Why do technical candidates keep turning down your offers? 

You’ve spent weeks waiting for HR to source technical talent for your team. Your other engineers are snowed under and frustrated; nothing’s getting done as fast as it should. You’re desperate to hire but everyone good seems to be taken.

You’re starting to lose faith – but you desperately need someone and tempers are starting to fray.

And then – yes! 

HR call – they’ve just got off the phone with someone who could be the perfect fit. You interview them – they’re your dream techie. You’re excited (and in no small part, relieved). You make them an offer. 

Except – fast-forward two weeks and they’ve gone quiet. You thought it was a done deal but now? Nothing. 

And then you find out. They signed with a competitor last week. 

What happened? What went wrong? 

Almost everyone has been there, unfortunately. 

The big issue is, it’s a super competitive hiring market. In both the UK and the Netherlands. 

Which means the best technical talent is in high-demand. 

In our experience, the best techies have at least three or four other opportunities on the table. And that’s for passive talent – people who were never really looking for a new role. If you’ve found an active candidate, they might be interviewing with ten or more businesses.

So you’re simply facing more competition for technical talent. That’s the market truth.

But that’s not the whole truth.  

This competition means technical salaries are inflated almost on a monthly basis. The stakes are higher. Which introduces reflection and indecision into the recruitment process – because, understandably, you don’t want to make a costly mistake. 

Especially when you might have to pay new hires 10% or 15%, even 20%, more than your current techies. 

That’s an issue because you have to get that budget signed-off. And also because, you probably need to increase wages across your team too – so they don’t get disengaged and leave. 

Scaling is expensive, whichever way you look at it. 

So suddenly, going to market isn’t easy. It’s more expensive than everyone thought and nobody’s on the same page.

And in that situation, you’re either priced-out or out-paced. 


There are three solutions. 

One – education and commitment. 

The fact is, there’s no point railing against the market truth. Yes, it’s a difficult situation but that’s the situation we’re working within. 

You can opt out if you’re not a high-growth company because you can afford to wait for the unicorn. If you’re only hiring one or two technical people a year, biding your time is fine. 

But if you need three, five, ten, twenty technical people – you need to change how you recruit. Going to market ad-hoc when you need someone will stall your growth.

What’s needed is a fundamental mindset shift. You need strong decision-making from the top-down, to pull the trigger fast and bring good people into the business.

And you need finance to be on the same page as hiring managers. You need the flexibility to move with the market and offer what’s needed. 

Two – employer brand. 

The stronger your employer brand, the more leeway you get with candidates in terms of salary and speed. Salary isn’t everything. 

You can’t afford to low-ball but you might squeak someone over the line if you’re in the right ballpark and also have an amazing employer proposition. 

Three – candidate management. 

High-growth businesses mostly work with recruitment partners – because you don’t have time to manage candidates how you need to manage them to make deals happen. 

As recruiters, we always say you work for your client up until the point you get a candidate an offer. Then you work for the candidate. Making sure their needs are met. Making sure they’ll actually accept the offer, then start the job, love the job and thrive.

The notice period is a huge danger zone for dropouts. Every single day, your new hires’ current employer is trying to persuade them to stay, offering them more money. And other businesses are trying to get them to jump ship too, offering them more money. 

We advise our clients to hold at least one company or team lunch with new technical hires during their notice period, and a night out. That’s the bare minimum, really. Plus our consultants are embedded into candidates’ lives – taking them for coffee, lunch; chatting to them a few times a week on the phone. 

That sounds like a lot of effort – because it is. But that’s what it takes to recruit top technical people. 

Arrows Group partner with some of the world’s fastest-growth businesses to elevate tech recruitment into long-term growth strategy. Let’s chat about Arrows becoming your strategic growth partner.

Does your tech interview process stop you scaling?  

If you’ve read our eBook about scaling your tech team, you’ll know interview process is one of the major hurdles that slows high-growth businesses down.  

That’s because both the UK and the Netherlands are highly candidate-driven. There’s huge competition for the best technical talent, and the best tech people are interviewing with multiple companies. 

Which means two things:

  1. Candidates have control. You’re the seller, they’re the buyer. And a slow, tedious process isn’t something most tech candidates will buy. In a candidate-driven market, the best candidate experience wins. 
  2. Your competitors are turning recruitment into a race. They know, the faster they move the more likely they’ll secure the best technical talent. And you can’t refuse to race, because candidates simply won’t wait.

