Reducing Candidate Dropout: 5 things recruiters can do

As a recruiter, there's nothing more satisfying than helping a valued client hire the perfect candidate. Conversely, it can be a major challenge when an ideal candidate that you have been working closely with, and are about to place, drops out of the recruiting process.

At this point, you ask yourself, "What happened?" There could be a laundry list of factors that go into the candidate's decision not to take the job with your client. Rather than focusing on the entire laundry list, you should focus on the factors you can influence so candidates side with you and your recruitment expertise.

The job search process can be a roller coaster ride for many candidates when changing companies, careers, or entering the workforce for the first time. By acknowledging this reality and appealing to decision factors that matter most to candidates, you can reduce candidate dropout, recruit more, and best of all, delight your clients. Below are five things recruiters can do to reduce candidate dropout.

1. Empathize with your Candidate’s Transition to a New Job

As a recruiter, it's easy to become desensitized to the recruiting process. The reality is that taking a job is a major change in someone's life, so showing empathy is important as you guide them through the hiring process. Before any call, focus on establishing trust and genuinely have an interest in finding the best fit where they can thrive.

In my experience, candidates are less likely to drop out if they feel they are being guided through the process of finding the right job for them. Your guidance shouldn't end with coaching them on how to interview with your client companies, but should include how to talk to other companies who may be interested in them. This goes a long way in building trust with candidates.

It's also important to coach them on how to push back on counteroffers while you accelerate the hiring process through your client company. Counteroffers are usually compensation-based and may not necessarily be based on opportunity to advance their career (especially now that the employer is aware that they looked for another job). Remind them that counteroffers most likely won't solve the issue that caused the job search in the first place.

2. Always keep your Competition in Mind

You also have to consider competing opportunities your candidate may be considering. Your candidate's resume is also on the desk of competing recruiters, so don't take for granted the opportunity of having a candidate on the phone for the first time, or anytime. Your competitors are already pursuing them, so every interaction with a candidate should be a meaningful building block.

3. Build a Relationship with your Candidate

Candidates are certainly not interested in being objectified. Your effort to establish an early rapport and relationship with them will be an important aspect in considering a job you present. As you evaluate them, they will be evaluating you, your professionalism, and how far you go to understand them and their particular situation.

4. Identify your Candidate’s Pain Points

As mentioned before, taking a job is a major change in someone's life. Often this decision is made from an emotionally charged pain point. Identifying their pain point will help you in appealing to what matters most to your candidate so you can better match the position to their needs.

Whether it's an engineer who will accept a lower salary job in order to work on a cutting-edge project or someone recently laid off and willing to take the next decent job offer that comes their way– appeal to whichever hot button you have uncovered and move quickly to avoid losing a candidate.

5. Frequently Communicate with your Candidate

Aim to be the initiator of open and frequent communication between you and your candidate. Provide status updates and give meaningful, specific feedback during each stage of the recruitment process that will prepare them for conversations with hiring managers. Call them before every employer interaction to prepare them, and check in afterwards.


Reducing candidate dropout is a critical aspect of a recruiter’s job and it requires solid coaching throughout the process. Avoiding candidate drop out means creating an ideal situation for the candidate and you, the recruiter. Ideally, you want to become a trusted resource for candidates to learn how to position themselves as top candidates while you help them get hired for a role where they can succeed. 

You can see Bronwen's byline as it was orginally posted on


Related: Recruiting best practices, Best practices, Candidate engagement, Recruiting culture, Candidate experience

Return to Blog

Seven Step RPO is part of the Motion Recruitment Partners LLC family of innovative recruitment companies