Second choice? Could it ever be as good as first?

start-new-jobSo the jobs market is now starting to really move. We’re seeing good candidates get snapped up & some very quickly.  They flag up they’re ‘on market’ they fulfill a rarer skillset (payroll is one skill just like that). They get an interview quickly, get the job & in the ensuing flurry, this can sometimes mean that the candidate accepts the first job that comes along (especially if its over a long notice period), but keeps looking & gets another ‘better job’ (more money, closer to home, an employer on their ‘wish list etc.)

And they then sheepishly call you or us to decline the original, accepted offer before the start date.

I’m not getting into the ethics of it (dodgy at best), but suffice it to say it’s the second choice rejected candidate I want to concentrate on.

It’s happened to us only 3 times in 4 years BUT I’ve been involved in conversations with clients & candidates with regard to it 4 times THIS WEEK & so I thought it was worth blogging about

For every job we fill there is at least one applicant we have to call to say “ahhhh though you did well you just missed out. It’s a no”. We hate those calls. Sometimes we have to make 4 or 5 of those calls. (At least we make them ….another blog all together). But if only 2 candidates go to interview, the stakes are higher & I can guarantee in that instance, the ‘second choice / rejected’ candidate is immensely disappointed. They are our hardest calls.

So what happens when the ‘first choice’ after accepting & it’s a seemingly ’done deal’ rejects the offer further down the line? Should employers & candidates be open to ‘second choices’.

I think if at all possible, yes.

In those 3 instances we’ve been involved in, the employer went back to the runner up & it worked out beautifully. Of course if the candidate had been hurt or insulted at the call it just wouldn’t have gone anywhere. So I’m campaigning to stop calling the runners up ‘second choice’ as its not quite like that & every circumstance is different.

As an employer, during the interview process it’s worth trying to keep 2 candidates in the frame. Try NOT to fall in love with a No. 1. Try & see good in 2 as this market is getting tighter & with excellent candidates coming along rarely, you have to accept this declining of offer could happen more & more.

If you manage to see 2 excellent candidates but one just edged it, make sure you take the time to call the number 2 candidate with as good feedback as possible & DO leave the door slightly ajar. That can reap such rewards further down the line.

And think about that ‘rejection call’. Make the feedback accurate but not too precise. It gets very hard going back to disappointed applicants if you said without thinking ‘well you don’t drive & I think that’s essential’ as you just couldn’t think of anything else to say. Because….guess what – that’ll come back to haunt you.

No one wants the whole process to drag on forever & it can really set you back time wise – especially if the first offer was rescinded late in a months’ notice which believe me, tends to happen.

So interview with an open mind, try not to have one HUGE favourite, reject wisely & carefully & don’t make a big thing of it if you have go back….remember, it could be the best thing that could happen to you & that runner up & be fate!

I’m Roseanne Stockton. Chester SME Business Woman of 2013 & I successfully run Nu-Recruit.

We place permanent & temporary candidates of the very best quality into great local employers & jobs in Liverpool, Chester, Wirral. In a no-fuss, no nonsense way.

And I love what I do. And I’m good at it!

Call me if you think my experience will help you get the best candidate for your job! And please feel free comment on my Blog…..





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