Put simply, slow interview process will derail your hiring efforts. 

You’ll lose candidates when you’ve already invested time and effort interviewing. Wasted time. Time you don’t have, because the whole reason you’re hiring is to ease the burden on your team who are already working at maximum capacity. 

Which introduces a whole new concern, because overworked and stressed team members can fast become disengaged team members. And the talent market is so competitive, how long until they leave for a competitor? And before you know it, the whole team is crumbling at the seams, instead of gearing up for the next big sprint. 

Plus, a cumbersome recruitment process is almost the textbook definition of poor candidate experience. So those candidates who drop-out aren’t just accepting a role with a competitor; they’re also forming a negative opinion of you. 

Which has a compounding effect on your employer brand, which makes it more difficult to hire in the future. If this continues, you won’t be able to attract top tech talent to interview, let alone move them through the process. 

Which all means this:

Getting recruitment right really matters for growth-focussed businesses. Slow interview process doesn’t just cause frustrating and expensive drop-outs; it fundamentally hamstrings the business’ ability to compete. 

That’s the problem. Here’s what to do about it. 

Five ways to trim the fat from your tech recruitment process 

Keep it short 

There’s no one-size-fits-all interview process. But remember, your competitors are racing to make their process as fast as possible. If you aren’t even in the same ballpark, you’ll struggle to compete.

In our experience, the ideal technical recruitment process should take no longer than four weeks. Ideally two. That’s from identifying the requisition need through to having an offer accepted.

Be transparent about timelines 

Transparency is fundamental to the candidate experience. Some tech candidates will accept an offer as soon as they get one, full stop. But many are willing to wait a little (even if they have offers on the table) if they know your timeline. As long your proposition is compelling enough to wait for (that’s about employer brand). 

Remember, everyone’s in the same candidate-driven market here. Most companies wouldn’t push candidates too hard to accept an offer wait because it might risk upsetting (and then losing) the candidate. So you’ve got a little wiggle-room as long as you communicate a defined process and timeline. 

Condense interviews and bring decision-makers together 

If you’re partnering with us, you only need two interview stages because our consultants have already met (often even worked with previously) every tech candidate you’ll see. 

We help our clients condense those interviews into as short a timeframe as possible and set clearly defined decision-making timelines. For example, don’t let HR or finance become a bottleneck – hiring managers need to see candidates early but the budget and opening should be pre-agreed.  

(If you’re recruiting solo, you’re looking at three to four stages plus the bureaucracy in-between, but the point still stands). 

At the peak performance end of the spectrum, for example, is our strategic OneDayTM process. 

OneDayTM is a collaborative framework designed for businesses who can commit the time, effort and intensity needed to completely reframe recruitment. When everyone is on-side, OneDayTM culminates in a single day of interviews, and two to five technical hires. 

This ultimately becomes a recurring event to drive continuous growth, and we work towards a 2:1 interview to placement rate. It’s about more than simply condensing interviews – it’s about total commitment to the recruitment process, to deliver a faster process and better candidate experience. 

View every interview as a sales opportunity 

This is a crucial mindset shift. You’re the seller and candidates are the buyer, remember. You need to tell candidates what sets your business apart (that’s another reason to work with a strategic recruitment partner. We’re trained sales specialists who advocate for your business at every turn). 

In practice, that means you use both interview stages to test the candidate – but also to sell your opportunity. 

We generally recommend the first stage is the hiring manager, who can test for technical ability and team fit, plus someone who’s great at selling your company. Then the second stage is an HR and team interview, to test company fit but also to bring the team culture and projects to life more powerfully. 

Is your business growth hampered by discrete thinking? 

If you think about recruitment as a discrete, ad-hoc process your growth will always be disjointed, even if you dramatically shorten time-to-hire. 

A tighter recruitment process is vital. You’ll always face project-based peaks and troughs but growth should ultimately become continuous, and that takes a longer-term strategic approach to technical recruitment. 

That’s what Arrows Group help with. We partner with some of the world’s fastest-growth businesses to elevate tech recruitment and deliver sustainable, long-term growth.