Preventing The Runaway Candidate

William Werksman

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Municipal and law enforcement officials in Georgia are still calculating the final costs associated with the “runaway bride”. Much like the runaway bride, the “runaway candidate” can have a devastating effect upon a potential employer. In today’s competitive market for top candidates, most employers consider a candidate “onboard” once they have accepted the job and signed their offer letter. I would counter we’re not at the finish line, or “honeymoon”, just yet.

Lurking the in darkness, is the dreaded “fall-off” and counter offer. A “fall off” occurs when the candidate has accepted a position and then decides to stay at their current employer or take another competitive position without warning or notice. The counter offer occurs when the candidate proceeds to resign and is financially induced to stay with their current employer. Either way, the potential employer loses in the end as a once promising addition to your team makes the wrong decision.

The client employer can protect their investment in the recruitment process by following these steps during the “transition” period between offer acceptance and start date:

1. Make personal contact with the candidate: As the hiring manager, you can count of your HR department to take care of all the paperwork and assorted material necessary to the new hire process. You are responsible for the non-tangible events in the new hire process. By this time, you should have no hesitation in simply lifting the phone and calling the candidate to “check in” and make certain things are going well. In the event a direct contact is not possible by phone, send a personal email to the candidate and establish direct communication.

2. Set out an agenda/plan for the “first day”: Candidates are naturally apprehensive about starting at a new job. Try to diffuse this apprehension by verbally telling the candidate what to expect on the first day of work. Explain that you will be there to assist them in the transition and introductions to other members of the team. If at all possible, schedule an introductory lunch with team or department members during the first week to break the ice.

3. Leave the door open for any questions: Again, please remember this is a transition period for the candidate. They are going for the “known” to the “unknown”. Let them know they can come to you with any questions or concerns prior to the first day. Make certain they understand your door, or at the very least, your telephone or email is always open to answer any question or concerns.

A few moments creating a welcoming atmosphere and climate will go a long way in the recruiting process and help prevent “fall off’s” and counter offer situations. As the hiring manager, you have invested in the recruiting process of finding and securing the right candidate. Now, make it all the way to the finish line.

Executive recruiter William Werksman is a frequent columnist to job boards including addressing both the candidate's and employer's perspective. Werksman's expertise has been featured in business magazines, national newspapers and television news segments. His firm, Resource Partners, is recognized as the leading source of specialized and executive talent in the Casino and Gaming industry. He manages a staff of recruiters out of his firm's Las Vegas, Nevada headquarters. He may be reached at: or (702)248-1028.


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