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How to engage with your new employee and avoid the dreaded post-acceptance change of heart

6th April 2019

Your candidate hasn’t shown up. 9am has come and gone, and there’s just an empty chair and a lonely looking welcome pack waiting on the desk. The team is curious and speculation is rife.

What has happened?

After a few attempts to call, an email arrives. It’s long, rambly and apologetic. It gives a plethora of reasons for the no-show. You’ve probably heard a few of them before.

“My employer countered, and they’ve offered me what I wanted initially, so…”

“I don’t like the idea of starting from scratch at a new place – I know where I stand here.”

“I’ve been offered a role at a different company for more money, so I’ve decided to go with that instead.”

And sometimes you just never hear from them – a practice that is known as ‘ghosting’. The candidate disappears seemingly into thin air. You try and chase (just to make sure they’re okay), without any luck.

It doesn’t always happen like this, of course. In most instances, candidates do let you know they’ve changed their mind, for whatever reason. It’s always good to know exactly why they’re reneging – it can help you avoid it happening again.

Regardless of this, a candidate not starting with the business post-acceptance is always frustrating for everyone involved. So what can you do to avoid it, specifically in the time between their gleeful acceptance of your offer and their first day on the job?


Take action

Following their acceptance of the offer, don’t delay getting their paperwork out to them. Excitement will turn to uncertainty if they’re left waiting weeks and weeks for any sort of follow-up from you.

Getting a contract out to them will demonstrate enthusiasm for them joining, and will help prolong that initial buzz they got upon acceptance, making them feel valued before they even walk through the door!

Working with a good recruitment consultancy helps in this instance – they will keep the candidate informed on when to expect paperwork, and generally engaged in the process, role, and company.



Unless you specifically reached out and headhunted the candidate, chances are they’ve been looking at and applying for roles, and perhaps even attending interviews elsewhere. These opportunities could still be viable options for the candidate, even after accepting your offer.

Again, communication is key here. Keep in touch, and encourage colleagues and others in the company to connect with the candidate on LinkedIn. It’ll make them feel valued, engaged, and like one of the team.

This is positive for several reasons, one being that it discourages the temptation to explore other opportunities.


Employer brand

Sing about your company. Having a strong, engaging employer brand will also make it harder for the candidate to be tempted away by counters or other roles. Your future employee will be keeping an eye on your channels, so ensure you continue to share company news, team updates, and other activities which showcase the culture and values that inspired them to accept the role.

You can also invite the candidate to meet the team informally prior to their official start date. Gathering the team together for a drink is a nice way to break the ice, builds engagement and helps to avoid those first day nerves.

In the current market, it is highly likely that a candidate will have multiple opportunities, interviews and offers.  A candidate having a change of heart can happen anywhere in the recruitment process, but tends to hurt the most after they’ve accepted an offer. Not just because of the time investment, but more that you felt you’d found the perfect person for the role, and now it’s back to the drawing board.


The above tips will help make the candidate feel excited to be a part of your team, culture, and company as soon as they accept, reducing the likelihood of anyone being able to tempt them away.

Give these tips a try, and let us know how you get on.