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Why a lengthy recruitment process scares candidates away

Recruiting new staff takes time. Although as an organisation you want to be sure you have made the right choice, it is essential to keep the recruitment process as short as possible. If the process takes too long, candidates are discouraged. Marie Parmentier, Manager at international recruitment firm Robert Walters, explains why and shows what the recruitment process says about your organisation.  

The importance of a good match 

Every organisation wants to be sure that the recruited candidate will stay for a long time. "Recruitment is more than ever a matter of finding a good 'match'. Companies not only want to find suitable people, they also want to be the right organisation for the candidate. This applies to the employees as well. And a good thing too, because otherwise professionals would make the wrong choice even more often. People are happier when they feel that their values and personal interests correspond to those of the organisation they work for. This means that they stay longer when the 'cultural fit' is right, but unfortunately they also leave more quickly when it is not," says Marie.  

Slow corporate culture 

The recruitment process already tells a lot about the culture of the organisation. "Long waiting times between job interviews and poor communication can make candidates lose their patience and opt for another offer. The 'war for talent' is raging, so it is essential to act quickly when an applicant turns out to be suitable.  

If the recruitment process takes a long time, applicants can interpret this in different ways. Is it just extremely busy, or is it unstructured within the organisation? Or is the long wait between job interviews a way of putting a candidate off? Either way, it does not really give the impression that the company is dynamic. This can lead to potential candidates losing interest and deciding to take their chances elsewhere". 

Effect on colleagues 

Besides the fact that organisations give a negative image to applicants through a slow recruitment process, it is also not ideal for themselves. "If a good candidate loses interest due to the long process, then everything starts all over again, but in the meantime some tasks are left unfinished. After all, not all the work can be passed on to colleagues in the team. They have to work even harder during this period, which can have a demotivating effect," warns Marie.  


Marie: "An organisation that realises that their recruitment process takes too long can first of all change the way they interview. Appoint a few people to prepare a few interviews with good, personal questions, instead of an unstructured interview in which the candidate always explains his CV. By scheduling a number of interviews in a row, you save a lot of valuable time. Applicants will also appreciate this and be less likely to lose interest. 

Finding the right candidate is important, and the right cultural fit is also very important. But many organisations miss out on scarce talent because they are not fully aware of the speed at which the job market is currently moving. After all, candidates often apply to several organisations at the same time.  

Has the ideal candidate been found? Then it is essential not to waste time comparing yourself with other candidates with a similar profile. This slows down the process unnecessarily and increases the risk that another organisation will take the candidate. Marie: "So take action quickly by making a suitable offer. Here, too, it is important not to lose any time about the salary that will be offered or to make an offer that is not in line with the market. 


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Marie Parmentier

Manager | Brussels

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