Arlington Sports Conditioning - Pete Leibman

Faster. Stronger. Fitter.

Why Do Candidates Drop Out of an Interview Process? (There Are 5 Main Reasons)

It takes a lot of time and energy to recruit and hire a top candidate for a key role. The last thing that you want is for your top choice to withdraw from your interview process. In this article, you will learn the five main reasons why candidates drop out. You will also learn how to get more candidates to consider your opportunities and to accept your job offers.

1. Your value proposition was not compelling enough.

The first reason why a candidate drops out of an interview process is because the value proposition for the role was not compelling enough. Top candidates have plenty of options on where they can work, and they need to be sold on why they should consider your opportunity. The more compelling the value proposition (both for joining your company and for accepting a specific role), the more likely that you will be able to recruit an outstanding person.

Your value proposition includes the mission of your company, the amount of responsibility and professional growth that your role would provide, and the compensation package that you are offering.

You should always assume that a top candidate has other companies pursuing him/her as well. Before you start an executive search, determine why a high performer should want to work for your company in the role that is open.

2. Your hiring team was inconsistent or unprepared.

Top candidates are very selective on where they work and who they work with and for. When they interview for a new opportunity, they are evaluating the company and the hiring manager/team as well. A disorganized, unstructured interview process is a big turn-off. Inconsistent messaging from the hiring team is also a red flag.

Before your company begins an executive search, gather everyone involved in the hiring decision. Make sure everyone is on the same page in regard to the timeline and process for filling the role, how the role will fit into your company’s organizational structure, and what the role will be expected to accomplish.

3. You moved too slowly.

Top candidates lose interest if you move too slowly or leave them in the dark for too long. Infrequent communication during the interview process is a big turn-off.

Unless a candidate is on vacation or knows that a search is on hold, there should be some sort of contact every week with an active candidate. If your company is not ready yet to move to the next step, contact the candidate anyway. Share some recent news about your company or industry, or let the candidate know that you don’t have an update yet on next steps.

4. You moved too quickly.

Top candidates can also lose interest if you move too quickly. As written here, executive recruiting requires a delicate balance of evaluating and recruiting. Many hiring managers and recruiters focus too much on the former and not enough on the latter.

Top candidates need to be courted/recruited and persuaded to consider something new. As a result, your first conversation with a candidate should be much more about understanding their career goals and selling them on your company and a specific opportunity. If the candidate expresses interest in continuing the discussion, your follow-up conversations can place a bigger emphasis on assessing the candidate and deciding whether he is right for your role.

5. Someone else talked the candidate out of your role.

Top candidates rarely make career decisions on their own. Most people ask family members (especially a significant other), friends, and professional mentors for their opinion about a potential opportunity. Sometimes, these outside influences talk a candidate out of accepting a role that he would have accepted.

You want to understand as much as you can about the people who will be influencing your candidate’s decision-making process. During your second or third interview with a candidate, say something like, “Accepting a new role is a big decision. Who else do you plan to consult with as you evaluate this opportunity?”

After the candidate answers your question, probe further. If you sense that any of the candidate’s influences could be opposed to your role, identify some ways to address any potential concerns and objections.

P.S. Looking for more help with your company’s executive recruiting efforts?

Download my free report below, or contact me directly to schedule a call.

About the author: As the Founder of Stronger Talent, Pete Leibman recruits exceptional leaders for innovative sports, fitness, and wellness companies. Throughout his career, Pete has helped clients recruit exceptional leaders at the Board, C-Suite, Senior Vice President, Vice President, General Manager, Managing Director, and Director levels. Pete’s work has been featured on Fox News, CBS Radio, and, and he is the author of two books and over 250 articles on career management, peak performance, and executive recruiting.

Download Our Latest Report