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.