the same opportunity.

• Avoid low-balling, even if you expect to negotiate. Bear in mind the candidate’s previous salary history and experience, and make a strong competitive offer to show that you appreciate what your candidate has to offer. You don’t want to lose an amazing candidate just to save a couple of thousand dollars. If they turn down a low-ball offer, you’re back to square one, and to start the hiring process over and to leave that position open for even longer may end up costing you even more time and profits.

Mary Binn – IT Search Executive at Ashley Ellis