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How to combat gazumping in hiring

Kate Allen, Managing Director, Allen Associates

Gazumping, when candidates reject a previously accepted job offer at the last minute, is recognised among HR and recruitment professionals as a growing trend. With top talent in short supply, the most sought-after candidates could easily find themselves offered three, four, or even five job offers.

It might sound like a worrying development, not to mention extremely frustrating if you are the employer who misses out on a great candidate. But there are measures that employers can take to ensure they aren’t left in the lurch at the eleventh hour.

Sell your organisation

The interview phase isn’t just for the candidates to sell themselves, it can also be used as a tool for hiring managers to position their organisation as a great place to work. Competition for quality applicants is intense; the more employers can do early on to sway candidates’ thinking and communicate their value proposition, the less likely they are to be ‘gazumped’ for a seemingly more attractive job offer.

Companies should ask very specific questions and listen closely for signs of interest and engagement. If hiring managers can do a better job at choosing the most engaged candidates, the risk of being gazumped will be lessened (see our Guide to Successful Interviewing for great insights on this).

Keep in touch

Companies often fall into the trap of mailing their new hires an offer letter or contract and then not having any other contact until their start date. By keeping in touch with new recruits as much as possible, employers can pick up on signs of disinterest early enough to follow it up.

That doesn’t mean it’s OK to bombard them with emails and company literature, just touching base with them once a week is enough to gauge their engagement levels. If they’re genuinely still interested in taking up the post, they’ll be eager to make a good impression and will make an effort to be responsive.

If a new hire hasn’t responded to any communications since accepting the post, the employer at least has more time to do something about it, which can prove to be effective damage control.

Test their commitment

Employers can also take it one step further than keeping in touch by inviting recruits to training days, mentoring sessions and social events. If they don’t attend, then it’s clear that something’s up.

If companies treat candidates as if they’ve already started, they’ll start to feel invested in the job and integrated into the team, and therefore less likely to gazump their new prospective employer.

Make it official

Companies can make a difference by asking new recruits to sign up to a full employment contract in advance of the start date. While this won’t change the legalities surrounding gazumping, it might well deter those who are likely to accept an offer and then reject it further down the line.

Gazumping can have costly consequences for employers, so finding out earlier can make a world of difference. They can claw back some valuable time to find a suitable replacement and save costs. This is especially useful for small and medium-sized organisations that find themselves at the wrong end of gazumping.

For 20 years, the Allen Associates team has been helping employers in Oxfordshire secure the talent they really need. Can we help you?

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