4 Reasons Why You're Losing Candidates, & How to Fix It

When the process gets tough, the candidates get going.

Even though experts predict a 70% increase in developers in the world by 2030, it’s important to remember that you’re not infallible. Whether your process has long since been established, or you’re a new company just starting up, the way you attract and retain candidates can always be improved. And, no, we don’t mean office table tennis and beers at lunch. We mean the real things, the things that show potential interviewees that yes, actually, you are a place they want to work.

Start With Adverts

When in doubt, start at the beginning. What’s the first point of contact your job will have with a candidate? Unless you’re hiring in-house, that answer is always going to be your advert. Whether it’s on TotalJobs (or LinkedIn, with 78% of developers saying it’s their preferred place for job openings), or the corkboard in your local corner shop, you need to make sure it’s I-want-to-work-there at first sight. Or, at the very least, love.

So how do you do that?

Use a conversational tone.

Write like you talk. It adds nuance, personality, and - hopefully - a bit of fun into your advert. Candidates want to see a future in the job they’re applying for, and most of the time that means making it a fun place to work. Nobody wants stuffy or uptight, and they definitely don’t want to only be told what the role entails.

Use your tone to showcase your company culture, and make it realistic, or you risk losing the candidate within a month.

Less is more.

Your candidates are busy, either with their current roles or in their pursuit of a new one. Most of them will only spend 14 seconds making their decision about a job post, so make it short and sweet. Cut down unnecessary words; ‘highly intelligent’ can just be ‘intelligent’, ‘currently hiring’ can just be ‘hiring’.

Include the salary.

This is less of a problem now, with a 27% increase in 2021, but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t need to be said. According to a study from Reed, 44% of companies rarely, or never, put a salary in the job listing, but Glassdoor found 67% of candidates said it was the most important factor in looking for a job.

Using the Right Recruitment Partner

When using Recruiters, a lot of companies make the same big mistake; they hire too many agencies. When you have 5-10 agencies working on filling the same role, it quickly becomes a rat race. They compete for your attention, and the candidate’s, and sprint to be the first one to fill the position.

This means that, inevitably, corners get cut. Points get missed. Candidates get sent forward for (and sometimes pushed into) roles they aren’t right for, or companies that aren’t right for them. When you’re paying less money to a lot of companies, you’re going to get lesser quality. You get what you pay for, afterall.


Don’t Change Guidelines

During the interview process, companies can be guilty of changing the guidelines they’ve already established. One day they’ll tell you the candidate will have a 1 stage interview with a tech test, then the next they’ll add two more stages and draw the process out for weeks longer than it needs to be.

When laying out your guidelines, stick to what you say you’re going to do.

Tech Tests

When it comes to tech tests, it’s (probably) a well-known fact that a lot of candidates look down on them. A recent study found that 35% of HR professionals saw tech tests as the most important consideration for developers, whilst only 20% of developers put them at the top. This might be because they quickly become ridiculous, or because it’s already such a time-consuming task to find a new job, potential candidates could be put off by the introduction of a tech test into the equation. A quick rule of thumb - if they can demonstrate their abilities in another way, with a portfolio for example, then a tech test shouldn’t be necessary.


Make sure you give some god-damn feedback. Candidates love it, we love it, the pigeon roosting on your roof loves it. 90% of professionals say they want feedback, even if they've been rejected. It’s an important part of the hiring process, and it’s going to happen eventually. So don’t draw it out.


When conducting your interviews, you want to make sure each interviewer knows what they’re getting out of it. If Person A is looking for holes in their CV, and Person B is looking for the same thing, that’s time wasted and an extra chance for the perfect candidate to accept a different job.


Finally, we end at the finish. Once the offer has been sent, you might be tempted to think the candidate is secure. Unfortunately, though, that isn’t the case. Beyond just getting the offer in quick, there are many points at which you could lose your potential employee.

Make sure your back office is in order.

There’s nothing worse than being offered a job and having to wait three weeks before signing the contract because they didn’t have anything prepared. You know you’re hiring a new person, so don’t act like it’s a surprise.

In the time it takes for everything to be sorted on your end, your candidate could be offered a job they can start sooner.

Talk to them during their notice period.

This is your chance to get personal, remind them they’re making the right decision. Starting a new job is daunting, so reach out. You could ask them if they need anything, or have any questions, or invite them to social events.

They’re making a big change; they’ll appreciate the effort.

What does their start day look like?

If day one is filled with nothing but a handshake and some training videos, you raise the risk of your candidate finding somewhere better. They’ve been applying for multiple jobs, remember that. There’s always a chance for them to go somewhere else.

A small welcome pack and face-to-face meetings where they can get to know the team goes a long way.

Knowing that the market is candidate-short, that they all have three other interviews at least, it’s important to get the ball rolling quickly on interviewees you want to snap up. This means making sure your back-end is in order