How to keep a ‘fink out’ at bay

Offer drop-outs are becoming more frequent than employers would like, but there are ways to count this phenomenon

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HR professionals are grappling with multiple challenges. As if getting the right talent isn’t challenging enough, there is the issue of ‘fink out’ to deal with. In American slang, fink out, means to back out or fail to do something as promised. Here, you would have guessed, we are referring to offer dropouts.

Being a senior recruiter, I have been facing fink outs. Many of my clients have approached me for ways to counter or minimise fink outs.

Most organisations are finding it difficult to hire IT professionals, who happen to be in great demand. Offer back outs, offer shopping, candidates demanding more just before their joining date and leaving organisations in the lurch are not uncommon. Many a time candidates have finked out after making the organisation wait for two to three months. While organisations have a 90 days’ notice period, they want candidates to join immediately or at very short notice. What a paradox!

So how should the talent-acquisition professionals deal with this? Here are a few suggestions to counter Fink Out.

1. Fast forward the selection process. Many organisations have a long selection process. Some even give assignments and case studies. All that is fine, as many candidates opt for them and some back out too at this stage, not wanting to spend their time on assignments, and so on. This is the first check point. Assess the interest of the candidate in completing the assignment.

If the candidates are putting in time and effort to complete the tasks, it is a clear sign of their keenness. If they avoid and procrastinate, then TA personnel should not run after them.

Once the assignments are received by the TA team, interviews should be scheduled immediately. Normally, two to three rounds of interviews happen before the candidates get selected. Once shortlisted, they should be immediately called for interview. The selection process should be completed within three to four days at max.

2. Do the interview diligently. Human resource and line managers should probe the candidates to try and find out if they have other offers in hand, based on whether they are answering questions seriously or casually. They need to take a judicious call in shortlisting and moving the candidates to the next round of interview. Things such as candidates’ promptness in attending interview or request to re-schedule interview also need to be monitored and considered in the selection process, as they reflect their interest level.

3. Maintain minimum gap between selection and offer release. Once the candidates are selected, their documents should be asked for immediately. And once the documents are received by HR, all efforts should be made to release their offers at the earliest. This makes the candidates feel comfortable, important and wanted by the organization. Ideally, the offer should be released within 24 hours of selection.

4. Match expectations. Recruiters should spend a good amount of time to understand the candidates’ expectations with respect to compensation and understand why they are demanding the same. Do a quick internal peer comparison, market adjustments and try to best match the expectations of the candidate. One should not try to cut corners and wait for negotiations. Do a fair assessment and make a tempting offer so that candidates do not look for other opportunities.

5. Connect weekly. Human resources should engage with the candidates at least twice a week and share company details, developments, department information and so on. Even more important here is a connect with the candidate’s reporting manager. This will work wonders. Line managers should have informal discussions with the candidates on their roles and responsibilities, and also take inputs from the candidates on issues being discussed internally.

I am not suggesting that we divulge secrets or internal company issues but have an informal discussion and take suggestions from the candidate. If the candidates give a positive response, then it affirms that they will be joining. The line manager and HR also get an inkling of their plans.

6. Draw up an attractive compensation plan. An ideal plan should include joining bonus and deferred retention bonus. If ESOPs are there, it will be an added attraction for the candidates to join as they help in enormous wealth creation.

7. Emphasise referral programmes. Aggressively promote employee referral policy in the organisation. Pay handsome referral bonuses and more importantly, highlight the employees who are referring candidates. Share their photos, referral candidates and so on, in the intranet or company website. Start ‘Top Employee Referral of the Quarter’ programme and showcase their achievements. Referrals are the best way to attract talent and these are often neglected in organisations.

8. Include aspirational freebies in the compensation plan. A family vacation, designer gifts, and so on that candidates may not buy on their own but would aspire to have would be a good idea. This will help attract candidates. Of late, companies have been offering motor bikes and wearables to entice candidates.

9. Offer good induction and joining kit. Share with the candidates the induction plan and offer a good joining kit. Make the candidates feel important and wanted, and keep their spirits high.

10. Ensure candidates’ wellbeing. Keeping the current pandemic in mind, track the well-being of the candidates’ families and extend support, if required.

One cannot altogether rule out candidates backing out of offers or looking for better opportunities. However, following some of the above suggestions may help to minimize ‘Fink Out’ or offer dropouts.

The author, Subir Sinha, is a senior HR practitioner and consultant. Sinha has worked as a senior HR leader in companies such as Reliance Retail, Arvind and RSPL Group.

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