Keeping Candidates Engaged During a Delayed Start

Keep Candidates Engaged Until Day One—and Beyond

You’ve finally found an amazing candidate for that position that’s gone unfilled for way too long. However, that candidate wants to delay their starting date until after their kids finish the current school year—which is still a few months away. How does your organization go about keeping that candidate excited about the position they’ve just accepted?

Why a Delay, Anyway?

There are a myriad of reasons why a candidate might need or want to delay their starting date after accepting a new position. Perhaps they don’t want to leave their loyal customers during the spring or fall busy season. Maybe they want to wait to collect a much-needed and deserved bonus. The reasons are as varied as the candidates themselves, and new employers should respect those requests and graciously be flexible with incoming candidates. The weeks of transition between candidate and employee should be handled delicately.

Keep Candidates Engaged

As that candidate mentally separates themselves from their old employer and embraces a different company as their new employer, it presents an opportunity for the previous employer to try to woo that candidate back. Top performers will still be courted and perhaps even receive other opportunities from additional potential employers.

An organization that’s made a commitment to a candidate by extending an offer should work to maintain the lines of communication with the incoming employee, even if it’s a simple email or phone call once a week. That touchpoint will remind and reassure the candidate that they’ve made the right decision and should continue moving forward with the new employer. You don’t want buyer’s remorse to set in or the candidate to change their mind.

Companies can have incoming employees start on all of the onboarding paperwork or online training modules ahead of time, so the candidate can hit the ground running on day one. Technology like Zoom or Teams can allow supervisors and teammates to begin building relationships with incoming candidates before they even start. The supervisor and teammate discussions can help relieve the initial awkwardness that sometimes exists in the first couple of days or weeks after a new employee starts and also help the candidate maintain their excitement while getting a glimpse of what projects they’ll be starting on once they begin.

Savvy companies want to be welcoming while introducing a new candidate to their company culture. For most companies, after a candidate accepts an offer, it’s “See you on start day!” and that’s it. However, this gap is not a wise move. It’s also what leads candidates to ghost their new employer. During that gap time, maybe they found a better offer, so they just don’t show up on their starting date.

Especially for entry-level or lower-level roles, candidates have a lot more options available, and factoring in remote opportunities expands those options even more. Candidates who have been actively looking for a new role don’t just stop receiving emails or phone calls from potential employers or recruiters, even after they’ve accepted a new role. With the current job market, top talent will have far more opportunities available to them before and even after they start a new job.

Once an employee has started, during that first full year of employment, an employer should still be selling themselves to new employees, reminding them why they joined the organization and the difference they’re making. Onboarding should ideally continue for the first three years that an employee is with a company to keep them engaged, help them identify a career path for advancement, and invest themselves in a company. Many organizations may think that recruiting stops on the day a candidate accepts the position, but that’s not true. This approach can lead to a high employee turnover rate in the first year.

At Ag1Source, we can help your organization bridge that gap in delayed starts with additional communication to the candidate—but we can’t do it alone. It also takes an investment in engagement continuing during the gap so the candidate gets off to the best start possible.