Guide to courting

Five easy steps to candidate courting

Have you ever reached the offer stage of the recruitment cycle, only to find that it is rejected by your prize candidate? It is critical to recognise that strong candidates have the luxury of choice when it comes to job hunting.

How to do increase your chance of success with stronger candidates and improve your recruitment outcomes?

  1. Respond to the candidate’s application quickly, preferably within 24 hours
  2. Make your process for selection and its timing clear from the outset
  3. Avoid putting candidates on trial in an interview
  4. Share your conclusions
  5. Work closely with your agent to stay in touch throughout the process

Response Times

Long delays in the response times of employers is a common frustration for strong candidates. People like to work for people who recognise their talents, and delays in getting back to them can leave your strongest candidates feeling much less interested. Whilst your organisation takes its time, others are keenly making initial contact.


Candidates need to know how long selection will take and what the process is. If a candidate senses that your process is drifting or that you are including new steps, you will run the risk of the candidate withdrawing or losing interest. The candidate instinct is that if you want that person to work for you, you’ll tell them and the road to successful selection will be clear. The more senior and experienced the candidate, the stronger that instinct becomes.

Don’t put candidates on trial

We have seen many interview techniques, but the worst of them starts with a forensic examination of the CV. “You say that were in this role for 3 years, 2 months and 3 days, but I calculate that it’s 3 years, 2 months and 1 day …”. Interviews are an opportunity for bonding and mutual qualification. Your candidate wants to understand whether you are the person they want to work for. Start an interview by putting the candidate’s CV to one side and asking why they’re interested in your vacancy. Tell your candidate about your organisation, the role, the challenges you face and your mission overall. Ask the candidate how they think they would deal with those challenges and how they believe might succeed in the role. Move to the CV later in the interview if you need to explore specific details. Don’t forget to interview people in a room that has your awards, accreditations, testimonial and other trophies on display.

Share your conclusions

If you like somebody, tell them. If you have reservations, tell them. People want to know where they stand in the process and the phrase “we’ll get back to you shortly” commonly means “there are better candidates”. You can caveat any statement, but don’t leave this solely to the agent as the message can be lost in translation.

Stay in touch

If you have a favoured candidate or candidates, work closely with your agent to stay in touch with them. Find information to share, or make yourself available to present any employment offer to those candidates. You might even find the time to share a coffee with them and answer any other points that might have cropped up, or even organise a meeting with the rest of your team .  It’s important to recognise that your candidate is selecting you as their employer and developing a sense of connection with you is important.