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Why ‘Good’ Candidates Who Drop Out Do You a Favor

Why ‘Good’ Candidates Who Drop Out Do You a Favor

How many times have you referred to a good candidate as ‘the one that got away’? There is nothing quite so satisfying as identifying on paper a certain spark in a potential hire who has all the skills business is looking for. In contrast, there is nothing quite so demoralizing as seeing the same applicant drop out of the interview process. It’s frustrating, right? Not if you look at it from another angle…

Interview Dropout Rates

Technology has made it much easier for you to measure dropout rates. Back in the day of the telephone interview, it was rare for missed calls to be recorded. It was most often just accepted that the candidate was no longer interested in the role.

The lack of accurate data from this era can skew perceptions of dropout rates for video and face-to-face interviews. Today, we benefit from technologies that tell us where a candidate is in the recruitment pipeline at any given time. That means you can pinpoint the exact stage in the hiring process a candidate is most likely to drop out.

Importantly, technology can tell you when a candidate made a conscious decision not to complete the interview process. Note the words ‘conscious decision’.

Understanding Why Candidates Drop Out

Let’s be clear, modern interview methods are unlikely to cause a good candidate to drop out. Polls of user experiences across multiple platforms have consistently suggested video interviewing and assessment centers deliver ‘expected’ or ‘better than expected’ experiences.  

Given this, you have to wonder if a good candidate who drops out of the interview process was a ‘good’ applicant at all.

Remind yourself that an interview is an opportunity. You want to recruit people with a ‘can do’ attitude, right? Candidates who can demonstrate from the beginning they can rise to a challenge to achieve a goal and embrace new experiences.

Those who make a conscious decision not to follow through with an interview were probably not that committed to seeing the process through to the end. They may have fostered an initial interest but been successful elsewhere in the meantime, or just applied on the spot without giving the role too much thought.

The Interview Medium Is Irrelevant

A candidate who passes up an opportunity is not a ‘good’ candidate. However, there are ways of reducing dropout rates and the best is centered on managing applicant expectations.

For example, if you are using video interviews to screen applicants, make sure they know it is a great opportunity. Tell them why you use a certain interview medium or process.

It could be that you are an international corporation with hiring managers spread around the globe. Face-to-face interviews may not be possible. Alternatively, you may want candidates to be seen by tons of managers and recruiters to give everyone a chance to have some input before a shortlist is drawn up.

The truth is, every time you invite an applicant to complete an interview you are encouraging them to re-assess the opportunity. If a ‘good’ candidate drops out, they probably weren’t that good to start with.

About the Author

PatrickPatrick Algrim is an experienced executive who has spent a number of years in Silicon Valley hiring and coaching some of the world’s most valuable technology teams. He writes more articles like this one over at

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