Head Office : 0161 828 8726

Ask Kate & Ian: Candidates keep dropping out at the final interview stage – what can I do to improve this?

Published 17th Nov 2022

We’ve been recruiting for a variety of roles recently –  within different departments and at different levels in the business – but we keep getting candidates dropping out at the final interview stage. Have you got any idea what I can do to improve this, or ideally, stop it happening altogether? It’s really frustrating and time consuming!

  • Penny, Berkshire – Marketing Sector

Thanks for your email, Penny. We know that there can be a lot of hurdles, setbacks and frustrations during the recruitment process, and people dropping out is always really disheartening. But, the good news is, it might not be as difficult to resolve as you think.

There’s three things we’d advise to help you solve this problem.

Firstly, you need to ask your candidates for clear and honest feedback on why they are dropping out at this stage. Although they may be reluctant to tell you the real reason, as long as you approach the conversation in a kind and empathetic manner (avoiding venting your frustrations!) you could receive some really valuable information. 

For example, if the format of the final interview stage tends to be a complex presentation, or in front of a large interview panel, this may be the reason candidates are dropping out if they feel overwhelmed or under pressure. Alternatively, they may have had an offer from another employer, in which case it’d be really beneficial for you to find out why they chose that role instead of completing the interview stage with your organisation. All feedback is useful – it’ll help you to continuously improve your processes.

Secondly, aside from the feedback you’re receiving from candidates, make sure what you’re offering your potential employees is rewarding, exciting and competitive. If, for example, your basic salary is below average and your benefits package stops at free tea and coffee, herein lies your problem! 

Take a look at what your competitors are offering, and ask your current employees for feedback on what they currently receive. Is there anything you’re not including that could be costing you the top talent on the market?

We’ve seen a number of businesses lose some of the best candidates we know due to unnecessary restrictions, such as no hybrid working arrangements. In today’s digital world, businesses need to learn how to adapt to what works best for the people they employ, and what will benefit their workforce both in and outside of work.

Lastly, I’d say take a look at your interview questions. During your first stage interview, for example – what types of questions do you currently ask? Does your interview style tend to be quite relaxed and informal, or is it structured and corporate? Either way, if candidates are dropping out, it could possibly be down to what or how they are being asked certain questions. (If you think this might be the case, feel free to chat to us about our consultancy services and how we can help you improve your interview processes.)

Whatever it might be, look for patterns, and ask for feedback – it’s highly likely there’ll be a reason for it, and that’s a problem you’ll be able to identify and solve.

Got a question for Ian and Kate?

If you’ve got an issue or work-related question you’d like to put to Kate & Ian and their network of HR experts, email enquiries@mccarthyrecruitment.com with the subject line “Ask Kate & Ian”. We can’t answer every question, but we will try our best to point you in the right direction.

Join the #1 Best Place To Work In the UK