Writing on Computer

RES Blog Post

Today’s candidates are flight risks....Turndowns, falloffs, counter offers, and no-shows


Professional recruiters rejoiced as job opportunities began opening up again, but companies playing “catch up” on hiring needs has created an almost frenzied demand for talent. Both the job market and “normal” candidate behavior have changed as we emerge from the pandemic.

I reconfirmed that the tight labor market and intense competition for talent was not just our unique experience at RES when I received the below update from NPA Worldwide, a renowned strategic recruiting network comprised of more than 500 agencies (including us) on six continents. NPA president David Nerz commented:

“Turndowns, falloffs, counter offers, and no shows … Candidates are in control and they are making that known. Our members and the network have seen far more cases of deals falling apart after acceptance than any time in our (60 plus-year) history.”

The competition for talent is ramping up as job-seekers become more selective in what they want to do, (and where and how they want to work), post-pandemic. Turndowns, ghosting by an applicant, or first-day no-shows have always been a rare occurrence, but in this tight labor market, hiring managers are experiencing it more often.

So how can we as employers and recruiters increase the odds that candidates:

- accept the offer that is extended;

- are committed to the role and the company, despite counter and competing offers;

- will be successfully onboarded and feel engaged and connected;

- will be motivated to stay with the company long term?


I certainly don’t have all the answers, but I have a few suggestions that have helped RES buck the trend. In general, it really comes down to the simple fact that more attentive candidate care is required.

Candidate care may include:

- Trying to move qualified candidates though the recruiting cycle as quickly as possible. If it takes the client more than a month to make a decision on a candidate, it is likely that Tier 1 candidates will be gone by the time that decision is reached. Companies that take a long time to move candidates through the recruiting cycle are putting themselves at a competitive disadvantage.

- Treating the candidates as "potential employees” or as “clients" themselves, with full transparency and continuous check-ins, follow up and feedback. Companies are not the only ones that look for “red flags” and value honesty and integrity.

- Reconfirming the candidates' interest level and expectations frequently throughout the recruiting cycle. Addressing their questions and concerns along the way is paramount.

- Focusing on the fit. Recruiters are not used car salesmen with products sitting on the lot. We’re talent scouts dealing with custom orders-- we strive to find that “just right” combination of hard and soft skills for each opportunity.


No candidate or client is perfect, but it’s essential for recruiters to offer honest opinions and assessments to both parties as the recruiting cycle moves forward. In this unusual job market where candidates feel exceptionally bullish about their options, or perhaps just insufficiently valued or respected in a drawn-out process, we must reduce the flight risk with dedicated and persistent follow-through at every possible touchpoint.


Elisa Sheftic is the President and Managing Partner of Right Executive Search, LLC. Her expertise is placing mid- to C-level executives in the Financial Technology (fintech) and Financial Services industries. She communicates with Human Resources, Hiring Managers, and candidates on a daily basis and offers insights to clients and candidates on recruiting best practices. Elisa received her MBA from New York University and completed her HR post-graduate studies at Cornell University.

For more information, please visit our website: www.rightexecutivesearch.com.