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Delays in your recruitment process are causing candidates to drop out

Andy Haywood our consultant managing the role
Andy Haywood our consultant managing the role
Posted: 12/08/2021

For many roles within the life sciences, finding the most suitable candidate, who has the niche skillset and expertise required, can be a difficult and time-sensitive process. Companies invest time and money into talent acquisition, employer branding and juggling the demands of setting up interview processes, to maximise their ability and efficiency to hire the best candidates. However, all of this effort and expense can come undone due to a slow candidate response process.

Strong candidates within the life sciences jobs industry are in demand. In a highly competitive industry, slow decision-making and poor post-interview communication can lead to these candidates moving onto different opportunities, being snatched up by competitors and even rejecting an offer based on their experience with your company as a candidate.

Recruitment delays impact companies in various ways:

Candidate experience: The interview process is the first impression talent acquisition and prospective candidates will have of each other and how well they will work together. Failing to make a candidate feel valued or engaged can lead to them rejecting your offer or choosing a competitor who appears more interested. This is especially important when headhunting candidates who expect to be convinced by your business to uproot their current working situation.

Reputation: A poor candidate experience can lead to long term damage to your company’s reputation within the market and impact your employer brand. Word of mouth about a bad hiring experience can make it more difficult to attract top talent in the future. Plus, independent review sites such as Glassdoor allow prospective candidates to feedback specifically on your team’s interview processes, which may deter future applications.

Financial burden: The longer the recruitment process, the more pressure on your teams. This is especially true if the position you are hiring for is to replace a vacant role, as this keeps a greater burden on your existing staff. Not only does it create employer dissatisfaction, but it may also lead to delays in delivery or accrue large outsourcing costs to ensure productivity continues while you source suitable candidates. If a candidate rejects an offer due to a delayed interview process or poor communication, this adds further time and financial pressure to the position being filled.


Improving your response process


Some delays are unavoidable, especially for senior positions that can have multiple interview stages. Whilst candidates are aware that the hiring process can require input from multiple stakeholders and that feedback can take time, it is important to keep candidates engaged. It is respectful and beneficial to keep open communication throughout the process to ensure you can still attract top talent from competitors through a long hiring process. Here are some tips on reducing delays and ensuring candidates are engaged:

Streamline your process

It is vital to identify bottlenecks and highlight which aspects in your interview review process are causing delays in your time to hire.

- Which aspects work well and can be leveraged?

- What tasks and communications could be automated?

- What areas create consistent issues and which problems are circumstantial?

- How many people are involved in the process and are they aware of the timeframes?

Once you’ve mapped your process and isolated elements that cause delays, you can work to resolve and optimise them to improve your time to hire and secure strong candidates, before they accept offers elsewhere.

Use online interview tools

A common delay in the interview process comes from the need to include multiple stakeholders within the business. Securing calendar availability for interviews or chasing various managers for feedback can be complex, causing delays in decisions.

Online interview software can enable you to conduct, record and review interviews in a fast and effective manner. This is especially useful for international teams as stakeholders can review on their own time, record and rewind sections of the interview and provide their feedback digitally. Plus, with an online system, you can automate aspects and track progress to see how time to hire can tangibly be improved. 

Utilise your recruiter’s connection

Telling a candidate that the process is taking longer than expected can be an awkward experience, so many companies like to outsource this. If using a recruitment team to support your talent acquisition, you can leverage them to improve communication with the candidates during the recruitment process. It is their job to keep the candidate informed and you can use them to ensure the interviewees are aware of the process and the progress of their interview, whilst your team focuses on reviewing the candidates and making the decisions. Similarly, they’ll be able to relay the candidate experience back to you, giving you a unique insight into how the prospective employees feel about the process and can iron out any potential frustrations before they occur.

Define expectations and be transparent

It is key to communicate the expected interview and reviewal process and timeframes with the candidate, preferably at the beginning. Talented individuals you are interviewing will be highly desirable, so it is important to be clear and honest throughout. Particularly if the candidate is in high demand, making sure they are aware of your interest in hiring them is key to avoid losing them.

Be upfront and transparent about what is happening and avoid understating timeframes. Open communication highlights respect for the candidates and is a promising representation of how your business treats its employees. Even if the recruitment process is unsuccessful, they would likely have had a good experience with your company that could be beneficial to future headhunting. 


Ultimately, interviewing for jobs and deciding the next steps of their career are very important life decisions for candidates. Transparent communication is a valuable way to highlight your empathy to them as people rather than commodities and shows a promising view of how your company treats its employees. Poor communication with the candidate, specifically post-interview, and delays in providing feedback can risk losing them to another opportunity that has engaged them more and responded faster.

By reviewing your interview process and prioritising the candidate experience, your talent acquisition team has a better chance of securing the best talent to join your business. This is especially useful for emerging start-ups that can compete for talent with globally established pharmaceutical companies by having a fast, efficient and empathetic approach to their hiring processes. In a highly competitive industry, where candidates are looking for better working relationships and job security, reducing delays and respecting candidates’ time has a big impact on attracting the best workers.

Looking to attract the best talent in life sciences to your company? Speak to our dedicated client services team today

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