Employers – Here’s How to Stop Losing Great Candidates

Lynette Fegen
4 mins read
Employer candidates hiring recruitment

There’s a lot of talk at the moment about how tight the candidate market is and rightly so. With unemployment at under 4% and virtually no immigration (for now), it’s very real and relevant to all of those Kiwi businesses needing staff.

Despite this, there are still heaps of talented people who will be considering making a change from their current employer. Navigating our way through a skills short market means anyone doing the hiring needs to make sure to look after their applicants and active candidates — even more thoroughly than usual.


One of the key things to focus on is speed to hire.

I’ve heard clients say that if a candidate is really interested in working for them, then they’ll wait for the process to happen.  This may have been true in the past, but this view will hold you back in 2022. The reality is that job seekers are being inundated with calls from recruiters and businesses, all desperate to find staff, and many willing to pay above market rates to get them on board. For the best, most talented candidates, who know their worth, it’s even more relevant.


As the saying goes, strike while the iron is hot!

A candidate who has just walked out of an interview that went well will be excited. They’re probably calling their partner, parents, or a close friend to share their experience, and suddenly everyone is buzzing, the candidate is looking forward to the feedback, and possibly taking the next steps.

Then…silence. The longer the candidate hears nothing back, the more the excitement fades. They may lose interest, or their view shifts and they might feel that in hindsight the interview probably didn’t go as well as they thought it did. Even worse, those friends or family the candidate talked to about the interview keep asking if there is any news, ‘have they heard back?’ and all the candidate can say is nothing.

Employers, if you let your candidates get to this point before you get in touch, there’s a much higher chance you’ll miss out. As you can imagine, your candidate may have taken other interviews, applied for more roles, or may realise the grass isn’t greener and that leaving their current employer seems like the wrong option.

As for when’s the right time to call back a great candidate — as soon as you know you want them. It can be directly after they left the building after the interview, if you believe they’re the right fit. There’s no need to wait three days so you don’t look “too into” them, this isn’t dating (although recruitment might feel that way sometimes!).


Here’s some tips to ensure your hiring process is as efficient as possible to allow for quick action:

  • Try to have all your decision makers in the first interview.
  • If it’s necessary to have a second interview, then schedule this straight away.
  • If references (or any other checks) need to be completed, then request these immediately after the first interview.
  • If it takes a while for contracts to be generated and approved in your organisation, consider starting with an offer letter, and if necessary, add a clause that the offer is subject to references and checks being completed.
  • Build plenty of communication check points into your process, so that if things do get delayed for some reason, your candidate is kept informed and engaged.


In my first recruitment job 11 years ago (*insert shocked face) I was taught the adage ‘time kills deals’. I’ve found that this has been proven to be true over and over again. Not always— but most of the time.  On the flip side of this, it is also crucial that we tell someone if they have not been successful for a role, as soon as we know. We don’t always realise how important this is to candidates, allow them to close this chapter and move on to a next opportunity.

Whatever the scenario, when it comes to communicating and action during the recruitment process—speed is your friend.

Lynette Fegen
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