Keen, high performing job candidates take the time to update their resumes, complete applications, participate in phone interviews and follow up with thank you notes. They’re excited about your organization, but they haven’t heard back from you in a week.

Meanwhile, they’ve applied to or been contacted by other companies who are eager to bring them on and are zipping them through the recruitment process. Some have earned a raise or promotion in their current role. What’s the likelihood they’ll proceed to another interview with you when you don’t get back to them?

This scenario happens often, and employers are often surprised when it does, not realizing their slow hiring process may be the problem.


When in the process are they leaving?

In addition to long or confusing job applications, poor interview experiences and lack of communication, the primary cause of candidate drop-out is a long hiring process. At Fortune 500 firms, 9 out of ten potential applicants drop out because they encountered a frustrating application process. Candidate attrition may happen at various stages by organization and hiring manager, as well as other circumstances.

Glassdoor global economics research found that the average length of the interview process in Canada is 20.1 days. Average days to fill retail roles* was one of the lowest, at 15.2 days, making that recruitment process window relatively short.

To track your own hiring trends, create a recruitment funnel to measure days to fill as well as candidate drop-off patterns, recording data such as:

  • Date candidate sent for review
  • Phone interview date
  • In-person interview date
  • Reason for rejecting candidate
  • Reason candidate did not attend interview


Retail candidates have a measurable shelf life

For our customers, we noticed an increase in candidate drop-off if there was a longer time between a candidate’s phone interview and scheduled in-person interview.

We looked at engagement reasons for candidates who dropped off (such as accepting another job offer, not showing up, or withdrawing from the interview process). In the days that pass between phone interview and in-person interview, we found the following attrition rates:

  • 0-2 days: 29%
  • 3-5 days: 33%
  • 6-10 days: 38%
  • 11-20 days: 44%

This goes to show that waiting just a couple of days can mean a 10% increase (or more) in your drop-off rate.


Hiring delays can mean losing candidates and your reputation

Slow hiring practices can lose you top candidates. Plus, your employer brand will feel the blow if you come across as a slow decision-maker. Many candidates view a drawn-out hiring process as a reflection of corporate culture and an indication that business decisions will also be made slowly. A delay in post-interview communication can also be seen as a sign that the organization doesn’t value people.

A slow hiring process will quickly be revealed on social media. For example, commenters on often share how long it takes to complete a hiring process and any problems they encounter. Just a few of these entries can start to tarnish one company’s reputation and result in fewer high-quality applications, particularly from those who want to make a quick job switch decision.

If you can’t afford to lose good candidates or your recruitment brand to an unpredictable hiring timeline, Mindfield can optimize your process by looking at retention and attrition trends in your organization. With adequate planning and scheduling–and making sure the process and candidate experience is a priority for everyone involved–we can help you reduce those drop-off rates. Get in touch here.


*US data.

About Mindfield

Mindfield is a Recruitment Outsourcing solutions provider that partners with companies to create powerful hourly workforces. Our solutions combine a recruitment team, simple to use technology and a data-driven hiring strategy that promises to improve the quality of your hourly workforce. This approach focuses on tying business outcomes such as sales performance, tenure, and engagement to the selection, hiring and measurement of quality candidates.