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Career Corner: Why Job Seekers Walk Away

Are you calling job applicants and offering them a job only to learn that they have taken an offer from another company? – Courtesy photo

By Angela Copeland

If you’re a hiring manager, there’s a good chance you’re finding it harder to hire this year than one year ago. The unemployment rate just fell to the lowest level since 1969, so the competition is fierce for good workers. In fact, it’s taking 82 percent longer to fill open jobs than just a few years ago in 2010 and on average it’s taking companies 31 days to hire.

I recently had the opportunity to attend an event in Chicago hosted by Glassdoor, and I want to share a few of their findings with you. In particular, I want to focus in on why employers are losing their top candidates.

Glassdoor identified three big frustrations for job seekers that are going through the interview process. Job seekers feel frustrated at a lack of information about the job’s pay and benefits. They also feel frustrated that employers are cancelling or postponing their interviews. And, they’re upset that potential employers aren’t responding to them in a timely manner.

“Job seekers clearly feel that understanding the total compensation package, including pay and benefits, is absolutely essential to fully evaluate a job opportunity,” said Julie Coucoules, Glassdoor’s global head of talent acquisition.

I bet you can relate. The last time you looked for a job, I’m sure these things were on your mind too. To keep top candidates engaged, consider sharing your salary and benefits up front. Don’t turn the first screening call into a game, where you try to outsmart the candidate to get their number first. Treat candidates the way you’d want to be treated. Be respectful of their time. Keep your commitments, and let them know when you’ve moved on. Nothing is more stressful than just not knowing what has happened with a job you’re applying to.

Glassdoor also found a number of reasons that top candidates would pull out of the recruitment process. In other words, the candidate turns you down before you get the chance to even given them an offer. The top reason identified was an employer that has announced layoffs. This makes sense, right? Nobody wants to sign up to lose their job just after switching.

Other reasons cited were a poor first interaction with a recruiter or hiring manager. Forty percent of those surveyed identified this as a reason to pull out of the process. Thirty-five percent said they would drop the company if they read negative employee reviews online. Thrity-three percent said they would leave if they heard about employee or leadership scandals and 32 percent said they would leave if they read negative news coverage about the company.

The most straightforward suggestion from this list is to treat each candidate with the respect you’d want to be treated with. Beyond that, don’t undervalue the importance of your company’s online reviews or media coverage. With the transparency that’s available online, the hiring process really has turned into a two way street.

Angela Copeland, a career coach and founder of Copeland Coaching, can be reached at

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